THE SCARLET BLADE (THE CRIMSON BLADE)
(director/writer: John Gilling; cinematographer: Jack Asher; editor: John Dunsford; music: Mary Hughes; cast: Lionel Jeffries(Col. Judd), Oliver Reed (Capt. Tom Sylvester), Jack Hedley (Edward), June Thorburn (Clare Judd), Robert Rietty (King Charles), Michael Ripper (Pablo), Clifford Elkin (Philip), Suzan Farmer (Constance Beverley); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Anthony Nelson Keys;Studiocanal/Sony Choice Collection (Hammer Films); 1963-UK)
“A well-crafted but routine historical swashbuckler.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A well-crafted but routine historical swashbuckler. The costume drama is set in the 17th century in England, during its Civil War. It focuses on the clashes between the Royalists of King Charles (Robert Rietty) and the guerrilla fighters of Oliver Cromwell. John Gilling(“A Matter of Murder”/”The Gamma People”/”Where the Bullets Fly”) writes and directs the period drama with adequate professional skill. It doesn’t clarify the war issues, but the action sequences were entertaining.
In 1648, King Charles is on the run hiding from Cromwell’s forces. Lionel Jeffries is the leader of the Roundheads (or Parliamentarians). He’s a sadist Cromwell following colonel, who is all about hanging every Royalist rebel. But he is befuddled when he discovers his daughter (June Thorburn, killed in an air mishap a few years later) has Royalist sympathies. Oliver Reed is her father’s swashbuckling captain aide, who wavers in his support of Cromwell when he falls for the throne sympathizing daughter of the colonel.
Jack Hedley is the Scarlet Blade, a Robin Hood like hero, whose family hides the King. Hedley leads the battle for the Royalist cause when the Roundheads attempt to arrest the King.
REVIEWED ON 9/16/2015 GRADE: B-