The Black Knight (1954)

85 or 87 mins | Adventure | November 1954

Director:

Tay Garnett

Writer:

Alec Coppel

Cinematographer:

John Wilcox

Production Designer:

Vetchinsky

Production Company:

Warwick Film Productions, Ltd.
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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Lochinvar . Early news items stated that the film was to be an adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's Lochinvar ; however, the completed screenplay retains only a few of the details from Scott's work. The film was shot on location in London and Madrid, according to contemporary news items. According to contemporary news items, Columbia initially planned to produce the film but transferred production to their British associate, Warwick Film Productions, Ltd., while retaining the distribution ... More Less

The working title of the film was Lochinvar . Early news items stated that the film was to be an adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's Lochinvar ; however, the completed screenplay retains only a few of the details from Scott's work. The film was shot on location in London and Madrid, according to contemporary news items. According to contemporary news items, Columbia initially planned to produce the film but transferred production to their British associate, Warwick Film Productions, Ltd., while retaining the distribution rights. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
30 Oct 1954.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1953.
---
Daily Variety
31 Aug 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Oct 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 1953
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 1953
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
23 Oct 54
p. 185.
New York Times
16 Mar 1953.
---
New York Times
29 Oct 54
p. 27.
Variety
8 Sep 54
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Addl dial
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Assoc art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Archery expert
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Bold Black Knight," music by Leo Maguire, lyrics composed and sung by Elton Hayes.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Lochinvar
Release Date:
November 1954
Premiere Information:
London opening: 26 August 1954
Production Date:
early September--mid December 1953 at Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, England
Copyright Claimant:
Warwick Film Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
30 November 1954
Copyright Number:
LP4344
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
85 or 87
Length(in reels):
9
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16989
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In early Britain, Sir Ontzlake of King Arthur’s court arrives at the Earl of Yeonil’s castle with news that Viking raids are continuing against Camelot. Before meeting Yeonil, Ontzlake greets respected sword maker John. Later in private, Yeonil and Ontzlake express unease over the motives of King Mark, who has offered an alliance with Arthur against the Vikings. Meanwhile, the earl’s daughter, Lady Linet, visits John in the forge and insists that their class difference cannot change their feelings for each other. Yeonil discovers John and Linet in an embrace and regretfully orders John from the castle with money and a horse. Ontzlake encourages John to win Linet by becoming a knight as Ontzlake did years earlier. Just after John follows Ontzlake to Camelot, the Vikings raid Yeonil’s castle, and John returns to defend the family, only to witness the brutal murder of Lady Yeonil and the earl’s savage beating by an assailant, who then laughs aloud in triumph. When Lady Yeonil’s killer and the Viking leader bolt from the attack, John gives chase, but Linet believes he is fleeing in fear. John sees the pair change into royal garb, and follows them to Camelot, where Arthur, Mark and the court are celebrating the Feast of Pentecost. John bursts in on the banquet with news of the attack on Yeonil and accuses Saracen Sir Palamides of leading the raid and his servant Bernard of Lady Yeonil’s murder. After Arthur reveals that Bernard is a deaf-mute and orders John’s arrest, Ontzlake reminds Arthur that at Pentecost, everyone is allowed a “boon,” or special request. Arthur grants John three months ... +


In early Britain, Sir Ontzlake of King Arthur’s court arrives at the Earl of Yeonil’s castle with news that Viking raids are continuing against Camelot. Before meeting Yeonil, Ontzlake greets respected sword maker John. Later in private, Yeonil and Ontzlake express unease over the motives of King Mark, who has offered an alliance with Arthur against the Vikings. Meanwhile, the earl’s daughter, Lady Linet, visits John in the forge and insists that their class difference cannot change their feelings for each other. Yeonil discovers John and Linet in an embrace and regretfully orders John from the castle with money and a horse. Ontzlake encourages John to win Linet by becoming a knight as Ontzlake did years earlier. Just after John follows Ontzlake to Camelot, the Vikings raid Yeonil’s castle, and John returns to defend the family, only to witness the brutal murder of Lady Yeonil and the earl’s savage beating by an assailant, who then laughs aloud in triumph. When Lady Yeonil’s killer and the Viking leader bolt from the attack, John gives chase, but Linet believes he is fleeing in fear. John sees the pair change into royal garb, and follows them to Camelot, where Arthur, Mark and the court are celebrating the Feast of Pentecost. John bursts in on the banquet with news of the attack on Yeonil and accuses Saracen Sir Palamides of leading the raid and his servant Bernard of Lady Yeonil’s murder. After Arthur reveals that Bernard is a deaf-mute and orders John’s arrest, Ontzlake reminds Arthur that at Pentecost, everyone is allowed a “boon,” or special request. Arthur grants John three months to prove his accusations against Palamides, threatening death should he fail. Later in private, Palamides and Mark discuss their plot to overthrow Arthur and take control of Britain. Palamides rebukes Bernard for carelessly speaking aloud during the attack, thereby jeopardizing his useful position at Camelot. Meanwhile, John accompanies Arthur to the ruins of Yeonil Castle, where they find Linet caring for the bewildered, beleaguered aarl. Linet is dismayed to see John and refuses to speak with him. The next day back in Camelot, Arthur sees Mark off and evades an assassination attempt arranged by Palamides. When John tries to join the knight training school, Palamides mocks him, spurring Ontzlake to tutor John privately. After weeks of training, Ontzlake presents John with a fine horse and the famed Sir Lancelot’s original armor, and cautions John to act with restraint against Palamides. Ontzlake then sends John off to make a name for himself in knightly confrontations. John fashions Lancelot’s old armor into a new black suit and, without divulging his identity, defeats one of Arthur’s newest knights, Sir Hal, in a jousting contest. Hal reports to Arthur of the Black Knight’s fighting prowess and regal bearing, prompting Palamides' suspicions. Later, when Palamides tries to provoke John to fight in front of Linet, John recalls Ontzlake’s caution and refuses, convincing Linet that he is a coward. Mark returns to Camelot for the celebration of the opening of the new church, but like Palamides, is apprehensive about the peoples’ enthusiastic support of Christianity. The ceremony is broken up by a Viking attack, secretly arranged by Mark, in which several monks are killed. John, as the Black Knight, rides off to summon Arthur’s knights, as Linet, the abbot and the remaining monks are taken by the Vikings to the mysterious rocks of Stonehenge, where they are readied as sacrifice. Arthur, John and the knights arrive in time to rescue Linet and the clergymen and destroy Stonehenge. Linet is overjoyed to learn that John is the Black Knight, and they are reunited. Later, in order to lure the Black Knight, Palamides kidnaps Linet and demands to know the Black Knight’s identity, suggesting that he led the Viking attacks. When Linet refuses to cooperate, Palamides orders Bernard to torture her. Learning of Linet’s kidnapping, the Black Knight comes to her rescue, arriving in time to hear Bernard shout when Linet attacks him with a knife, before fainting. As Linet cannot support John’s accusation that Bernard can speak, Ontzlake tells John that his identity as the Black Knight will soon be known and that he must get proof of Mark’s treason. With the aid of a sympathetic insider, John infiltrates Mark’s castle and overhears Mark and Palamides' plan for the invasion of Camelot while casting blame for the Viking raids on the Black Knight. Later, at Arthur’s court, Palamides presents Arthur with the Black Knight’s shield and accuses him of treason. When the Black Knight arrives in court, Arthur has him arrested and imprisoned, but Linet helps him escape. John tells Ontzlake about Mark’s attack plan, then slips into his castle and forces Mark back to Camelot. The dawn of the day of the invasion, Palamides orders Bernard to assassinate Mark after the attack commences. Bernard sneaks into Mark’s chambers and stabs the sleeping figure, then triumphantly declare Palamides' victory. Unknown to the servant, Arthur, John and the other knights are hidden in the room and hear his remark, which clears John at last. Arthur leads a counter assault on Mark’s attacking Vikings and banishes them. John is formally knighted by the king and receives Arthur’s pleased consent to wed Linet. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.