When Knighthood Was in Flower

1922

Romance / Drama

2
IMDb Rating 8.0

Synopsis


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2.23G
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121 min
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1.41G
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121 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by drednm 10

This 1922 production (now restored) was at the time the most expensive picture ever made. It was also a major box-office hit. Marion Davies plays Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII and intended bride of old Louis of France. But she&#39;s in love with the dashing Charles Brandon (Forrest Stanley). After Brandon is framed for murder, Mary agrees to bargain with Henry: he&#39;ll spare Brandon&#39;s life if she willingly marries old Louis. She counters that she will agree if she can choose her second husband. Henry agrees.<br/><br/>Mary goes off to France to marry old Louis (William Norris) but his nephew and heir (William Powell) has designs on beautiful Mary. After old Louis dies, the nephew pounces on Mary, but she escapes with Brandon&#39;s help in a race across France with an army in pursuit.<br/><br/>The breathtaking restoration on this film, with the original tinting scheme and digital hand-coloring restored, is a great achievement, one that lets us view this film as it was seen in 1922. The fabulous sets by Joseph Urban and costumes by Gretl Urban Thurlow make for a sumptuous film experience that enhances the exciting story of medieval court intrigue.<br/><br/>Marion Davies is nothing short of superb as Mary Tudor. She is willful, impetuous, determined, and throws herself into the role of the princess who, at one point, masquerades as a boy in an attempt to escape the English court of Henry. Forrest Stanley is a suitable Brandon, Lyn Harding is impressive as Henry. William Norris is terrific as old Louis. William Powell is appropriately oily as the king&#39;s nephew. Johnny Dooley plays the court jester who has an important scene.<br/><br/>Others include Ruth Shepley as Jane, Theresa Maxwell Conover as Queen Catherine, Flora Finch as a lady of the French court, Ernest Glendinning as Caskoden, Pedro de Cordoba as Buckingham, Arthur Forrest as Wolsey, Gustv von Seyffertitz as the soothsayer, Paul Panzer as captain of the guards, and William Kent as the court tailor. Nicely directed by Robert Vignola.<br/><br/>This is first and foremost a Marion Davies film, and she is spectacular. This new restoration (July 2107) is a must-see film for all fans of Davies in particular and silent films in general.

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Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 10

Although he is not remembered to-day for anything else but this production, Robert G. Vignola directed no less than 99 movies, starting way back in 1911 and continuing through to 1937. A look at &quot;The Scarlet Letter&quot; (1934) confirms the impression that he learnt his craft back in 1911 and stuck with it. Throughout the entire length of &quot;When Knighthood&quot;, Mr Vignola does not move his camera so much as a single half-inch. Were it not for his fondness of editing constantly from a group shot to a tight two-shot, the whole movie is otherwise presented as if it were a stage play. Nonetheless, he does maintain the pace of his tale with admirable dexterity. I was amazed to find that I&#39;d been glued to the screen for well over two and half hours. I thought I&#39;d been watching the action for no more than 90 minutes.<br/><br/>Of course the overwhelming richness of the production, tight plotting that most effectively builds up to two separate climaxes, plus spellbinding acting (particularly from Miss Davies herself, Lyn Harding, William Norris and William Powell) all contributed to the movie&#39;s appeal. On the other hand, I thought Forrest Stanley made a rather dull hero; and the fact that he and Ernest Glendinning who played his friend, Caskoden, were virtually interchangeable look-a-likes did not help.<br/><br/>All told, however, this is a thrilling, engrossing and visually appealing production, and I can&#39;t wait until it&#39;s released on DVD with an appropriate music score.

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Reviewed by raskimono 7

What can be said about at the time the most expensive movie ever made with cost an estimated at $1.8 million. The pet project of the famous media magnate William Hearst, it is the tale of a woman, sister who defies all royal conventions, especially one; she falls in love with a commoner - Knight Charles Brandon - while bethrothed not of her choice, of course, to King louis XII of France. Action ensues as the forces of tradition conspire to keep them apart. The sets are very good and Marion davies is extremely good. When I watch a silent movie and I wish to hear what the actor is saying, then the performance is classic. Everyone else is adequate and passable. The director who isn&#39;t very good throws in a lot of gothic subtext and an unusual editing style of what I&#39;ll term &quot;flash cutting&quot; is used. Cinematography is especially wonderful. Deeper meanings or detailing beyond the obvious social strata innuities and foresight castigations of a by-gone era, is pitifully missing. Entertaining yes, action-packed - agreed but a bit quaint, unlike Robin Hood released around the same time but which holds up much better. (It alsao looks as if it cost more; it did not). But Garbo, Shearer and Dietrich did this too and theirs are better. Worth watching but watch out for sappiness in many moments. Just as a note, this movie was the biggest hit of the 1922-23 movie season, ahead of Robin Hood and Safety last.

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