Quentin Durward 1955

(UK title: The Adventures of Quentin Durward)

 

Director: Richard Thorpe

 

Writers: Walter Scott (from his novel)Robert ArdreyGeorge Froeschel

Rôle: Count Philip De Creville

 

Release Date: 23 November 1955

Synopsis: In 1465, Quentin Durward travels to France to meet Isabelle, Countess of Marcroy, on behalf of his elderly Scottish uncle whom, for political reasons, the Duke of Burgundy intends she marry. A man of honour who may have sworn too many oaths, Durward finds he and Isabelle are being used as pawns in a deadly game by the Duke and devious King Louis XI. One look at Isabelle has convinced Durward this is where he and his heart have to be.

Comment: Marius looks amazing in a suit of armour and very sexy later in his thigh high boots. I love Kay Kendall in anything but Robert Taylor, though handsome, is rather wooden. Robert Morley is delightful as the devious and cunning Louis.

Filmed in CinemaScope and beautiful Technicolor by Christopher Challis (who had worked on The Red Shoes (1948)) and Desmond Dickinson (who filmed The Devil's Daffodil (1961)), MGM took advantage of post-war tax laws that encouraged location filming, with host counties insisting movie companies shoot on location to free up collected monies. Therefore “Quentin Durward” was filmed on location in England and France. It includes plenty of stunning visuals shot on location at Bodiam Castle in England and Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau and Château de Maintenon, all in France.

Availability: DVD (Warner Bros Archive Collection) Release Date: 22 June 2009.

MG in QD 8.jpg

Reviews: Good user review on IMDb by brogmiller: "By all accounts Robert Taylor was a thoroughly amenable chap who was grateful for his success and never made waves. MGM certainly kept him gainfully employed and this film based on the novel by Sir Walter Scott is the third of three costume films he made between 1951 and 1955 and all directed by Richard 'one take' Thorpe. This is undeniably the weakest of the three and fared worst at the box office but there is much to recommend it. The lush score is by Bronislau Kaper, standing in for Miklos Rozsa, whilst everyone and everything looks fabulous courtesy of cinematographers Christopher Challis and Desmond Dickinson. Robert Morley is excellent but totally miscast as Louis XI although if you can believe Taylor as a Scotsman you can certainly believe Morley as the 'Spider King'! Ably supported by Alec Clunes, Marius Goring and an outrageous Duncan Lamont as the 'Beast of the Ardennes' whose fight with Durward on bell ropes is the film's highlight. Taylor of course is personable, unpretentious and impossible not to like. His best scenes are with Kay Kendall. Indeed how could any actor not shine opposite this divine, delectable actress so cruelly taken by leukaemia at the age of thirty-three. Producer Pandro S. Berman freely admitted that his films were designed solely to entertain and this one certainly fulfils that criterion."

There is also a very good review of the film on frenchfilms.org.

Quentin Durward review by Bosley Crowther in The New York Times 24 November 1955
Quentin Durward review in The Times 5 March 1956