Basil Rathbone stars in the next film featured in DK Canada’s immensely enjoyable Monsters in the Movies book. As I delve into the chapter on Dragons & Dinosaurs I’m, so far coming across a number of films I had never even heard of. This family fantasy adventure is another one.
Rathbone plays the evil wizard Lodac, who finds himself in opposition to the heroic George (Gary Lockwood!), the son of a sorceress, Sybil (Estelle Winwood). It seems Lodac has kidnapped Princess Helene (Anne Helm) and her father, the king (Merritt Stone) is seeking help from his loyal knights.
When they prove in effective, George, who has been in love with Helen from afar takes on the task. But there are many perils, and even with his magic sword, George may have some problems, especially when confronting Lodac’s dragon!
It’s definitely fun to see Lockwood in this kind of role, seeing as I only knew him from Star Trek, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s also rather comical that everyone seems to talk with American accents despite the fact that they are supposed to be in England.
It’s goofy, silly, and filled with lots of special effects that were sure to entertain the kiddies at the time, but even then must have looked a little dated.
Rathbone is in a whole other film however, bringing his delivery and gravitas to the role of the wizard, delivering his threats with a presence that lacks in any other performer who shares the screen with him.
Magic abounds, as does the tradition of sparkling clean costumes and armour, suggesting they’ve never been used and worn, and even Lockwood’s charm can’t bring any real magic to this film.
It tires to be a special effects extravaganza, but in the end, simply makes for amusing watching. And that may be exactly what some viewers want. There are ogres, ghosts, all manner of magic, menacing creatures and beings, and at the end of it all, a dragon waiting to devour Helene, and confront George.
The film is just bizarre, as it seems to want to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the story, but with only an hour and twenty minutes runtime, you hit visual overload pretty quick.
The dragon, fire-breathing of course, is fairly well designed, though doesn’t move as naturally as some in the near future would, and instead seems anchored in one spot, allowing George to best it, simply by moving around, all while Lodac and Sybil watch.
It should come as no surprise that good triumphs over evil, George gets the girl, and saves the day, and everyone gets their comeuppance good and bad.
Delightfully amusing, if poorly constructed, The Magic Sword is a fun entry in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies. Pick up a copy for yourself today, and find something unique to watch tonight!