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Prince Valiant

The cartoon strip hero comes to the screen as a good offering for fans who dote on the fanciful derring-do of the Arthurian period.

James Mason Janet Leigh Robert Wagner Debra Paget Sterling Hayden Victor McLaglen

The cartoon strip hero comes to the screen as a good offering for fans who dote on the fanciful derring-do of the Arthurian period.

Harold Foster’s King Features strip gives an imaginative action basis for Robert L. Jacks’ production guidance and the direction by Henry Hathaway. Although the picture comes in a bit overlength, the direction and Dudley Nichols’ scripting combine to bring it off acceptably against some rather dazzling settings, including authentic castles and sites actually lensed in England.

Heading the star list is James Mason, who plays Sir Brack, pretender to King Arthur’s throne. His dirty work is excellent, whether thinking up ambushes for Robert Wagner, in the title role, or engaging the young hero in joust or broadsword combat. The way he and Mason have at each other in the climaxing duel puts a topnotch action capper on the tale.

The plot finds Wagner in exile with his royal parents after their throne was seized by Primo Carnera. The Viking prince goes to King Arthur’s court, becomes a squire to Sir Gawain, falls in love with Janet Leigh and, eventually, is able to put the finger on Mason as the mysterious Black Knight.

Prince Valiant

Production: 20th Century-Fox. Director Henry Hathaway; Producer Robert L. Jacks; Screenplay Dudley Nichols; Camera Lucien Ballard; Editor Robert Simpson; Music Franz Waxman

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 100 MIN.

With: James Mason Janet Leigh Robert Wagner Debra Paget Sterling Hayden Victor McLaglen

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