The story, for those who are just joining us, is that Wilfred of Ivanhoe (Anthony Andrews) ran off to join King Richard's crusade against his father's wishes. He returns home just in time to rescue Isaac of York (James Mason) from being waylaid by forest robbers.
|Isaac (James Mason), who has the weirdest and silliest hat in the whole movie.|
Isaac is a wealthy Jew with quite a few enemies and a beautiful daughter named Rebecca (Olivia Hussey). Out of gratitude, he outfits Ivanhoe with a horse and armor to enter a tournament. There, Ivanhoe is briefly reunited with the fair Rowena (Lysette Anthony), who is his father's ward and was Ivanhoe's intended bride until Ivanhoe's father disowned him because he went on that fool crusade.
At the tournament, Ivanhoe also meets up with three scurrilous knights: Brian de Bois-Guilbert (Sam Neill), De Bracy (Stuart Wilson), and Front-de-Beouf (John Rhys-Davies).
|Three bad, naughty, evil knights.|
They're cronies of Prince John's and not well loved of the Saxon populace, being Norman oppressors, etc. And then there's lots of jousting, and this is getting long, so I'll skip ahead to the fact that Ivanhoe gets wounded, and he and Isaac and Rebecca are captured by those three scurrilous knights, as are Ivanhoe's dad Cedric and Lady Rowena. And they have to get rescued by Robin Hood (David Robb).
This Robin Hood is pretty cool. He's got a very Saxon look, all blond and blue-eyed and sharp-cheekboned, and he does the role justice.
|Locksley the Lethal|
Oh, and I forgot the bad guys also captured Athelstane (Michael Gothard), who's the son of Saxon royalty and cracked me up the whole movie through. He thinks of absolutely nothing but food!
|Athelstane the Always Hungry|
I can see why Anthony Andrews fans would like this movie a great deal. He spends most of it wounded and shirtless. And he looks very, very good that way.
|Of course, with such a lovely nurse, who wouldn't prolong their recovery?|
But the real highlight of the casting in this, for me, was Olivia Hussey as Rebecca. Wow. She was wonderful! Beautiful, of course, but also with a mixture of innocence and resilience that really entranced me.
|I would totally wear any of her costumes.|
Plus, Rebecca is such an intelligent character. Especially when contrasted to this version's Rowena, who is very pretty and sweet, but extremely dippy.
|Though she be but dippy, she is fierce. Or something.|
All in all, this is such a delightfully colorful and joyous production. Everyone's having a grand time, and they hope the viewers will too. Lately, I've realized that I really dig movies that simply want to be enjoyable. The people making the movie are having fun, they want their audience to have fun, and no one is worried about making High Art or Important Statements.
|Colors, colors everywhere!|
In fact, some of the actors, who we know can Really Act, turn in remarkably silly performances here. I'm talking to you in particular, Sam Neill. You spent the whole movie smirking and sneering, except at the very end, where you were suddenly so wonderful it's like you remembered you could act, or something.
|One of Sam Neill's vast collection of smirks.|
Is this movie family friendly? Mostly! There's medieval violence, swords and so on, but very little blood -- this is a TV movie from the '80s, after all. And there's some talk of taking a woman as a concubine, a bit of leering and menacing toward her, but nothing overt. A couple of chaste kisses elsewhere. I can't recall any bad language at all.
Now, one last picture of Anthony Andrews just cuz he's the star and I couldn't find anywhere else to include a close-up.
|I'm terribly wounded. How's my hair?|