Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

A '50s favourite: Quentin Durward

We had another look at one of my 1950s childhood favourites from those Sunday afternoon matinees: QUENTIN DURWARD, from 1955, here is what I wrote about it some years ago.: 
For me this is the high point of the MGM costume drama of the '50s, (as is Fritz Lang's MOONFLEET, also '55 and the camp delights that are THE PRODIGAL and JUPITER'S DARLING). 
I saw QUENTIN DURWARD as a child and loved it, it was perfect on the big screen - that climax on the bell ropes of the burning tower, the lady being stripped to her undergarments by the dastardly villains, all that derring-do among the chateaus of France, and that great supporting cast of Robert Morley as the devious king, George Cole, Wilfrid Hyde White, Ernest Thesiger etc. but the two stars are Robert Taylor, then perhaps in decline, and Kay Kendall, on the ascent after her English roles (like GENEVIEVE, SIMON AND LAURA) - she would go on to do three perfect comedy roles for stylish directors (Cukor, Minnelli and Donen in LES GIRLSTHE RELUCTANT DEBUTANTE and ONCE MORE WITH FEELING) before her untimely death from leukemia in September 1959. 
She is perfect here in the medieval setting clutching her jewel box and fending off the bandits - it all played out perfectly on the big screen - while Taylor has great dignity and plays his ageing knight ruefully aware of his own mortality. Its all just a sheer delight I never tire of, at least I have a Cinemascope print, its usually panned and scanned on television. Director: Richard Thorpe, produced by Pandro S Berman, who produced Kendall's other MGM films.
Kay is somewhat of a patron saint here at The Projector .... as per all those posts on her, see label. 
Robert Taylor too had a late renaissance here with these costumers like IVANHOE, QUO VADIS. VALLEY OF THE KINGS and QUENTIN DURWARD. (KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE is not in the same league). 

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