38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
This is an entertaining costume drama by Disney. Based upon actual historical events, though not quite historically accurate, it tells the love story of the Princess Mary, sister to Henry VIII, and Charles Brandon, a commoner and Captain of the Guard. It is a love made difficult by considerations of state, as well as by the evil machinations of the jealous Duke of Buckingham, who himself is in love with the Princess Mary. Forced to marry the decidedly elderly King of France, despite the fact that she loves Charles Brandon, Mary extracts a promise from Henry to allow her to marry the man of her choice, the second time around. Henry so promises, little knowing what would lie ahead.
Glynis Johns is perfectly charming as the outspoken and determined Princess Mary. Richard Todd is dashing as the handsome Charles Brandon with whom Mary falls in love. James Robertson Justice is a delightful Henry VIII, while Michael Gough is an unctiously evil Duke of Buckingham. This is a delightfully told story of true love that eventually triumphs. In typical Disney fashion, there are no objectionable scenes or language. A first rate production, it is a movie that is suitable for the entire family and highly entertaining.
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2000
One of the three Disney historicals with Richard Todd from late 40's/early 50's. Why can't movies be made like this nowadays? Lush cinematography, inspiring musical score, crisp and sharp acting without trying to be overly complicated or overly sophisticated. The story line is paramount here; not the special effects, the partial(full) nude copulating scenes, the need for nonstop action scenes (at expense of story line) or the totally moronic (not to mention out of place) rock music sound tracks, and other eye candy (i.e. garbage), seen/heard in movies made these days!
This movie is not for the mass viewing public but for those with some intelligence and culture. This is what cinema was always meant to be. A viewing-treasure for all time!
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 1999
This is one of the most romantic movies I ever saw as a kid; before Disney movies became sappy or stupid or both. Mr. Todd is so handsome and the flirtation between, eventual love relationship with Glynis Johns is absolutely WONDERFUL. Sexy without naked bodies in contorted positions; devoid of 4-letter words and cute cartoon characters. Three cheers; please, please bring this movie back.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2011
After World War II to help get Britain on her feet, Hollywood studios were not allowed to remove profits from that country. They were "encouraged" to spend such earnings making films in the British Empire using the local talent. Rather then set up animation studios over there, Walt Disney opted to spend the cash on live action films. The first of these was "Treasure Island"(1950) which was not only profitable, but well received by the critics. His next three British productions were a swashbuckler trilogy of varying degree of popularity beginning with "The Story Of Robin Hood" (1952), "The Sword And The Rose" (1953) and "Rob Roy The Highland Rogue"(1954). All three starred British actor Richard Todd, and while "Robin Hood" was popular the other two failed to find an audience. Too bad, for "The Sword And The Rose" in particular was a magnificent film, sumptuously mounted, brilliantly acted and beautifully photographed by the legendary Geoffrey Unsworth. Had it been filmed a few years later it would have undoubtedly been done so in the widescreen process, but as is Unsworth fills every frame beautifully including some of the most realistic matte work I've ever seen.
The Sword And The Rose tells the mostly fictional story of King Henry VIII's younger sister Mary and her love affair with commoner Charles Brandon. (Yes, there was a Charles Brandon and he DID marry Mary Tudor.) While seeking passage to the new world Brandon is waylaid at the Kings court and ultimately finds himself unwittingly made Captain of the Guard through the machinations of Mary, who is smitten with the handsome Charles. What follows are a series of adventures and derring do which almost cost Charles his life, however there is much fun along the way including a charming ballroom sequence.
The Sword And The Rose was broadcast on Disney's 1950's Disneyland T.V. series a few years later under its original literary title "When Knighthood Was In Flower" and was a huge success, particularly with young girls who were entranced with Glynis Johns' feisty, liberated portrayal of the Princess Mary. (Yes, liberated not only for those times, but also for the staid '50s). While the rest of the British cast is uniformly excellent (especially James Robertson Justice's marvelous portrayal of Henry) it is Ms. Johns who has the most screen time and makes this little known gem a wonderful historical romance. I'm glad Disney FINALLY released this title on DVD domestically even if it is only a club "exclusive". You can still buy it on Amazon (as of this date) and while the richly textured colors may be a little less so on the big screen it still looks very good, about as good as can be expected for a title unlikely to receive a major restoration. However, stay away from the Asian ALL REGION import as it is inferior.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2012
I'm grateful to the first reviewer for making me aware of this lovely film. I'd known about (and I own the DVDs of) the other two Richard Todd / Disney swashbucklers, "The Story of Robin Hood", and "Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue" -- and enjoy both very much. I've liked Richard Todd ever since seeing "A Man Called Peter", and being an longtime aficionado of swashbucklers, I was pleased to discover that he'd made a couple -- or, as it turns out, three!
"The Sword and the Rose" is immensely enjoyable, assuming you have an affinity for classic swashbucklers from the 1930s through 1950s. It's quiet by today's standards, and there's little actual swash (a wrestling scene at the opening and a brief rapier duel at the climax), but a compelling story with first-rate acting, humor, beautiful dialogue -- really, the words alone make the film -- and simply gorgeous costumes and cinematography (the latter by the acclaimed Geoffrey Unsworth). Just as with Errol Flynn's "Crossed Swords", the clothing here is simply a joy to behold. Frame after frame can be paused and lingered over, just for the pleasure of devouring the color and detail of the costumes.
Which is not to say the story isn't good, because it's top drawer. Just don't expect historical accuracy, which is not the point of a swashbuckler and, more often than not, would defeat it. This is the storybook Tudor era -- everybody's clean and has fine, white, straight teeth! I, for one, am glad for it!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2011
This is one of the classic Disney historical movies made. It has an outstanding British cast. The acting is first rate and the story enjoyable.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
It's Jolly Olde England, Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon are on the throne, and royal marriages are made to strengthen political ties. Henry wants to cement an alliance with France by marrying his sister Mary to the aged King Louis XII, even though the spunky, flirtatious Mary has set her cap on Charles Brandon, a commoner. Henry prevails, of course, after promising that should Louis die, Mary can then wed anyone of her choosing. As luck would have it, Louis dies a mere two months later, she marries Brandon, and they live happily ever after.
While ignoring any distasteful details about Henry VII, this 1953 Disney drama tells a simple and basically true story and showcases the talented and über-perky Glynis Johns who plays the headstrong princess. She does a fine job, but Richard Todd is a stiff and bland Brandon. The movie clearly has a low budget and the sets look fake, but the costumes are pretty and the colors are vivid.
It's a simple, uncluttered tale that would make a pleasant introduction to the Tudors for children, adolescents and undemanding adults (like me). Pleasant, non-violent, and wholesomely romantic - everything that a good Disney movie should be.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2012
Glynnis Johns (the mother in Mary Poppins) and Richard Todd star in a costume drama about Henry VIII's younger sister, Mary Tudor. Fun movie, very well done and HARD TO FIND!
on March 25, 2014
This fanciful retelling of history is very family friendly, though I doubt younger people would have any interest in this chaste romance. Glynis Johns plays Mary Tudor, a bit of a tease who enjoys leading men on, particularly the deadly Duke of Buckingham (Michael Gough, no stranger to playing a stinker). Into the court, during a heated wrestling match, comes Charles Brandon (Richard Todd). Mary delights in having a new conquest and invites the commoner to a fancy ball. Sadly, Mary is spoken for as a peace offering to Louis XII of France. She marries the old geezer and systematically sets about rushing him to an early grave. It was at this point that I began to suspect this tale was the Classics Illustrated version with no bearing on historical accuracy. The fact is Charles Brandon was not a stranger to the court but a childhood friend of King Henry. He was already a Viscount thanks to Henry. And he was the guy who escorted Mary back to England after Louis died; the Duke of Buckingham was not involved in any of this. Also, King Henry was not fat and old at this point in history; he was only 23. Not that anyone could ever accuse Walt Disney of playing fast and loose with books he sought to adapt for the screen.
This film does have some rudimentary excitement, in particular a dandy sword fight on land and in sea! But it is more humorous than romantic. Not a bad effort. Glynis Johns is fun and Michael Gough is appropriately slimy. James Robertson Justice clearly enjoyed playing King Henry VIII. This film is something I'd definitely watch again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2012
When I first watched this on television it was called "When Knighthood was in Flower". It was a young girl's dream of romance and adventure. It will be fun watching it again.