- Lively escapist fare. 10/25/2005 12:00:00 AM by phillindholm
"Crossed Swords" is a lavish and lively adaptation of the Mark Twain classic "The Prince and the Pauper". Producing the picture were the Salkinds, the father and son team responsible for "The Three Musketeers" films, as well as the "Superman" blockbusters. Released in England by Twentieth Century Fox as "The Prince and the Pauper" in 1977, it reached American shores (now distributed by Warner Brothers) in 1978 as "Crossed Swords" and with eight minutes of footage deleted.
Veteran director Richard Fleischer moves the familiar story along quite briskly, while still giving audiences ample opportunities to appreciate the handsome sets and costumes. The all-star cast is mostly impressive. Mark "Oliver" Lester is too old and stiff to give a truly authentic performance in the dual role of Prince Edward and pauper Tom Canty, but he doesn't spoil the film. Oliver Reed is a hearty and touching Miles Hendon, and Ernest Borgnine, fake cockney accent or not, shines as the pauper's cruel father. Charlton Heston perhaps overdoes the part of old King Henry, but how else can you play a character like that? Rex Harrison is smooth as an ill-fated Duke, George C Scott impresses as a beggar king, Raquel Welch looks stunning in her too-few scenes as Edith, Hendon's true love, and she beautifully underplays her part (though her surprising adeptness at comedy is evident here as well). The same cannot be said for scenery chewing David Hemmings, cast as Hugh, Hendon's evil brother, who forced Edith into an unhappy marriage. Among the supporting cast are such familiar faces as Harry Andrews, as a duplicitous Court Minister, Julian Orchard as a court fop, and Sybil Danning as Tom's mother. Two young beauties (Lalla Ward and Felicity Dean) appear as, respectively, future Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane.
With a rousing music score by Maurice Jarre, perfect for a swashbuckler like this, and beautiful scenery photographed by the great Jack Cardiff, this is light-hearted, spirited adventure at its finest. Surprisingly, the film did not fare well on either side of the Atlantic but, like most period adventures, it has worn well. Incidentally, the DVD release restores the cut footage and includes a theatrical trailer and television spot (for the U.S. release) which compliment the flawless Anamorphic Widescreen transfer.
- The Pauper Who Would be a Prince 5/20/2006 12:00:00 AM by Bogmeister
Brought to us by the same producers of "The Three Musketeers" and "The Four Musketeers" of several years earlier, this also brought along some of the same cast - Reed, Welch, and Heston - in an attempt to duplicate the success of those earlier adventures. It doesn't quite reach that level but is a fairly faithful adaptation of the Mark Twain story, with solid entertainment value. This was a final gasp in the child star career of Mark Lester, who gained fame as the title character of "Oliver!" from 9 years earlier. A tall gangly young man by this point, he seems out of place here, as if they waited a couple of years too long to film this. He plays the pivotal dual roles of a poor pauper kid who switches places with his double, Prince Edward of England. Reed is the wandering soldier of fortune who takes pity on and befriends the prince, now mistaken for a peasant who seems mad. Reed basically repeats his 'Athos' role from the Musketeers movies, but that's not really a bad thing - it is Oliver Reed, after all.
The movie also piles on as many big stars as possible, a habit of the producers, though many of these stars had their best roles behind them. Heston is on hand as the blustery King Henry, dying about halfway through. Welch doesn't appear until the 2nd half, playing Reed's old girlfriend, now married to his evil brother (Hemmings). Borgnine hams it up as the mean brutal dad to the pauper, while Scott puts in an appearance as a ruler of thieves or beggars, whatever. Harrison is a royal duke, reminding one of his role as Caesar long ago in "Cleopatra"(63). This benefits from the long experience of most of the actors, who lend a humorous, carefree style to most of the scenes. There's even some poignancy in the later scenes between Lester & Reed, who begins to wonder if this may truly be the new king of England he's trying to protect, and it helps to have a nice score, as usual, from Jarre. Twain knew how to write a good story, complete with suspense as we wait for the finale, and this shows through at the end.
- Perfect Sunday afternoon family entertainment 5/11/2005 12:00:00 AM by James_Byrne
The major stumbling block in this all-star version of Mark Twain's classic children's story is Mark Lester, he just does not convince as a begging urchin, he lacks the street-wise cunning of a young man who has been dragged up, beaten up and abused by his monster of a father. There is no disguising his cultured and well-spoken dialect when attempting the pauper's lower class diction, and the Harpo Marx hairstyle doesn't help his cause. Charlton Heston, the only American actor ever to play King Henry VIII, gives a towering performance as the gout-ridden Tudor monarch and completely dominates every scene he is in. Oliver Reed is great as Miles Hendon, and proves to be a rollicking good swashbuckler in his clash with fellow British 60's hell-raiser David Hemmings.(It's sad when viewing GLADIATOR and seeing what twenty years of hell-raising did to these two talented actors). Coincidentally, Errol Flynn, the daddy of all hell-raisers, made a better version of THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER in the 30's, and also a terrible turkey called CROSSED SWORDS, which was the American title used for this film in 1978. What this version has over all the others is the marvellous supporting cast, not just Rex Harrison, George C. Scott and Ernest Borgnine (who is frightening as the pauper's father) but the excellent British character actors who keep cropping up in the minor roles. Michael Ripper, veteran of countless Hammer horrors, does a fine turn as the servant of Raquel Welch; Ripper also appeared in the very good Walt Disney 1962 version of this tale, as a broom merchant. THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER is excellent family entertainment, the sets and costumes are superb, and this movie may inspire younger viewers to pick up and read the wonderful Mark Twain classic story.
- Lavish retelling of the young Prince Edward VI , Henry VIII 's son , taking places with his look-alike , a slum beggar 9/3/2011 12:00:00 AM by ma-cortes
Nice adaptation from Mark Twain's classic also titled ¨Crossed Swords¨ with a top-of-the range cast . It's a Richard Fleischer's gorgeous film plenty of action , costumed adventure , humor , swashbuckling and lots of entertainment . The movie is very amusing and funny , capturing the flavor of the old times . On the same day two boys cross their fates : the pauper Tom and prince Edward (Mark Lester in double tole) . As a street beggar, Tom flees from pursuers and sneaks into the palace garden and meets the King Henry VIII (Charlton Heston) . Later on , the pickpocket Tom meets prince Edward VI , they change clothes with each other but the guards discover them and throw out the prince, since they are almost identical. Nobody believe them when they try to tell the truth and the young prince has trouble reclaiming his crown. Soon after, the old king dies and the prince will inherit the throne. The young prince turned beggar is aided by a swashbuckling soldier-of-fortune ( Oliver Reed who steals the spectacle as intrepid adventurer ) .
The flick deals about the Prince Edward VI ,son of Henry VIII of England, who's replaced by a beggar and vice versa . The film mingles comedy, adventures, humor, tongue-in-check and history. The starring boy is excellent and Oliver Reed as the preceptor is sublime. Also are splendidly, the supporting roles : Rex Harrison , Harry Andrews , Charlton Heston , Ernest Borgnine , David Hemmings , George C Scott , all are magnificent , including Raquel Welch. In the movie appears several historical characters, such as Henry VIII, Edward VI , Duke of Norfolk , and Lady Jane, princess Elizabeth , both of whom will be queens.
Colorful and evocative cinematography by Jack Cardiff . Imaginative score by Maurice Jarre who includes sensible chores . Direction by Richard Fleischer is very good . This is still one of the best versions along with the starred by Errol Flynn. This entertaining movie should satisfy young and old . Other adaptations about this vintage story dealing with mistaken identity between a prince and a child from the London slums are the following : The classic rendition ( 1937) by William Keighley with Errol Flynn , Claude Rains ; Disney version by Don Chaffey with Guy Williams , TV take on ( 2000) by Gilles Foster with Aidan Quinn ; furthermore , several versions on cartoons .
- great classic!! 12/25/2005 12:00:00 AM by edoornbos
This is a great classic! With so many brilliant actors in one movie they couldn't go wrong! Charlton Heston as always, is excellent and oliver Reed plays the lead part as no one! A lot of action, some comedy and a great story makes this movie very much worth watching! Don't watch another remake, this one is without a doubt the very best!! A lot of actors from this movie, teamed up several times, and that was for a reason. Oliver Reed and Charlton Heston also stared in The Three musketeers, The Four musketeers, Treasure Island and although they never had so many scenes together, the movies always were GREAT!! Of course Oliver Reed also teamed up with Michael York in a few movies, like the Musketeers movies and in The Lady and the Highwayman.