June 12, 2017
Review #946: Ivanhoe.
Robert Taylor (Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe), Elizabeth Taylor (Rebecca), Joan Fontaine (Rowena), George Sanders (Sir Brian De Bois-Guilbert), Emlyn Williams (Wamba), Robert Douglas (Sir Hugh De Bracy), Finlay Currie (Sir Cedric of Ivanhoe), Felix Aylmer (Isaac of York), Francis de Wolff (Front De Boeuf), Norman Wooland (King Richard), and Basil Sydney (Waldemar Fitzurse) Directed by Richard Thorpe (#327 - Jailhouse Rock)
Based off the historical novel of the same name by Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe manages to shine as a fine piece of entertainment, filled with Technicolor spectacle and costumes to go with it. I can't say it's as good as The Adventures of Robin Hood (#505), for example, but it is at least a pretty interesting piece of work. Robert Taylor is a capable lead, managing to give off a commanding presence pretty quickly. An interesting fact is that Taylor, along with Thorpe and producer Pandro S. Berman, would later make two more films together in the next few years (Knights of the Round Table and The Adventures of Quentin Durward), forming an unofficial trilogy. Elizabeth Taylor does a fine job in this sweet but also capable character. Fontaine doesn't have as much to do, but she gives off a competent feel. The three form an interesting love triangle that does prove somewhat compelling, alongside the main plot, anyway. Sanders is the main adversary, and he does an alright job in making him somewhat three dimensional, particularly around the end of the film. The Norman-Saxon plot is decent, though nothing too special. Miklós Rózsa does a fine job with the music score, being quite heroic and quite fitting for the movie. The jousting sequence is well executed, and the battles are also pretty well done in capturing excitement and pacing. Within its 106 minute run-time is a movie that balances a fine line between action and structure that does not drag itself too often, and while it may succeed more in the former than the latter, it definitely is worth consideration, with its spirit of thrills outweighing the risks.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.