Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Produced by MGM's British facilities, the Technicolor Ivanhoe starred Robert Taylor in the title role. Returning to England from the Third Crusades, Ivanhoe is given a cool but cordial reception by his estranged father Cedric (Finlay Currie), a Saxon who despises the Norman king Richard the Lionhearted. Cedric introduces Ivanhoe's fellow knights De Bois-Guilbert (George Sanders) and Sir Hugh de Bracy (Robert Douglas) to Cedric's lovely ward Rowena (Joan Fontaine), who was in love with Ivanhoe until he cast his lot with Richard. Leaving his father's castle, Ivanhoe rescues Isaac (Felix Aylmer), a wealthy Jew, from a band of anti-Semitic Normans. In gratitude, Isaac's beautiful daughter Rebecca (Elizabeth Taylor) finances Ivanhoe's entry into an upcoming tournament; he'd been denied backing by his father because he'd planned to use the prize money to ransom the captured King Richard. At the tournament, the disguised Ivanhoe vanquishes all comers, dedicating his victory to Rebecca, which causes a gust of bigoted gossip from the crowd. Behind the scenes, Richard's wicked brother Prince John (Guy Rolfe) plots to discredit Ivanhoe so that the ransom can never be paid. Joining John in this conspiracy is De Bois-Guilbert, who covets Rebecca, and Sir Hugh, who wants to make Rowena his own. After several thrilling adventures and villainous double-crosses, Rebecca is kidnapped and tried as a witch, the better to bring Ivanhoe out in the open and dispose of him once and for all. But the deux-ex-machina appearance by King Richard (Norman Wooland) and the assistance of loyal "outlaw" Robin Hood (Harold Warrender) brings the bad guys to heel and clears the path for a happy ending. Lensed on an epic scale, this adaptation of the Sir Walter Scott classic remains one of MGM's most solid swashbucklers. The property was remade for television in 1982, with Anthony Andrews in the title role.
double-cross, father, kidnapping, king, knight, ransom, son, anti-Semitism, rescue, tournament