review for Prince Valiant on AllMovie

Prince Valiant (1954)
by Hans J. Wollstein review

Restored to its original Cinemascope format, Henry Hathaway's comic strip adventure remains a slam-bang piece of screen entertainment that succeeds despite lackluster performances from a very young and ridiculous-looking Robert Wagner and the more seasoned but still appallingly awful Sterling Hayden. The saving grace here is the magnificent and quite authentic-looking locations and top-notch staging of the noisy battle scenes. There are marauding Vikings, colorful clashes between the legendary Knights of the Round Table, and a fine villain in the supercilious person of James Mason. The latter earns star billing despite suffering a lull in his long career, a lull that was fully alleviated by his next film, the glorious A Star Is Born (1954). Director Hathaway, meanwhile, does what he can with the slightly anachronistic material and manages to draw good performances from a supporting cast that includes an impossibly blond Janet Leigh, as Valiant's bosomy intended, and Victor McLaglen, as a typically bombastic Norseman.