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Magic Sword
Magic Sword
Actor: Basil Rathbone
Genres: Drama
UR     2008


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Movie Details

Actor: Basil Rathbone
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: TGGD
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 03/11/2008
Release Year: 2008
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated

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Movie Reviews

Hey, there's a chimp in here!
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 11/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Two and a half stars.

Sometimes, one's fondness for a pet can be taken to extremes. Case in point, the wicked sorcerer Lodac who, to feed his dragon, makes a habit of kidnapping princesses. If they aren't ransomed within seven days' time, it's chow time for the dragon. THE MAGIC SWORD checks off on many of the traditional fairy tale tropes. When fair Princess Helene is taken by Lodac, the king vows that whosoever rescues her shall have her hand in marriage and half the kingdom, as well.

Of a royal lineage but raised by a witch, a doughty young man named George undertakes this challenge. But he doesn't do it bare-handed. Taking with him his mother's gifts intended for his 21st birthday, he begins his quest armed with an unpierceable mail armor, an enchanted sword which can open and shut any door, and a fabulously swift stallion. But, even with these remarkable gifts, and accompanied by seven knights (one of whom is a traitorous blight), George must brave the seven deadly curses to reach the evil sorcerer's castle.

If I'd seen this flick when I was a kid, maybe, just maybe, nostalgia might've caused me to think better of it. But I saw this about half an hour ago, and, truth is, I'm not so impressed. Coming out in 1962, THE MAGIC SWORD nowadays might do as Saturday morning fare for the pre-teens, although, with the current advanced state of special effects, even they might pooh-pooh this one. I'm thinking, only kids who still enjoy claymation and other ungainly type of f/x might get a kick out of the cheesy fantasy brought to life in this picture. There are ogres here, and vile hags and fiery dragons, and they all don't look that convincing. Its campy qualites caused THE MAGIC SWORD to be featured in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The by-the-numbers story can be overlooked, I guess, but what really hampers the flick are the actors' colorless performances. Gary Lockwood as the hero and Anne Helm as the fair princess are fairly innocuous and so very un-medieval-like. Meanwhile, Basil Rathbone - looking tired, decades into his acting career - and Estelle Winwood both ham it up as, respectively, the sorcerous heavy and the hero's witchy surrogate mother Sybil. Sybil, sneered by Rathbone as a "tenth rate" witch, is a hit or miss character (most of the other characters are plainly "misses"). Her personality draws echoes of those hapless relatives of Samantha's in BEWITCHED.

There's an absence of vibrancy onscreen, which renders THE MAGIC SWORD a lesser fantasy film. If you watch classic films like The Thief of Bagdad - Criterion Collection, Jason and the Argonauts or The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (50th Anniversary Edition) (1958), you can't help but be swept away by their energy and enthusiasm and scope, not to mention the just plain good craftsmanship. In trying to come up with something positive to say about this film, I do think it's interesting that the six resurrected knights hail from different nations. Sadly, they all perish like bad film actors.

One thing happens early on in the film, which probably straight away set me in critique mode. I wasn't at all down with how cooly George tricks his mother and locks her away (although, yes, she was a witch, so she wasn't exactly helpless; but, still, that was brutal!). And, lastly, what the hell was up with the chimp?"
Not bad, but not the best of the genre of that time
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 11/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The Magic Sword is pretty much a standard medieval fantasy story that has all the ingredients necessary for such a movie. A young hero with humble beginnings, a princess searching for love, an evil sorcerer (with a dragon that has a sweet tooth for princesses), monsters, knights, kings and all that lot. The story is as solid as any fairy tale, but the execution is a bit on the lacking side. In other words recite the movie to your kids at bedtime and it all seems great, but this production doesn't live up to what your child's imagination would have made of it.

For one the action and adventure of the movie are tapered down to accomodate the stage sets and whatnot. There really is no true action in this film. No Errol Flynn style swordplay. No Ray Harryhausen style monsters. Just lots of quick camera shots that don't really show much action. It would have been nice that since they are following the standard Hollywood formula for a medieval fantasy film to at least throw in the things that make such films fun to watch.

Another detail that bugs me were the six valiant knights that were reanimated to help out our hero. They talk the talk and are gallant and all that, but to be honest they didn't do much at all to help our hero. No heroic fighting. They just died incrementally like so many red shirted extras in a classic Star Trek episode. And don't even get me started about the surprise at the end that doesn't even try to explain itself.

The acting is the solid kind you find from theater performers acting in a movie such as this. Nothing over the top and nothing too understated. The music is also a solid performer even if there isn't a memorable melody to be found (great as incidental music, though). The special effects aren't all that special, but it's not the worst. It's what you would normally see in the early 60's for a movie with a modest (though not miniscule) effect budget. Things like the dragon look good, but don't move around as well as they should.

This DVD is only one to look at out of the many that were made for this movie. For one it's the cleanest transfer, and for some of those previous releases the difference is significant. Also this DVD is in Dolby stereo and has subtitles in Spanish, French and English.

I'm not going to say The Magic Sword is a bad movie because it has several endearing moments thanks to the actors and some of the scenes they play. I'm also not going to say The Magic Sword is the best that 1962 has to offer for this genre. Considering how many of these types of films were made back then I would say this is a solid production."
Sword and Sorcery Classic?
R. Bagula | Lakeside, Ca United States | 12/13/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"If ever a movie about swords and sorcery can be slow and boring,
then this one qualifies.
With all sorts of dwarfs, dragons, goblins and monsters this one manages to drag on. The acting is minimal and the script is just bad.
They made a color movie that should have been an instant hit
as it is fantasy and fairy tale like,
but they just did a bad job.
The Princess is fat and the evil wizard is just not evil enough?
The hero is less than inspiring after imprisoning his mother in a crack in the Earth. I sorry about this: I had great hopes for this movie when I got it."
Bert I Gordon's biggest budget movie
D. Steigman | USA | 01/18/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is a decent - probably Bert I Gordons' best picture with a good solid cast, above average effects. It is a sword sorcery and sandal movie. A young Gary Lockwood is off to save the princess Helene from Lodac who is none other than Basil Rathbone. Not Basil's best,but it is still entertaining. Call it a mild fantasy, but entertaining and fun. With Ogres, Dragons, and other assorted wonders.. This movie was good or bad enough to be on MST3K with Crow falling for Estelle Winwood and sings a song about her. One of the better MST experiments & the movie really isnt all that bad for Bert I Gordon.
The MGM DVD is the one to get over Alpha since the transfer is incredible and widescreen to boot"