During the 1700s, pirate Captain Vallo seizes a British warship and gets involved in various money-making schemes involving Caribbean rebels led by El Libre, British envoy Baron Jose Gruda, and a beautiful courtesan named Consuelo.
During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
Twelfth-century Lombardy lies under the iron heel of German overlord Count Ulrich 'The Hawk', but in the mountains, guerillas yet resist. Five years before our story, Ulrich stole away the pretty wife of young archer Dardo who, cynical rather than embittered, still has little interest in joining the rebels. But this changes when his son, too, is taken from him. The rest is lighthearted swashbuckling, plus romantic interludes with lovely hostage Anne.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Although numerous sources have claimed that the project was originally intended for Errol Flynn, by 1950 Flynn's physical condition had deteriorated to a point that precluded his playing the role. See more »
The outlaws' pet bear cub is a Malayan Sun Bear, of which there could have been none in medieval Italy. See more »
THE FLAME AND THE ARROW is one (1) of those films that every ten (10) years we see and are pleasantly surprised how well it holds up. It is also amazing how it appears and disappears. In the 60's it was on quite frequently, the 70's not so. American Movie Classics (AMC) showed it often in the 80's and it came out on VHS. Now it is been buried again so a new generation of viewers are going to have to wait till it comes out on DVD. I have just watched my 80's VHS recently so this is based upon it.
It is what other commentators called it ROBIN HOOD JR. That does not mean it is small or poorly made film. Instead you see the full power of a major studio Warner Brothers (WB) behind it. The props and sets many coming from larger films (Adventures of Robin Hood, Elizabeth and Essex, The Adventures of Don Juan) are quite evident and effectively integrated into the story line. Burt Lancaster's supporting cast consists of the current studio stock company, all professionals. Who knew what to deliver and did so. It had the full Three (3) Strip Technicolor process in all it's glory and finally Max Steiner's score. Romantic and rich and appropriate for such a concept. This is a super 'B' film and there is no disgrace in that. We have seen plenty of 'A' films today that are not half as well done.
It is though Burt Lancaster that is the central focus of the film. His first 'independent' production he knew if he did not carry it well it would have failed. Every time he is on the screen he is the focus of attention and fortunately he is on very often. Whether exchanging insults, engaging in acrobatics or romance he is hitting the target every time. He is ably supported by Virginia Mayo as his leading lady. A underrated actress with a attractive and strong physical presence. Lets be frank, does anyone believe that DARDO would fall for some skinny twit like Audrey Hepburn (or today Angelina Jolie) no way. We did not believe that when Sean Connery did in ROBIN AND MARIAN!
So if you can check this selection out. Your library may have a copy (mine does) on VHS. We are sure it will be out sometime on DVD. Lancaster later made another period film THE CRIMSON PIRATE. Not quite as good but still fun, but it seemed to lack the backing. polish and push that WB gave THE FLAME AND THE ARROW.
ADDENDUM; NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD.
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