The Warriors


1h 25m 1955
The Warriors

Brief Synopsis

The "Black Prince" of England remains in France to guard the lands taken by his predecessor-father.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Black Prince, The Dark Avenger
Genre
Adventure
Historical
Release Date
Sep 11, 1955
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Sep 1955
Production Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.; Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Elstree, England, Great Britain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1

Synopsis

In 1359, after decades of war, King Edward III of England has regained control of disputed territory in northern France. With the French king being held prisoner in London, the French nobles are asked to sign a truce laying down their arms and recognizing King Edward as the rightful ruler of Aquitaine. Although they are guaranteed ownership of their estates, some of the nobles, including Comte Robert De Ville, are angry about their defeat and express hostility toward the king. Edward III warns the nobles that any act of aggression will be treated as treason, then, after they leave, greets his son, Prince Edward. The prince, a fierce fighter, is surprised by his father's decision to return to London and make him Duke of Aquitaine. Promising to send reinforcements, Edward III departs with most of the English Army, leaving the prince with only a small contingent of men. Meanwhile, De Ville, intent on overthrowing the English, persuades his friends to ally with Du Gueselin, the powerful regent whom they want to have proclaimed Lord High Constable. While De Ville and his cohorts are secretly rebuilding their troops, Edward is approached by a group of French peasants, led by Gurd, who tell him that the nobles are overtaxing the peasants and forcing them to participate in illegal weapons training. After Edward issues a proclamation banning both practices, he is surprised by a visit from Lady Joan Holland, the widow of a large Aquitaine landholder. Joan, the elder sister of John, the young Earl of Kent, flirts with Edward, her childhood sweetheart, but insists on residing in her late husband's estate, even though Edward protests that he does not have sufficient men to protect her. At De Ville's castle, the nobles learn of Edward's proclamation, and Libeau and D'Estell, De Ville's main allies, bitterly complain about Edward's "wooing" of the peasants. Seeing an opportunity to rid himself of Edward, De Ville sends a group of assassins, disguised as peasants, to Edward's castle, where they ask for an audience. Edward and his men best the assassins when they attack, and the leader, Fran├žois Le Clerc, confesses that De Ville sent them. After learning that his plan has been foiled, De Ville decides to draw Edward out of his stronghold by kidnapping Joan, John, their younger brother Thomas and Genevieve, the children's nurse. When Edward hears about the kidnapping, he sets out with his men, and during the ensuing battle, is separated from his army. Edward and his devoted friend, Sir John, find themselves alone and behind enemy lines, and decide that the best way to find Joan is to infiltrate De Ville's castle. Pretending to be weary travelers, Edward and John stop at a nearby inn, where they make the acquaintance of a wily servant named Marie. With Marie's help, Edward steals the suit of black armor hanging over the inn's fireplace, then goes with John to De Ville's castle. Upon encountering De Ville, Edward, who has never before met the count face-to-face, states that he has vowed not to reveal his identity until the enemies of France have been defeated. De Ville challenges Edward, who calls himself the Black Knight, to defeat Libeau in a jousting competition, which Edward easily accomplishes. Admiring Edward's skill and forceful personality, De Ville hires him as a mercenary, and invites him and John, who is pretending to be Edward's squire, into the castle. When Edward is introduced by De Ville to Joan, she quickly deduces Edward's purpose and pretends not to know him. Edward and John attempt to rescue Joan and the others that night but when their plans go awry, Edward covers up by pretending to capture the fleeing Joan. Meanwhile, at the English stronghold, elderly knight Sir Bruce meets with the other knights and Gurd, who have been fruitlessly searching for Edward. Unable to risk engaging the French until reinforcements arrive, Bruce is forced to order his impatient men to wait. The next day, De Ville and his army ride out and meet with Du Gueselin, who has been declared Lord High Constable and amassed a large army. Knowing that Du Gueselin will recognize him, Edward attempts to avoid him, but the drunken Libeau, jealous that De Ville favors the mercenary, challenges Edward to a sword fight. While they are battling, Libeau accidentally raises Edward's lowered visor, and a shocked Du Gueselin recognizes him. Edward and John flee on horseback to De Ville's castle, where they convince the guards to release Joan and the others into their custody. As they ride toward the English castle, they are seen by some of the French Army and are chased. Edward rides in another direction to mislead their pursuers, and John safely delivers Joan to the English castle. There, John informs his friends of Edward's danger, but as they are about to leave, Edward arrives, and the English begin preparations to withstand a siege by De Ville and Du Gueselin. Joan and Edward steal a brief moment alone, and Edward promises her that they will spend the rest of their lives together. They are interrupted by the sound of alarms, and soon the French begin their assault on the castle. Still wearing his black armor, Edward leads his men in a ferocious defense. After a long battle, Edward is engaging in a sword fight with De Ville when Du Gueselin and the remaining Frenchmen are captured. After defeating his foe, who falls from the battlements to his death, Edward is embraced by a relieved Joan.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Black Prince, The Dark Avenger
Genre
Adventure
Historical
Release Date
Sep 11, 1955
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Sep 1955
Production Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.; Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists Pictures Corp.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Elstree, England, Great Britain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.55 : 1

Articles

The Warriors (1955)


The Warriors (1955), also known as The Dark Avenger, was made during a spate of swashbucklers that had been launched by the success of Scaramouche, The Crimson Pirate, and Ivanhoe, all in 1952. But with its release near the end of the cycle, The Warriors was largely overlooked -- except for the notice it drew for its aging Errol Flynn. While he was indeed a bit long in the tooth for all the costumed derring-do, ironically the film stands as one of Flynn's better adventure pictures of his post-Warner Brothers career.

Set in 1358, at the end of the Hundred Years' War between England and France, the movie stars Flynn as Prince Edward of Woodstock, known as the Black Prince, who seeks to rescue Lady Joan (Joanne Dru) from the cruel, French Comte de Vil (Peter Finch). Walter Mirisch, producing for Allied Artists, later recounted that The Warriors was the second of three pictures made as part of a deal between Allied and 20th Century-Fox. The companies split the production costs, Allied served as domestic distributor, and Fox handled the international release. All were made in Technicolor and CinemaScope, Fox's new widescreen process.

Mirisch developed the story with screenwriter Dan Ullman under the working titles of The Black Knight and The Black Prince; ultimately, the film was released in America as The Warriors and in the rest of the world as The Dark Avenger. Mirisch finagled additional financing from a company in England and set up the shoot there -- at Elstree Studios and on location in Hertfordshire. MGM had made Ivanhoe at Elstree, and that film's exterior castle set was still standing; Mirisch rented it for this film, saving much money. Otherwise, the film's production values were enhanced by Guy Green's lush cinematography, a rousing score by Cedric Thorpe Davie, and almost continuous action in the attractive locations. Green had won an Oscar for photographing Great Expectations (1946), and The Warriors would be his next-to-last film as cinematographer before he moved to directing full-time.

The finished product performed okay in England but was a flop in the United States. Variety declared, "As an historical adventure, it's rather juvenile in its appeal, but lusty fight sequences and a big scale battle climax will satisfy action fans." Time magazine noted that "Errol is getting a little old for this sort of thing. So is his public."

Flynn was 46; his character was meant to be 29. And the actor who plays Flynn's father, Edward III (Michael Hordern), was in real life two years younger than Flynn! The film shows Flynn leaping from balconies and jumping down staircases, but they are closer to the ground than in his earlier swashbucklers, and The Warriors would ultimately be the star's final such film.

Just before production began, Mirisch discovered to his horror that Flynn had shaved off his trademark mustache, thinking he would look younger. With shooting set to start within days, Mirisch incorporated a plot device that had Flynn's character shaving, only to have his mustache re-grow in the course of the story. "Errol Flynn," Mirisch later wrote, "was a larger-than-life personality, a wonderful raconteur with great charm, but very alcoholic at this point in his career. We had a great deal of difficulty shooting around his drinking. Unfortunately, he did not look too well in the picture. His face was puffy and he was clearly too old for the role, but I hoped careful photography might offset that. It didn't."

Actor Peter Finch took his part mainly to have the chance to work with Flynn, whom he idolized. The two became friends, drinking late into the nights. Finch later recalled that after the first day of shooting, Flynn took him aside and said, "Cut it out, sport, you're violating the code. What you were doing in that scene was real acting." Finch was puzzled. "You'll show me up!" exclaimed Flynn. Finch later admitted that he was ashamed of his performance in this movie; however, many critics praised it.

Also in the cast is an uncredited Christopher Lee as a French officer who is done in by Flynn. During filming of that duel, Lee almost lost his little finger. Look also for future star Patrick McGoohan, in one of earliest screen appearances, as an English soldier.

By Jeremy Arnold

SOURCES:
David Bret, Errol Flynn: Satan's Angel
Trader Faulkner, Peter Finch: A Biography
Thomas McNulty, The Life and Career of Errol Flynn
Walter Mirisch, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History
The Warriors (1955)

The Warriors (1955)

The Warriors (1955), also known as The Dark Avenger, was made during a spate of swashbucklers that had been launched by the success of Scaramouche, The Crimson Pirate, and Ivanhoe, all in 1952. But with its release near the end of the cycle, The Warriors was largely overlooked -- except for the notice it drew for its aging Errol Flynn. While he was indeed a bit long in the tooth for all the costumed derring-do, ironically the film stands as one of Flynn's better adventure pictures of his post-Warner Brothers career. Set in 1358, at the end of the Hundred Years' War between England and France, the movie stars Flynn as Prince Edward of Woodstock, known as the Black Prince, who seeks to rescue Lady Joan (Joanne Dru) from the cruel, French Comte de Vil (Peter Finch). Walter Mirisch, producing for Allied Artists, later recounted that The Warriors was the second of three pictures made as part of a deal between Allied and 20th Century-Fox. The companies split the production costs, Allied served as domestic distributor, and Fox handled the international release. All were made in Technicolor and CinemaScope, Fox's new widescreen process. Mirisch developed the story with screenwriter Dan Ullman under the working titles of The Black Knight and The Black Prince; ultimately, the film was released in America as The Warriors and in the rest of the world as The Dark Avenger. Mirisch finagled additional financing from a company in England and set up the shoot there -- at Elstree Studios and on location in Hertfordshire. MGM had made Ivanhoe at Elstree, and that film's exterior castle set was still standing; Mirisch rented it for this film, saving much money. Otherwise, the film's production values were enhanced by Guy Green's lush cinematography, a rousing score by Cedric Thorpe Davie, and almost continuous action in the attractive locations. Green had won an Oscar for photographing Great Expectations (1946), and The Warriors would be his next-to-last film as cinematographer before he moved to directing full-time. The finished product performed okay in England but was a flop in the United States. Variety declared, "As an historical adventure, it's rather juvenile in its appeal, but lusty fight sequences and a big scale battle climax will satisfy action fans." Time magazine noted that "Errol is getting a little old for this sort of thing. So is his public." Flynn was 46; his character was meant to be 29. And the actor who plays Flynn's father, Edward III (Michael Hordern), was in real life two years younger than Flynn! The film shows Flynn leaping from balconies and jumping down staircases, but they are closer to the ground than in his earlier swashbucklers, and The Warriors would ultimately be the star's final such film. Just before production began, Mirisch discovered to his horror that Flynn had shaved off his trademark mustache, thinking he would look younger. With shooting set to start within days, Mirisch incorporated a plot device that had Flynn's character shaving, only to have his mustache re-grow in the course of the story. "Errol Flynn," Mirisch later wrote, "was a larger-than-life personality, a wonderful raconteur with great charm, but very alcoholic at this point in his career. We had a great deal of difficulty shooting around his drinking. Unfortunately, he did not look too well in the picture. His face was puffy and he was clearly too old for the role, but I hoped careful photography might offset that. It didn't." Actor Peter Finch took his part mainly to have the chance to work with Flynn, whom he idolized. The two became friends, drinking late into the nights. Finch later recalled that after the first day of shooting, Flynn took him aside and said, "Cut it out, sport, you're violating the code. What you were doing in that scene was real acting." Finch was puzzled. "You'll show me up!" exclaimed Flynn. Finch later admitted that he was ashamed of his performance in this movie; however, many critics praised it. Also in the cast is an uncredited Christopher Lee as a French officer who is done in by Flynn. During filming of that duel, Lee almost lost his little finger. Look also for future star Patrick McGoohan, in one of earliest screen appearances, as an English soldier. By Jeremy Arnold SOURCES: David Bret, Errol Flynn: Satan's Angel Trader Faulkner, Peter Finch: A Biography Thomas McNulty, The Life and Career of Errol Flynn Walter Mirisch, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was The Black Prince. The picture was released in England in mid-April 1955 under the title The Dark Avenger. The opening and ending cast credits differ slightly in order. A written foreward in the opening credits reads: "During the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, England and France fought a series of wars that lasted one hundred years. On both sides, the men who fought in these wars were, for the most part, completely and unselfishly dedicated to their respective causes. None was more devoted to his country than Edward Prince of Wales, known to history as 'The Black Prince,' England's greatest warrior of the period."
       According to a April 15, 1954 New York Times article, the film was a joint production between Allied Artists and Twentieth Century-Fox. The studios agreed to co-produce the picture, along with the 1954 release The Adventures of Hajji Baba, while retaining distribution rights to separate territories. For The Warriors, Allied distributed the picture in the Western Hemisphere, and Fox distributed it in the Eastern Hemisphere. The New York Times article reported that the deal was advantageous for both companies, especially Fox, which was "anxious to increase the immediate availability of CinemaScope pictures to guard against a shortage of this type picture in the foreign market as well as in this country."
       Although a August 6, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item included Patrick McGoohan in the cast, he was not discernable in the viewed print and his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. The Warriors was shot in Elstree, England. An September 8, 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that the picture was Allied Artist's "first multi-million dollar" production. The picture marked Errol Flynn's last appearance in an historical action film. A modern source credits Phil Park as co-screenwriter.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall September 1955

Released in United States September 1955

c Technicolor

Christopher Lee has a bit part in the film.

CinemaScope

Released in United States Fall September 1955

Released in United States September 1955