The Black Shield of Falworth was one of the movies recommended to me by the fine folks over at Belle & Blade Video. Based off the novel Men of Iron by Howard Pyle (Yep! That Howard Pyle; the one who did all those great pirate illustrations), it stars Tony Curtis as Myles and Barbara Rush as Meg (Myles sister), English peasants living in obscurity in the countryside. It starts off with a hunting party of local English nobles — Earl of Alban and Sir Robert at the head — stopping off for a drink and to rest their horses. Sir Robert sees Meg and gets a thirst beyond water or wine, but he is fought off by the impulsive and hot-tempered Myles. Meg escapes through a backdoor, and the Earl of Alban and his men chase Myles through the forest. Myles, fortunately, escapes and meets up with his sister and their guardian at a nearby monastery.
From there, Myles and Meg are sent off to Mackworth Castle. The lord there, the Earl of Mackworth, is an old friend of Myles and Meg’s father. (I should also note that Myles and Meg have no clue who their father was). A letter of introduction gets them added to the household. Meg is sent to befriend the earl’s daughter, Lady Anne, and Myles is sent to study weaponry as a man-in-arms. Some of the other lads, of course, don’t take to Myles with him being a country peasant and all. Between that and his stubborn pride, several brawls and fights break out. All the while, Myles investigates into the mysterious past of his father’s life. He has no idea who his father was, but believes the answer lies within the castle walls. he also falls in love with the gorgeous Lady Anne, while his sister falls for Myles’s friend in the castle, Francis Gascoyne… because you need a love interest or two, right?
Eventually Myles is knighted and the truth comes out about his father’s past, and Myles uncovers a plot to overthrow the king. A fight to the death ensues… as is usually the case with these movies.
It’s a fun movie that follows all the tropes one would expect from an old fashion adventure movie. The noble’s clothing are bold and bright, the peasants all down and dirty. The sword fights are exciting, but — as was the trend in that day — closer resembling to modern day Olympic fencing than how one would actually use a long sword back then. So while the historian and swordsman in me cringes, the part of me that just loves a good ol’ fashion swashbuckler doesn’t give a fig.
It’s a fun adventure movie with enjoyable acting and action scenes one expects from celluloid films. Recommended to folks who enjoy the old swashbucklers and fun adventure movies.