Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Black Knight (1954)

"I know I'm not a knight, but is it impossible to become one?"

I only sat through this film because it had Patrick Troughton, Peter Cushing and Andre Morell in it. I wish I hadn't. I can honestly say that this is the worst film I've blogged thus far. Even Teenagers from Outer Space was better than this.

The historical inaccuracies... where to begin? Obviously you accept a certain amount of artistic licence for the Arthurian genre, with the early sixth century setting typically being depicted as the High Middle Ages, but here we have Patrick Troughton as King Mark of Cornwall, leading an anti-Christian alliance of pagan Vikings and druids(!) with "Saracens" who apparently prefer associating with pagans than people of the book. Hmmm. One of these "Saracens" is Knight of the Round Table Sir Parmenides, who has his own castle in the English countryside. 

But that's not all. The centrepiece of the film sees our very silly alliance of baddies perform a comedy pagan ceremony of sacrifice at a matte painting of Stonehenge. After their defeat Arthur orders the monument to be trashed, a bit like Daesh in Palmyra. This is appropriate, I suppose, as Arthur spends the entire film behaving like a twat. Oh, and he's depicted as a King of "England"  the very country that any real life Arthur would have devoted his life to strangling at birth. Arthur didn't like immigrants much, a lot like most Britons today. This Arthur seems positively encouraging of diversity, notwithstanding his twattishness.

Even disregarding these frighteningly ignorant depictions of history- children actually watched this film!- the plot is annoying and relies on Arthur being stupid and thick-heatedly disbelieving for the plot to work.

Patrick Troughton gives us some top class moustache twirling but Alan Ladd phones it in as heroic blacksmith John. Then again, with a script as hopeless as this, why wouldn't he? A film not worth bothering with.

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