Tuesday, September 3, 2013

1952 - IVANHOE, outstanding adventure film from MGM

Here is a film that completely hits it marks.  Ivanhoe is a large scale action adventure filmed in England with a big budget.  This story of knights, Richard The Lionheart, Robin Hood (here called Robin of Locksley) and chivalry is so well done it's easy to ignore the mix of American and British actors in the cast.

The driving force behind Ivanhoe was producer Pandro S Berman, one of Hollywood's best film makers.  He had a distinguished career working at RKO with Fred Astaire, Katherine Hepburn, George Stevens and George Cukor among others.  Later he moved to MGM where he continued to produce films of high quality.  The director Richard Thorpe was a working director who probably was never on anyone's "A" list, but was a reliable craftsman.  F.A. Young was the cinematographer.  Young went on to work with David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Ryan's Daughter.

The cast included a couple of stunning women, Joan Fontaine and Elizabeth Taylor.  Taylor was probably 19 years old when she filmed Ivanhoe and she was an extremely attractive young woman although she never was much of an actor.  Robert Taylor played Ivanhoe and he brings a commanding presence to a part that could have come off as silly.

Ivanhoe has some excellent action scenes with a castle siege by Robin Hood's men being a real standout.  A great film made by a group of professionals who really knew what they were doing.

106 minutes.

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