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 Post subject: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:38 pm 
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Michelangelo

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:11 pm
Posts: 670
Crossed Swords 1977 (original title)
The Prince and the Pauper (1977) in the UK


Image

Directed by Richard Fleischer

Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Berta Domínguez D. screenplay
George MacDonald Fraser screenplay
Pierre Spengler screenplay
Mark Twain novel "The Prince and the Pauper"


Cast
Oliver Reed ...Sir Miles Hendon
Raquel Welch ... Lady Edith
Mark Lester ... Prince Edward / Tom Canty
Charlton Heston ... Henry VIII
Ernest Borgnine ... John Canty
George C. Scott ... The Ruffler
Rex Harrison ... The Duke of Norfolk
David Hemmings ... Hugh Hendon
Harry Andrews ... Hertford
Julian Orchard ... St. John
Murray Melvin ... Prince's Dresser
Lalla Ward ... Princess Elizabeth
Felicity Dean ... Lady Jane Grey
Sybil Danning ... Mother Canty
Graham Stark ... Jester
Preston Lockwood ... Father Andrew
Arthur Hewlett ... Fat Man
Tommy Wright ... Constable
Harry Fowler ... Nipper
Richard Hurndall ... Archbishop Cranmer

part 2/12: Heston scene is near the beginning of the clip



:cheers:


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:22 am 
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Prince Judah
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:18 am
Posts: 1360
This was a fun film, from what I recall. I'm pretty sure I have a DVD and it wasn't that long ago that I last watched it -- maybe 3 years ago. I think I actually first went to see this when it was in the theater. The producers seemed to try and copy the success of the THREE MUSKETEERS and the FOUR MUSKETEERS films; this is not the classic those films turned out to be but it's very watchable, with another entertaining Oliver Reed performance. Also back from the Musketeers films are Raquel Welch and Heston. Like the Musketeers films, this just piled on the big stars, most of whom had very long careers by the point that they appeared here - Borgnine, George C. Scott, Rex Harrison... but I always thought Mark Lester (of OLIVER! fame) was miscast or they waited too long to make the film; Lester is about a couple of years too old here for the central role, too tall and gangly; this was nearly his last film role, I think.

I also don't know why I didn't include this film here at about the same time that I plugged in the Musketeers threads; I forgot about it - guess I'm getting old... :mad: But, I've got a hankering to see this one again. It also has a very nice Maurice Jarre music score, quite poignant in a couple of moments.


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:46 am 
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Prince Judah
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Posts: 1360
I just watched this one again and it's better than I remember - an old-fashioned romp and adventure, probably marked by Mark Twain's talents as original writer and screenwriter George MacDonald Fraser. Oliver Reed is terrific in it. It should be noted that most of the big stars in this one are relegated to supporting roles or large cameos, since the main characters are the prince and the pauper (Mark Lester). Even Reed first appears only at the 20-minute mark (though he is undeniably the star of the film after that point). Raquel Welch doesn't show up until the 80-minute mark. But, each star makes the most of their short roles.

I suddenly realized a rationale for Lester being cast and playing an older boy - a young man, really - rather than a small one; if he were a small kid, the scenes of Borgnine as his brutal father beating him wouldn't work; it would be too harsh and off-putting. There was also an unexpected funny scene for me when Borgnine calls his wife a "whimpering old ****" - she (as the pauper's mom) is played by Sybil Danning and anyone familiar with her career in the early eighties knows how that description doesn't fit her at all.

Heston, though portraying a powerful figure as the king, blustering and so forth, also portrays a man who is seriously ill and dying, so some of his scenes are a little disturbing too watch. It's always somewhat disturbing to see a powerful man brought low by illness. Oliver Reed does a lot of brawling in this one, not always coming out on the winning end. This film also had the same screenwriter as the Musketeers films of a few years earlier.



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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:18 pm 
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Soylent Corp. Lackey
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Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:10 pm
Posts: 53
I need to revisit this film. I saw it during its theatrical run and quite enjoyed it. I think I tried watching it on home video and not caring for it. It was probably due to it being in the wrong aspect ratio. In the days before proper aspect ratios on home video, I would frequently see a film on TV that I had loved on the big screen, only to find the film "OK" on TV. I think the conversion of widescreen films to pan and scan made some very good and even extraordinary films look poorly directed. Until the widescreen laserdisc of El Cid, I had always thought that film was poorly directed as I had only seen pan and scan versions before. In widescreen it became an epic masterpiece.


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:39 am 
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Prince Judah
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Posts: 1360
My own early eye-opening experience with seeing a film in a new light was with the big science fiction classic from the fifties, FORBIDDEN PLANET. I had watched this film on TV in the seventies and eighties; these were the pan-and-scan version, and smudgy ones to boot. I regarded the film as an average sci-fi film of the fifties back then. Then, in 1993, I acquired the widescreen, restored version of FP on Laserdisc. As with EL CID, the film was now a masterpiece to me (of course, the later DVD and HD DVD versions offered even better picture).

(btw, what if Heston's career took a different direction and he starred in FORBIDDEN PLANET instead of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS in 1956? He would have been in the captain's role, essayed by Leslie Nielsen. Now that would be a trip..!)

The DVD of CROSSED SWORDS (called The Prince and the Pauper on the DVD cover) I have is the widescreen 2.35:1 version. And, nowadays, one can watch widescreen films every day on channels such as TCM. But, back in the day - 20-30 years ago- VHS only presented films in 1.33:1, pan-&-scanned and TV movie airings were all 1.33:1. The degree varies, depending on the film, but many films were all but destroyed by pan-&-scan, or at least 're-directed' -- there's a 10-minute featurette that runs on TCM quite often which explains all this from the viewpoint of some famous directors. It's called letterbox, for example, because the picture looks like a mailbox slot or mail slot you put pieces of mail through.


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:50 pm 
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Cheating Bastard

Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:18 pm
Posts: 46
I've seen this film many times over the years, it's on TV in the UK fairly often (it's on right now and I'm recording it to watch later.)
I assume it wasn't a big hit? I first saw it when I was young so that's possibly why I have a soft spot for it but I actually prefer this version to the 1937 one with Errol Flynn-and I am a Flynn fan!


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:44 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Posts: 1360
Mark wrote:
I assume it wasn't a big hit? I first saw it when I was young so that's possibly why I have a soft spot for it


Yes, it wasn't a big hit according to the adjusted box office figures for Heston films - charlton-heston-movies-inflated-box-office-numbers-t426.html

According to the list, this film was pretty far down the list out of 61 films:
    45.The Awakening (1980) 25.4 million Susannah York
    46.Will Penny (1968) 23.8 million Joan Hackett, Donald Pleasence
    47.Gray Lady Down (1978) 23.1 million David Carradine
    48.The Mountain Men (1980) 22.3 million Brian Keith
    49.Crossed Swords (1977) 21.5 million Oliver Reed
    50.Alaska (1996) 21.5 million Dirk Benedict
    51.The Savage (1952) 20.7 million Susan Morrow
    52.The War Lord (1965) 16.7 million Richard Boone
    53.In the Mouth of Madness (1995) 16.7 million Sam Neill
    54.Number One (1969) 11.9 million Jessica Walter
    55.Counterpoint (1967) 11.1 million Maximilian Schell
    56.The Call of the Wild (1972) 9.5 million a dog
    57.Town and Country (2001) 9.5 million Warren Beatty
    58.Hamlet (1996) 8.7 million Kenneth Branagh
    59.The Last Hard Men (1976) 6.4 million James Coburn
These figures are for the U.S. only. It may have done better internationally.


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:49 pm 
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Cheating Bastard

Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:18 pm
Posts: 46
Thanks, seems as if it's one of those films that made little impact at the time but is familiar to a lot of people because of frequent TV broadcasts.


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:34 pm 
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El Cid
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 1138
Location: Lincoln, England
Just had this reply from the actor Dudley Sutton when I asked him if he ever worked with Chuck Heston-

"Was in the same film shot in Budapest in Russian occupation - he shot his **** in the UK. Gossip was he was too anti-red to come with the rest of us - The Pronce and the pauper -"

Dudley Sutton is a very extraordinary person, given to slightly bizarre responses - as you can see - but I have always found him strangely watchable in every role he's played.


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 Post subject: Re: Crossed Swords 1977
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:20 am 
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Prince Judah
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:18 am
Posts: 1360
I own a book which examined Hollywood's treatment of real history and real historical figures: THE HOLLYWOOD HISTORY OF THE WORLD by George MacDonald Fraser. Particularly interesting is his chapter on the Tudors and, especially, King Henry VIII, Heston's role in this film.

The first actor who portrayed the famous king that Fraser discusses in the book - and maybe the most famous portrayal - is Charles Laughton, who played the king in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), which won him the Oscar. But, Fraser seems not to like that performance, writing that Laughton made him a childish buffoon, without any intelligence. Also, the real Henry was a giant, 6' 3" and broad, resembling a later actor - and we'll get to that...

Fraser wrote that the famous king was better served by other actors - Montagu Love, Robert Shaw, Richard Burton, Charlton Heston and Keith Michell. Of these, Burton was the least convincing to Fraser, remaining Burton with a beard (Anne of a Thousand Days/1969). He thought Shaw had a great gaze and played a mad tyrant well (in A Man For All Seasons), though he didn't look like Henry. Then Fraser wrote of his favorites in the role:
Quote:
Physically, Keith Michell and Heston were ideal casting. Michell, who played Henry both on television and in the cinema, achieved the difficult feat of aging the subject from youth to old age; if Heston is my favorite, it is for personal reasons, and also because for all his imposing height he had to overcome the disadvantage of looking not in the least like Henry Tudor. Make-up and his own immersion in the character turned him into a very proper tyrant - a hulking, gross giant, mottle-faced and lurching along on his 'sorre legge,' darting piggy-eyed wicked glances at his court, growling his lines, pawing at ladies-in-waiting, and dying at last defiantly in the shadows, muttering of "Monks, monks, monks!" while his jester whimpered at the foot of the bed. That, for the record, is how Henry went in fact.
Anyone who needs to explain Heston's acting ability to a naysayer should certainly try to use that example...


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