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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

IVANHOE (1952)

Inexplicably fine M-G-M adaptation of Walter Scott’s tale of Normans, Saxons, a gaggle of Jews & the Sherwood Forest gang. (No one’s called Robin Hood or Little John, but you’ll spot ‘em.) Robert Taylor starred in a passel of dud historicals at M-G-M, but he’s almost touching as an illiterate Knight lost in the political & romantic intrigues between the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders & a host of stalwart British character actors, though Emlyn Williams overplays his sidekick comedy. Did studio hack Richard Thorpe really meg the unusually clear action sequences? No matter, producer Pandro Berman welded superior tech credits here (the cream of the UK) and Miklos Rozsa’s superb score rouses the senses & clarifies the action. The result on screen is pure product, but it’s good product.

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