The War Lord digs back into the 11th century against a Druid setting in ancient Normandy for unfoldment of its generally fast action. Producer Walter Seltzer has given his picturization of Leslie Stevens' play The Lovers - finely lensed to lend realism and pictorial beauty - elaborate mounting and clash battle movement.

The War Lord digs back into the 11th century against a Druid setting in ancient Normandy for unfoldment of its generally fast action. Producer Walter Seltzer has given his picturization of Leslie Stevens’ play The Lovers – finely lensed to lend realism and pictorial beauty – elaborate mounting and clash battle movement.

Franklin Schaffner’s direction, while not always overcoming deficiencies of convincing dialog and Charlton Heston’s sometimes vacillating characterization, in the main projects the proper spirit of a derring-do, days-of-yore melodrama. His battle scenes, utilizing the weapons and tactics of the period are particularly well handled.

Script presents Heston as war lord of the Duke of Normandy, detailed to oversee a primitive Druid village on a barren shore of the North Sea, whose inhabitants are constantly harassed by invaders from the north. With him are his brother (Guy Stockwell) and Richard Boone, his faithful aide in 20 years of warring. Plottage dwells on his mad passion for a village girl, claiming her on her wedding night according to custom of ‘droit de seigneur’ – a lord’s right of the first night.

Heston is more convincing in his battle scenes than in romancing Rosemary Forsyth, but nevertheless delivers a hard-hitting performance. Top acting honors, however, go to Stockwell, as the young knight.

The War Lord

Production

Universal/Court. Director Franklin J. Schaffner; Producer Walter Seltzer; Screenplay John Collier, Millard Kaufman; Camera Russell Metty; Editor Folmar Blangsted; Music Jerome Moross; Art Director Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Charlton Heston Richard Boone Rosemary Forsyth Maurice Evans Guy Stockwell Niall MacGinnis
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