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4.5 2
Director: Richard Thorpe, Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine

Cast: Richard Thorpe, Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine


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Richard Thorpe's Ivanhoe (1952) is the most beloved of Hollywood's '50s medieval swashbucklers, easily outstripping Knights of the Round Table (also made by MGM) and Universal's The Black Shield of Falworth, among other tales of knights in armor. With a cast that embodied the phrase "all star," including Robert Taylor (convincingly grim but never


Richard Thorpe's Ivanhoe (1952) is the most beloved of Hollywood's '50s medieval swashbucklers, easily outstripping Knights of the Round Table (also made by MGM) and Universal's The Black Shield of Falworth, among other tales of knights in armor. With a cast that embodied the phrase "all star," including Robert Taylor (convincingly grim but never dull), Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Finlay Currie, and Emlyn Williams, superb supporting players including Robert Douglas, Felix Aylmer, Norman Wooland, and Guy Rolfe, and the biggest budget for any costume epic (apart from Gone With the Wind) in a quarter century, the movie represented perhaps the peak of the postwar Hollywood studio system's ability to generate spectacle; it's helped by a great story and a better script, into which this cast fit perfectly. The DVD doesn't give the movie as grand a treatment as one would have hoped or expected -- this film begs for a commentary track, and there is none. At the least, Ivanhoe invites a documentary about its making, and that's also absent. What there is, however, is one of the most beautiful Technicolor transfers seen on DVD up to this date. The laserdisc of Ivanhoe, released in the late '80s, looked very good, but this DVD runs circles around it for detail -- the skin textures are visible even in the medium shots, and the first time we see George Sanders in close-up in chain-mail, every tiny link can be seen in high-relief. In contrast to pre-World War II Technicolor, the images look realistic, which is as it should be in this movie, which has more of a veneer of realism in its script than almost any other movie of its kind; a couple of shots of Elizabeth Taylor fall slightly short, but those few seconds don't mar the overall experience of watching this disc. The audio levels, including Miklos Rozsa's score, have been set at a healthy level, and the 107-minute feature has been given a generous 27 chapters. There are original trailers for this and two other movies, Scaramouche and Knights of the Round Table -- the Ivanhoe trailer looks as good as the old laserdisc and better than old TV prints of this picture did; the Knights of the Round Table trailer is, like the movie itself, in CinemaScope and is rather peculiar in that it has no scenes from the movie for its first minute but rather an extended crawl over medieval emblems. As an added bonus feature, the producers have included the 1952 Oscar-winning Tom & Jerry cartoon "The Two Mouseketeers" (which is in even better shape than the main feature). English and French dialogue tracks are also available, as are subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. The disc opens to an easy-to-use multi-layer menu, offering simple access to all of these features.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Made toward the end of MGM’s golden age, Ivanhoe (1952) still impresses as an extravagantly mounted, lushly photographed, action-crammed film that’s both a feast for the eyes and a treat for lovers of romantic adventure stories. Broadly adapted from Sir Walter Scott’s classic novel of medieval England, Richard Thorpe’s production follows the exploits of the title character, portrayed by Robert Taylor. A courageous Saxon nobleman, Ivanhoe seeks to liberate King Richard the Lionhearted from an Austrian prison and see him restored to the throne. Woven into the story is Ivanhoe’s interaction with two women: his father’s ward, Rowena (Joan Fontaine), whom he loves, and the beauteous Rebecca (Elizabeth Taylor), daughter of the Hebrew merchant who raises ransom money on the king’s behalf. Sir Brian (George Sanders), a rogue knight who attempts to thwart Ivanhoe at every turn, supplies the tale with rich villainy. Impeccably produced, this rousing Technicolor tale of derring-do was a huge box-office success and a staple of late-night TV for many years. Even judged by the standards we apply to today’s massive screen epics, Ivanhoe is a pretty impressive movie. Everything about it is first-rate -- especially the cast. Taylor and Sanders are particularly fine, and a young Elizabeth Taylor is positively radiant. But the film’s technical aspects deserve praise too, with Freddie Young’s cinematography and Miklos Rozsa’s musical score being particularly memorable. In fact, any viewer would be hard pressed to find fault with Ivanhoe, which still makes terrific entertainment for family audiences.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Oscar-winning Tom and Jerry cartoon Two Mouseketeers; Swashbuckler movie trailer gallery ; Languages: English and Français; Subtitles: English, Français, and Español

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Taylor Ivanhoe
Elizabeth Taylor Rebecca
Joan Fontaine Lady Rowena
George Sanders Sir Brian Bois-de-Guilbert
Emlyn Williams Wamba (Ivanhoe's squire)
Robert Douglas Sir Hugh de Bracy
Finlay Currie Cedric
Felix Aylmer Isaac
Francis de Wolff Font De Boeuf
Norman Wooland Richard I the Lionheart
Harold Warrender Locksley
Patrick Holt Philip de Malvaisin
Roderick Lovell Ralph de Vipont
Sebastian Cabot Clerk of Copmanhurst
John Ruddock Hundebert
Michael Brennan Baldwin
Megs Jenkins Servant to Isaac
Valentine Dyall Norman Guard
Lionel Harris Roger of Bermondsley
Carl Jaffe Austrian Monk
Guy Rolfe Prince John
Basil Sydney Waldemar Fitzurse

Technical Credits
Richard Thorpe Director
Pandro S. Berman Producer
Frank Clarke Editor
Roger Furse Costumes/Costume Designer
Tom Howard Special Effects
Alfred Junge Art Director
Noel Langley Screenwriter
Aeneas MacKenzie Screenwriter
Miklós Rózsa Score Composer
Freddie Young Cinematographer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Credits [1:21]
2. A Kingdom at Stake [3:48]
3. Certain Norman Knights [2:55]
4. Rowena [4:48]
5. Paying Homage [6:25]
6. Father and Son at Odds [3:17]
7. A Pact [6:03]
8. Rebecca's Gift [4:49]
9. Black Knights [4:23]
10. Recognized Methods [3:56]
11. Fallen Knight [3:19]
12. Healing Ivanhoe [4:18]
13. Heartbroken [7:23]
14. Captured [2:36]
15. Ivanhoe Arrives [4:55]
16. Many Ways of Dying [3:14]
17. Help From Locksley [4:36]
18. Flames and Arrows [4:14]
19. Wamba's Sacrifice [2:50]
20. Seizing the Women [3:04]
21. Prisoner and Pawn [3:43]
22. Witch Trial [4:08]
23. Rebecca's Champion [5:32]
24. Ivanhod vs. De Bosi-Guilbert [6:06]
25. Richard Comes Home [1:54]
26. One Love, One England [2:00]
27. Cast List [:45]


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Ivanhoe 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
yellowroses More than 1 year ago
This DVD was made from the book ivanhoe, I loved the DVD after having read the book. I will enjoy watching it over again. It is good for family viewing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago