The Sword and the Rose (1952)

Genres - Drama, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Swashbuckler  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Mike Cummings

Romance, chivalry, pageantry, skulduggery are all here in this lavish 1953 Walt Disney production about England's Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII. Filmed through the rose-colored lens of the Disney camera, the Sword and the Rose turns Princess Mary's life into a great adventure that's a jolly good show for the whole family, even if it occasionally ignores the facts of history. Glynnis Johns portrays Mary, a woman of charm and beauty who captures the heart of Charles Brandon, First Duke of Suffolk, played with gallantry and panache by Richard Todd. Johns and Todd have the right chemistry to concoct the kind of sweetly innocent love affair that enthralled audiences of an earlier film era. But they cannot run off and simply live happily ever after, for the redoubtable Henry (James Robertson Justice) forces Mary to wed the King of France. Lurking in the background is the villainous Duke of Buckingham (Michael Gough), who also has eyes for Mary. Luck, derring-do, and the death of the King of France combine to move the film toward its inevitable happy ending. With his stentorian voice and imperious manner, portly Justice makes a quite believable Henry, and Gough is despicably wonderful as the sinister Buckingham. The Sword and the Rose will not be remembered as an artistic film triumph, but as a purely escapist film that provides welcome relief from the rigors of reality.