(director: Max Ophuls (Max Opuls); screenwriters: from the novel “His Majesty, the King” by Cosmo Hamilton/Douglas Fairbanks Jr./Clemence Dane; cinematographer: Frank Planer; editor: Ted J. Kent; music: Frank Skinner; cast: Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (Charles Stuart), Maria Montez (The Countess), Paula Croset (Katie), Henry Daniell (Colonel Ingram), Nigel Bruce (Sir Edward Hyde), Robert Coote (Pinner), Otto Waldis (Jan), Lumsden Hare (Roundhead General), Milton A. Owen (Wilcox); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; Universal-International; 1947)
“Engaging breezy cloak and sword adventure film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The noted French filmmaker Max Ophuls (“La Ronde”/”The Earrings of Madame de…“/”Caught”), in his first American movie, drops the h from his last name and directs this engaging breezy cloak and sword adventure film. It’s based onthe novel “His Majesty, the King” by Cosmo Hamilton and is written, but not that well, by Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Clemence Dane. It tells of the English king, Charles Stuart II, living in Holland in exile before the Restoration in 1660. It has more talk than action. It was released in theaters in sepia (giving it a brown tint).
While in exile in Holland and hiding from Cromwell’s men, Charles Stuart (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) falls in love with the Dutch farm girl Katie (Paula Croset) and finds sanctuary in her inn. By the way, it’s a fictionalized romance. The king must be wary to avoid the Roundheads (Cromwell’s agents). The most bloodthirsty Cromwell supporter is the black-hatted Colonel Ingram (Henry Daniell), a vile man who was sent by Cromwell to slay the banished king.
Meanwhile Charles Stuart tells his questioning local lover that his former flame, the countess (Maria Montez), no longer matters, and he tell his followers: “You all know my terms as well as I: we’ll go home when we are freely called, by all our countrymen — and not one day before!”.
In noteworthy supporting roles areNigel Bruce as Charles’ chief aide and Robert Coote playing an actor who impersonates the king.
The crowd-pleasing written historical drama, more mundane than it should be, is saved by the sensuous camerawork of Max Ophuls. For some gravitas it turns on the reflections of the king, recalling those days of romance and examining in earnest his sense of duty. It’s far from a great film, but it has Ophuls’s magnificent visual style to make it marginally passable as entertainment for the commoners.
REVIEWED ON 1/4/2015 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/