King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)

113-114 mins | Swashbuckler | 7 August 1954

Director:

David Butler

Writer:

John Twist

Producer:

Henry Blanke

Cinematographer:

Peverell Marley

Editor:

Irene Morra

Production Designer:

Bertram Tuttle

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of the film was The Talisman . Voice-over narration is heard intermittently at the beginning of the film. Sir Walter Scott, who is credited with inventing the historical novel, based the highly romanticized novel, The Talisman , on real events and people. Richard I (1157—1199), who was also known as Coeur de Lion or Lion-Hearted, led the Third Crusade (1189—1192) and although he led several battles against the forces of Saladin or Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (ca. 1137--1193), who was sultan of Egypt and Syria, he eventually returned to Europe without gaining the city of Jerusalem for Christianity.
       HR news items add the following actors to the cast: William Steele, Kansas Moehring, David Kashner, Jeanne Baker, Velma Cragin, Laraine Knight, Madelyn Wittlinger, Nick Thompson, June Leabow and Ben Corbett, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A Dec 1953 HR news item adds Norman Stuart as dialogue director for the film, although only Demetrio Vilan is listed onscreen. Portions of the film were shot at the Ray Corrigan Ranch, nicknamed "Corriganville" in Simi Valley, CA and the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA, according to a Feb 1954 HR news item. A Feb 1954 SFChron adds that other location shooting took place at a desert near El Centro, CA.
       A Jun 1954 HR news item reported that the film’s premiere at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood was delayed by the extended run of the highly successful John Wayne film, The High and the Mighty . When King Richard and the Crusaders premiered on ... More Less

The working title of the film was The Talisman . Voice-over narration is heard intermittently at the beginning of the film. Sir Walter Scott, who is credited with inventing the historical novel, based the highly romanticized novel, The Talisman , on real events and people. Richard I (1157—1199), who was also known as Coeur de Lion or Lion-Hearted, led the Third Crusade (1189—1192) and although he led several battles against the forces of Saladin or Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (ca. 1137--1193), who was sultan of Egypt and Syria, he eventually returned to Europe without gaining the city of Jerusalem for Christianity.
       HR news items add the following actors to the cast: William Steele, Kansas Moehring, David Kashner, Jeanne Baker, Velma Cragin, Laraine Knight, Madelyn Wittlinger, Nick Thompson, June Leabow and Ben Corbett, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. A Dec 1953 HR news item adds Norman Stuart as dialogue director for the film, although only Demetrio Vilan is listed onscreen. Portions of the film were shot at the Ray Corrigan Ranch, nicknamed "Corriganville" in Simi Valley, CA and the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA, according to a Feb 1954 HR news item. A Feb 1954 SFChron adds that other location shooting took place at a desert near El Centro, CA.
       A Jun 1954 HR news item reported that the film’s premiere at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood was delayed by the extended run of the highly successful John Wayne film, The High and the Mighty . When King Richard and the Crusaders premiered on 8 Jul 1954, the festivities were simulcast on KABC-TV and radio. According to a Jul 1954 HR news item, the premiere marked the first use of an aperture developed by Warner Bros., which adapted the film's projection to any screen size and allowed theaters to show films of any gauge.
       Although a SFChron article noted that the screenplay had little do to with Scott’s novel, the HR review praised the filming of the “famous desert combat” between Kenneth and Saladin as effective, and a Jul 1954 HR news item reported that USC professor Dr. Frank C. Baxter, who was noted for his Shakespeare on Television program, proclaimed the film to be “a good example of bringing fine literature to the American public.” A Jan 1954 LADN news item noted that the Great Dane portraying “Roswal,” Kenneth’s loyal and discerning wolfhound, wore false ears in the film.
       Although the Var review cited King Richard and the Crusaders as Laurence Harvey's Hollywood debut, the British actor had appeared in the 1950 Twentieth Century-Fox British co-production, The Black Rose . Another film based on Scott’s novel, The Talisman , is the 1923 Associated Authors production Richard, the Lion-Hearted , which was directed by Chet Withey and starred Wallace Beery as King Richard and Charles Gerrard as Saladin (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ). Historical figures King Richard I and Saladin also appear in the 1935 Paramount production The Crusades , directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Loretta Young, Henry Wilcoxon and Ian Keith as “Berengaria,” “Richard” and “Saladin,” respectively (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). The character of "King Richard I" also appears in many of the films about Robin Hood, including the 1938 Warner Bros. production The Adventures of Robin Hood , directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). In the late 1990s, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and director Paul Verhoeven were interested in filming an epic action film set in the eleventh century, titled Crusade , but financial concerns halted the project and, as of 2005, the film has not been produced. In May 2005, Twentieth Century-Fox released Kingdom of Heaven , a feature about a young man coming of age during the Crusades. That film was directed by Ridley Scott and starred Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Jul 1954.
---
Box Office
17 Jul 1954.
---
Daily Variety
7 Jul 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 Jul 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 1953
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 1953
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1953
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 1953
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 1953,
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 1954
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 1954
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 1954
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 1954
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 1954
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 1954
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 1954,
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 1954
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 54
pp. 2-3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 1954
p. 18.
Los Angeles Daily News
22 Jan 1954.
---
Los Angeles Daily News
9 Jul 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Jul 54
p. 57.
New York Times
23 Aug 54
p. 20.
New Yorker
28 Aug 1954.
---
San Francisco Chronicle
19 Feb 1954
p. 16.
Variety
7 Jul 54
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Archery expert
Falcon trainer
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott in his Tales of the Crusades (Edinburgh, 1825).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
"Dream, Dream," music by Ray Heindorf, lyrics by John Twist.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Talisman
Release Date:
7 August 1954
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 8 July 1954
Production Date:
early December 1953--late February 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 August 1954
Copyright Number:
LP5257
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
WarnerColor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
113-114
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16913
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1192, England’s King Richard the Lion-Hearted is leading the united European Christian nations in the Third Crusade to drive the Mohammedans from the Holy Land and recover the Holy Sepulchre. Richard’s allies are King Philip of France, Archduke Leopold of Austria, Sir Giles Amaury, who is Grand Master of an order of unchivalrous knights called the Castelains, and the wealthy Venetian who is financing the Crusade, Conrad, Marquis of Montferrat. Despite their show of solidarity, there is much intrigue and plotting against Richard. At their camp on the Plains of Jaffa, Richard publicly acknowledges the courage and loyalty of his Scottish bodyguard, Sir Kenneth of Huntington, who confesses that he is loyal to Richard, but not to England. Later, when an assassin shoots Richard with a poisoned arrow, Kenneth correctly guesses that Giles and Conrad, rather than the enemy Saracens, are behind the murder attempt, but Richard refuses to believe ill of his comrades. As the physicians are unable to counteract the poison that is slowly killing him, Richard’s wife, Queen Berengaria, and his cousin, Lady Edith, announce plans to go on a pilgrimage to a convent across the desert. Richard sends Kenneth to protect the caravan, but orders the lowborn knight not to pursue his romance with the noble Edith. Riding ahead of the caravan as a scout, Kenneth encounters a Saracen, with whom he unsuccessfully jousts. After sparing Kenneth’s life, the Saracen takes him to an oasis, and introduces himself as Emir Ilderim, an emissary and physician to the great Sultan Saladin. Fascinated by the ideals of chivalry and troubled that Saracens are being blamed for the attempted assassination of Richard, Ilderim offers to help ... +


In 1192, England’s King Richard the Lion-Hearted is leading the united European Christian nations in the Third Crusade to drive the Mohammedans from the Holy Land and recover the Holy Sepulchre. Richard’s allies are King Philip of France, Archduke Leopold of Austria, Sir Giles Amaury, who is Grand Master of an order of unchivalrous knights called the Castelains, and the wealthy Venetian who is financing the Crusade, Conrad, Marquis of Montferrat. Despite their show of solidarity, there is much intrigue and plotting against Richard. At their camp on the Plains of Jaffa, Richard publicly acknowledges the courage and loyalty of his Scottish bodyguard, Sir Kenneth of Huntington, who confesses that he is loyal to Richard, but not to England. Later, when an assassin shoots Richard with a poisoned arrow, Kenneth correctly guesses that Giles and Conrad, rather than the enemy Saracens, are behind the murder attempt, but Richard refuses to believe ill of his comrades. As the physicians are unable to counteract the poison that is slowly killing him, Richard’s wife, Queen Berengaria, and his cousin, Lady Edith, announce plans to go on a pilgrimage to a convent across the desert. Richard sends Kenneth to protect the caravan, but orders the lowborn knight not to pursue his romance with the noble Edith. Riding ahead of the caravan as a scout, Kenneth encounters a Saracen, with whom he unsuccessfully jousts. After sparing Kenneth’s life, the Saracen takes him to an oasis, and introduces himself as Emir Ilderim, an emissary and physician to the great Sultan Saladin. Fascinated by the ideals of chivalry and troubled that Saracens are being blamed for the attempted assassination of Richard, Ilderim offers to help restore Richard‘s health, asking in return that Richard personally settle the outcome of the Crusade with Saladin by a fair and chivalrous, man-to-man fight. Three Castelains from the caravan, who have been ordered by Giles to kill Kenneth, ride up and fight both Ilderim and Kenneth, but Ilderim slays all three. After Kenneth introduces Ilderim to Richard, the king, who knows Saladin is a man of integrity, agrees to Ilderim’s offer, and the Saracen mixes medicines using a special diamond talisman, while keeping an appreciative eye on Edith, who is assisting him. Later, when the recovered and grateful Richard grants a boon to Ilderim for restoring his health, the Saracen asks for time to choose it. Kenneth becomes jealous when Ilderim proposes to Edith and abandons his guard post to see her. Richard, finding his bodyguard kissing Edith, commands that they fight in a joust to the death. The next day, during the combat, Kenneth has several opportunities to kill Richard, but refrains from striking the deathblow. Finally, Richard gets the upper hand and is about to kill Kenneth, when Ilderim intervenes, asking that the sparing of Kenneth’s life be his promised boon. Richard agrees, but strips Kenneth of his knighthood and gives him to Ilderim as a slave. At the Saracen camp, Kenneth is treated well and learns that Ilderim is really the great Saladin. Ilderim warns Kenneth that Giles is betraying Richard and as proof, brings in a Castelain, who was found by the Saracens abandoned and near death. Because his tongue has been cut out by Giles, the Castelain must communicate by writing, but claims to be the bowman who injured Richard at Giles’s orders. He further reveals that Giles plans to gain command of the army by killing Richard and then enslave the Syrian people. Disguised as a Saracen, Kenneth returns to Richard’s camp and is granted a private audience. After revealing his identity, Kenneth shares the bowman’s confession with Richard and reluctantly reports Saladin’s offer of an alliance between Christendom and Islam in return for Edith’s hand in marriage. The eavesdropping Conrad and Giles try unsuccessfully to accuse Kenneth of treachery, then Giles and the Castelains kill the men in Kenneth’s Saracen entourage. Disguised as the murdered Saracens, they kidnap Edith and head for a Castelain fortress. Upon learning about the kidnapping of Edith and the death of his men, Ilderim joins Richard and Kenneth, who have gathered their men and are chasing the Castelains. At the fortress, Kenneth kills Giles on a rising drawbridge, and the Castelains are defeated. After giving his blessing, Ilderim returns to his people. Although Richard restores Kenneth’s knighthood and offers him power and riches if he returns to England, Kenneth and Edith plan to marry and go to Scotland. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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