HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Scarlet Blade, The Cavaliers Vs. Roundheads
Year: 1964
Director: John Gilling
Stars: Lionel Jeffries, Oliver Reed, Jack Hedley, June Thorburn, Michael Ripper, Harold Goldblatt, Duncan Lamont, Clifford Elkin, Suzan Farmer, John Harvey, Charles Houston, Robert Rietty, Harry Towb, George Woodbridge
Genre: Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1648 and the English Civil War is at its height, with King Charles currently on the run from the forces of Oliver Cromwell, in hiding in this part of the English countryside where he has been given shelter by the Royalist Beverley family. However, the leader of the Roundheads in the area is Colonel Judd (Lionel Jeffries) who, with his right hand man Captain Sylvester (Oliver Reed), has managed to work out where the King is being kept and is heading over to the country house to arrest him. Realising this, the oldest Beverley brother Edward (Jack Hedley) makes plans of his own...

The British studio Hammer, first time around, were not simply cranking out the horror movies, but had branched out into other genres as well during their heyday, and the historical adventure was one of those styles which suited them to a tee. Hence they made quite a number of them, and often they would have a scene or bit of business which relented to their reputation of the bloodthirsty stuff, although not always, and that was the case here with The Scarlet Blade. If it sounds like it should have been one of their Robin Hood influenced films, well, it was and it wasn't.

Certainly the title character - the name Edward adopts for his raids on the Roundheads - acted as an outlaw the storyline was on the side of, but as it played he wasn't really the main character, and disappointingly he didn't show up dressed in a bright red costume. In fact, Oliver Reed wore more scarlet than Hedley did, which may well have been a stylistic choice, for his Captain was by far the most interesting character here, wavering between the two sides as his head was turned by the love for Judd's daughter Claire (June Thorburn), who happened to be siding against her strict father to sympathise with the King (who himself appeared only in one scene, and then wordlessly).

Therefore Sylvester is caught in the middle of the two forces, and as the side he's meant to be fighting for were the winners eventually, you can guess this puts him in a very difficult position. Much of the interest here is not in the plotline, which would supply you with the most rudimentary history lesson and that's about it, but more with the cast. Especially those two headliners, as Jeffries and Reed proved impressive as foes, so much so that they weighted the film in their own favour and any scenes where they were not appearing, either together or apart, did tend to fall rather flat. Hedley, best known to trash fans as the man who tracked The New York Ripper, just didn't match them.

Of the support, Thorburn attracted some attention for this was her second to last film before her untimely death in one of Britain's worst air disasters of the era; she's not much recalled now, partly because her career was cut short, but she did have the quality to make you wonder what else she had been in and if this wasn't her best role she did make something worthy of it. On a lighter note, watch out for Hammer stalwart Michael Ripper as a somewhat hilarious "gypsy", all decked out in swarthy makeup, knife held between the teeth and embarrassing himself with a dodgy accent. Also notable was the sequence where the goodies creep up on the baddies while disguised as trees; perhaps they were hoping for some Macbeth connections as the way this resolved itself was not the most cheery of endings, as if to say to the audience, yeah, we're Hammer, we give you the grim finales and don't you forget it. But instead of rising to a crescendo, it petered out glumly. Music by Gary Hughes.

[Studio Canal's Region 2 DVD has a digitally remastered print, looks good, and an alternative opening as an extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2923 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: