Crossed Swords (1978)

PG | 113 mins | Adventure | 1978

Producer:

Pierre Spengler

Cinematographer:

Jack Cardiff

Editor:

Ernest Walter

Production Designer:

Anthony Pratt

Production Company:

Dovemead, Ltd.
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HISTORY

The film opens with the following prologue: “I will set down a tale…it may be history it may be only a legend, a tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened. But it could have happened…Mark Twain.”
       The film’s closing credits include the following statements: “Made on location and at Pinewood Studios, London, England” and “The Producers would like to thank HUNGAROFILM-MAFILM for their co-operation and invaluable contribution to the making of this film.”
       The film, based on the Mark Twain classic The Prince and the Pauper, opted to change the title to Crossed Swords because the original title did not test well with the younger audiences Warner Bros. Inc. wished to attract, as stated in a 14 Feb 1978 HR article. However, the picture used The Prince and the Pauper as its working title and was reviewed with that name in the 15 Jun 1977 Var.
       Principal photography got underway in Penshurst, England, on 17 May 1976 for a fifteen-week European shoot, according to 14 Jun 1976 Box and 21 May 1976 HR news items. The production then moved to Pinewood Studios in London, England, to film the “masked court ball” scene. Later, on 5 Jun 1976, filming began in Budapest, Hungary, as stated in a 25 Aug 1976 Var article. With a budget set at approximately $7 – 9 million, producer Ilya Salkind estimated that the filmmakers saved $12 million by shooting in Budapest due to lower costs for studios, extras, and equipment and property rentals. Also, the salaries for the Hungarian ... More Less

The film opens with the following prologue: “I will set down a tale…it may be history it may be only a legend, a tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened. But it could have happened…Mark Twain.”
       The film’s closing credits include the following statements: “Made on location and at Pinewood Studios, London, England” and “The Producers would like to thank HUNGAROFILM-MAFILM for their co-operation and invaluable contribution to the making of this film.”
       The film, based on the Mark Twain classic The Prince and the Pauper, opted to change the title to Crossed Swords because the original title did not test well with the younger audiences Warner Bros. Inc. wished to attract, as stated in a 14 Feb 1978 HR article. However, the picture used The Prince and the Pauper as its working title and was reviewed with that name in the 15 Jun 1977 Var.
       Principal photography got underway in Penshurst, England, on 17 May 1976 for a fifteen-week European shoot, according to 14 Jun 1976 Box and 21 May 1976 HR news items. The production then moved to Pinewood Studios in London, England, to film the “masked court ball” scene. Later, on 5 Jun 1976, filming began in Budapest, Hungary, as stated in a 25 Aug 1976 Var article. With a budget set at approximately $7 – 9 million, producer Ilya Salkind estimated that the filmmakers saved $12 million by shooting in Budapest due to lower costs for studios, extras, and equipment and property rentals. Also, the salaries for the Hungarian crew were considerably lower than an English or Hollywood crew, according to 25 Aug 1976 Var and Aug 1976 HR articles.
       Promotions included a book about the production written by David M. Petrou and published by Grosset & Dunlap as an Ace Paperback; and a thirty-minute “television featurette” produced by Paul Berkowitz and directed by James W. Aubrey.
       Crossed Swords earned a record for “the highest box office gross for a single cinema in one week” in its run at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall by grossing $468,173, as mentioned in a 10 June 1988 HR news item. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Jun 1976.
---
Daily Variety
14 May 1976.
---
Daily Variety
15 Jun 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 May 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
Aug 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Mar 1978
p. 30.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jun 1977
p. 20.
New York Times
2 Mar 1978
p. 14.
Variety
25 Aug 1976.
---
Variety
15 Jun 1977.
---
Variety
19 Apr 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Alexander Salkind Presents
A Richard Fleischer Film
An Alexander & Ilya Salkind Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr/Asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Gaffer
Clapper/Loader
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const mgr
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Cost des
Miss Welch's cost des
Ward supv
Ward master
Cost manufactured by
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd mixer
Dubbing mixer
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Miss Welch's make-up
Miss Welch's hair
Makeup and wigs
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod supv
Continuity
Asst to prods
Prod asst
Prod secy
Casting dir
Pub
Prod accountant
Tech adv
STAND INS
Fight arr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (New York, 1881).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Prince and the Pauper
Release Date:
1978
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 2 March 1978
Los Angeles opening: 17 March 1978
Production Date:
17 May 1976--mid September 1976
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor®
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
113
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, Panama, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 16th century England, Tom Canty, a pauper, is beaten by his father for wasting time reading to the local children, instead of stealing to support the family. In town, Tom picks the pockets of the locals, including a wealthy man. When the man realizes that he has been robbed, he calls out for the guards, forcing Tom to run. Tom eludes the guards by climbing the wall, but finds himself at the feet of King Henry VIII in his royal courtyard. Henry threatens to punish Tom severely, but the Duke of Norfolk implores Henry to show mercy. Henry relents and gives Tom a head start before sending guards after him. Tom runs for his life through the castle and hides in a chimney. Later, Prince Edward, King Henry’s heir, argues with his royal dresser about the costume selection for the masked ball. Displeased, Edward sends everyone away. Then, Tom stumbles into the room through the fireplace and startles Edward. As Tom desperately explains his situation, Edward notices how much they look alike and suggests they switch clothes for the costume ball as a joke. Tom agrees and they change clothes, but Edward is careful to keep the royal seal around his neck that identifies him as the prince. Leaving the room dressed as Tom, Edward fools the Duke, who orders the guards to throw the disguised prince out of the castle. Edward protests as the real Tom looks on, terrified. Outside, Edward is accosted by a group of vagabonds but is saved by expert swordsman, Miles Hendon. Edward proclaims that he is the prince, ... +


In 16th century England, Tom Canty, a pauper, is beaten by his father for wasting time reading to the local children, instead of stealing to support the family. In town, Tom picks the pockets of the locals, including a wealthy man. When the man realizes that he has been robbed, he calls out for the guards, forcing Tom to run. Tom eludes the guards by climbing the wall, but finds himself at the feet of King Henry VIII in his royal courtyard. Henry threatens to punish Tom severely, but the Duke of Norfolk implores Henry to show mercy. Henry relents and gives Tom a head start before sending guards after him. Tom runs for his life through the castle and hides in a chimney. Later, Prince Edward, King Henry’s heir, argues with his royal dresser about the costume selection for the masked ball. Displeased, Edward sends everyone away. Then, Tom stumbles into the room through the fireplace and startles Edward. As Tom desperately explains his situation, Edward notices how much they look alike and suggests they switch clothes for the costume ball as a joke. Tom agrees and they change clothes, but Edward is careful to keep the royal seal around his neck that identifies him as the prince. Leaving the room dressed as Tom, Edward fools the Duke, who orders the guards to throw the disguised prince out of the castle. Edward protests as the real Tom looks on, terrified. Outside, Edward is accosted by a group of vagabonds but is saved by expert swordsman, Miles Hendon. Edward proclaims that he is the prince, but Miles thinks the boy is delusional. Meanwhile, inside the castle, Tom tells everyone he is a pauper but no one believes him. At the ball, King Henry thinks Tom is putting on an act and later orders the Duke’s arrest on false charges of high treason. At Miles’s house, Edward continues to proclaim his royal authority; Miles humors him but does not believe a word Edward says. Back at the castle, the ball ends and Tom maintains he is not the prince, leaving King Henry’s doctors to believe that “Edward” has gone mad. The devastated King tells Tom and his closest advisors that, despite current events, “Edward” is still his son and will be king no matter what. As King Henry’s health is deteriorating, he warns his minions to keep the madness a secret or be executed. The next day, Miles brings Edward to Tom’s father, John Canty, who attempts to whip “Tom” for not bringing home any money, but Miles intervenes. A fight ensues, causing Miles to fall out a window and become knocked unconscious. John assumes Miles is dead and runs away with Edward to avoid arrest. Back at the castle, the ailing King Henry informs Tom that he must fill in for him at the Guild Hall Banquet. As Tom leaves, he overhears Henry discussing plans to execute Norfolk. Tom visits the Duke in the Tower of London, thanking him for being so kind and wishing he could save the Duke, but he is powerless. Later, during the banquet, the King’s death is announced and everyone turns to Tom, proclaiming him king. Realizing he now has the power to save the Duke, Tom orders his release. Meanwhile back in Tom’s village, Miles demands to know where Edward has been taken, so a family friend informs him that father and son have gone to join The Ruffler’s gang. In the woods, Edward tells The Ruffler and his gang he is really Prince Edward and that John is a liar and a murderer. After mocking the boy, The Ruffler informs Edward that the king is dead; Edward weeps for his father and is shocked when the gang rejoices. Several members of the gang recount the horrible ways in which they have suffered under King Henry’s reign, including land theft, false imprisonment, spouses executed and physical torture. Edward insists King Henry must not have known and swears to end the injustice once he returns to the castle. The Ruffler warns Edward that if he does not return to the castle before “the imposter” is crowned, he will lose his title forever. When Edward leaves, John gives chase, but one of The Ruffler's men kills John. In the woods, Miles reunites with Edward. The next morning at the castle, Tom holds court with the Privy Council. He refuses to marry the six-year-old Queen of Scotland in order to prevent a war and avoids making decisions on a number of important political matters. As Tom sends his minions away, Edward’s older sister, Princess Elizabeth, bursts into the room, furious that “Edward” is avoiding his responsibilities. Tom warns her to show respect and Elizabeth laments that “Edward” has changed; his behavior is not worthy of a king. Meanwhile, Edward and Miles ride through the countryside. Miles wants to visit his home, Hendon Hall, so they can rest before continuing. Edward explains that he has not returned home in years because he has been all over Europe fighting wars. At the same time, Miles wants to reclaim his inheritance and his former lover, Edith. Inside Hendon Hall, Miles greets his brother, Hugh, who accuses Miles of being an imposter. Miles is shocked when everyone refuses to acknowledge him, including Edith. Hugh has Miles arrested and thrown in the stocks. When Edward defends Miles, Hugh orders his men to whip the boy, but Miles insists they spare Edward and whip him instead. Obliging, they whip Miles until Edith begs them to stop. As Hugh, Edith and the guards leave, Edward is touched by his friend’s bravery, picks up a stick, and knights him “Sir Miles Hendon.” Later that evening, Edith returns and frees Miles from the stocks. She reveals that everyone believes Miles, but Hugh is a tyrant who forced everyone to deny him. Hugh had reported that Miles died in battle three years before and that is why she married Hugh. Miles forgives her and she gives Miles and Edward two horses as they escape. Edward promises to help Miles regain his inheritance once he is restored as King. Edward vows to bring justice to the poor, dispossessed and persecuted now that he has experienced such traumas personally, making Miles finally believe Edward is really King. The next day at the castle, Tom nervously awaits the coronation. Miles and Edward detain Hugh and Edith, who are on their way to the ceremony. Miles ties up Hugh, switches their clothes, and steals his invitation. Outside the castle, Miles, Lady Edith and Edward try to trick their way into the coronation but are stopped when a guard discovers Hugh. A fight ensues, but Edward makes it inside in time to stop the ceremony by displaying his royal seal. Relieved, Tom happily gives Edward the crown. Now king, Edward appoints Tom the Chief of Governors of Christ Hospital. Miles reclaims his inheritance and marries Edith, while Hugh runs away to America. Later, Princess Elizabeth becomes queen and rules England for the next forty-five years. +

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

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