A man walks into a bar. Let’s listen in…
BAR: Oh, hey man! Haven’t seen you in like..what? Eight years?
MAN: Almost nine.
BAR: Yeah, yeah. Long time. Long time. I hear you got married, or something?
MAN: Yep. Happily married. Got a good little business going too.
BAR: Kids? Nice home?
MAN: The works!
BAR: Sounds like things have really worked out well for you, huh?
MAN: How about you?
BAR: Oh, you know..the usual. I almost hooked up with this little place down the street but…
BAR: Yeah… Say! You want to come in for a drink?
MAN: No thanks. I don’t drink anymore. I–
BAR: You son of a bitch.
MAN: What? I–
BAR: You just come right out and say to my face you don’t drink. I’m a bar you a**hole. Where do you come off–
MAN: Look, I’m sorry I didn’t mean–
BAR: –where do you come off rubbing that in my—
MAN: Hey..hey… I think I should get going.
BAR: I think you should too. Before I smash you in the teeth!
MAN: Look, I don’t think—
BAR: BEFORE I SMASH YOU IN THE TEETH!
The Moral:: Next time, keep it light. Say what a nice day it is, and move along.
You know what’s a surprisingly decent adapation of a comic strip? The 1954 Fox Cinemascope version of Prince Valiant starring Robert Wagner as Valiant and James Mason as the Black Knight. My hat’s off to the folks who put this together. The sets and costumes are right out of the comic strip. The cinematography looks like it was lifted straight from the comic’s panels–much like the more recent film 300. The castle siege scenes were well done. As for the Vikings–while not historically accurate–were true to the artistic style of the comic strip. The music works very well. And even the sword fight at the end was better than one would expect from something filmed in 1954.
Mind you, it wasn’t perfect. The accents were all over the place. They didn’t even try. And Robert Wagner’s hair is so goofy looking that it really distracts you from the story at times. It’s so hard to take seriously. I mention that I liked the sword fight at the end, but I’m sorry–I’ve held a broadsword and there’s no way Wagner and Mason could have performed that full sequence unless those swords were made of a much lighter material. I kept looking for the swords to bend or break but they either used something very sturdy and light, or they had hundreds of replacement swords on hand and did a massive amount of shot editing. Many of those sword strikes should have resulted in broken arms–battered shields or not. At the same time, it came across as very genuine. Kudos.
If you grew up reading Hal Foster’s serialized strips on the comics page, you’re going to recognize this movie as a well-executed adaptation. Cinemascope was still new when this was made, so you have to hand it to Fox for getting so much out of it so early on–and making a visually beautiful film that tried hard to stay true to the source material.
In keeping with the spirit of adventure as in the above review (and not the ill-conceived man-has-conversation-with-a-talking-bar theme), today’s link brings you to The Holloway Pages: Pulp Heroes. These pages contain neat bios and back-stories to some of the great pulp heroes: Doc Savage, Flash Gordon, John Carter of Mars, The Shadow, Tailspin Tommy, G-8, Ka-Zar, and of course, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
There’s some fun to be had here. Some sections contain original story appearances and strips.