The Scarlet Blade (1963) | Hammer’s English Civil War swashbuckler gets a jolly good polish
The Bold Avenger…Whose Blade Slashed a Kingdom in Half!
1963’s The Scarlet Blade is a historical swashbuckler set during the English Civil War by Hammer director John Gilling. On the Roundheads side, we have Oliver Reed‘s devilish Captain Sylvester kidnapping King Charles on the orders of Lionel Jeffries‘s nasty Colonel Judd. Over in the Cavaliers camp, Jack Hedley (of Who Pays the Ferryman? fame) plays Edward Beverley – aka The Scarlet Blade. Thrown into the mix is Clare (played by June Thorburn, who would tragically die in a plane crash four years later) – a Royalist sympathiser who just happens to be Judd’s daughter and is going steady with Sylvester.
Igniting the Flames of Rebellion in a Land of Blood and Betrayal!
All manner of adventure ensues as Clare helps Beverley (The Scarlet Blade is so much more masculine-sounding) rescue the King and bring Roundheads to heel. This is one of Hammer most memorable historical films, thanks to the BAFTA nominated colour photography of Jack Asher – the cameraman responsible for all of Hammer’s early horrors like Dracula and The Curse of Frankenstein. But my highlight is seeing the one-and-only Michael Ripper playing a gypsy called Pablo in some awful pantomine get-up. What a trooper that man was.
The Scarlet Blade makes for great matinee viewing and is now back on DVD (for the first time in the UK) following a 2012 restoration by StudioCanal Home Entertainment, part of their on-going trawl through the Hammer archives. This golden oldie is worth a revisit.
The Scarlet Blade also screens on Film4 in the UK
Posted on April 25, 2014, in British Film, Classic, Hammer-Amicus-Tigon, Might-See and tagged British Film, Classic, Film4, Hammer Films, Hammer-Amicus-Tigon, John Gilling, Lionel Jeffries, Michael Ripper, Might See, Oliver Reed, StudioCanal Home Entertainment, The Scarlet Blade. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.