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Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Crusades (1935)

To avoid marriage to a French princess (Katherine DeMille), King Richard (Henry Wilcoxon) goes to the Middle East as part of the Third Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from Islamic rule. On his way, he just happens to marry another French princess (Loretta Young) and takes her with him to the Holy Lands. Though not officially a "Biblical" epic, Cecil B. DeMille's highly romanticized view of the 12th century Crusades is his most sanctimonious of his religious films. You couldn't do worse if you attended an all day revival meeting! The scene where the Crusaders line up to see the cross on which Jesus was crucified has to be seen to be believed. It's cringe inducing! It's pious sincerity is nowhere near as fun as his gaudy Biblical efforts which at least have entertainment value. That being said, the siege of Acre is very well done, there's a nice performance by Ian Keith as Saladin and the dewy faced Young had not yet transformed herself into screen nobility. With Joseph Schildkraut, Alan Hale, Montagu Love and C. Aubrey Smith who has the worst speeches as a Holy Man.

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