EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|TOWER OF LONDON (director: Rowland V. Lee; screenwriter: Robert N. Lee; cinematographer: George Robinson; editor: Edward Curtiss; music: Ralph Freed/Hans J. Salter/Frank Skinner; cast: Basil Rathbone (Richard, Duke of Gloucester), Boris Karloff (Mord), Barbara O'Neil (Queen Elizabeth), Ian Hunter (King Edward IV), Vincent Price (Duke of Clarence), Nan Grey (Lady Alice Barton), John Sutton (John Wyatt), Miles Mander (King Henry VI), John Rodion (Lord De Vere), Ronald Sinclair (Prince Edward), John Herbert-Bond (Prince Richard), Ralph Forbes (Henry Tudor), Rose Hobart (Ann Neville), Leo G. Carroll (Lord Hastings); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating:NR; producer: Rowland V. Lee; Universal; 1939)|
chilling tale of dynasty change."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Rowland V. Lee ("Son of Frankenstein"/"Captain Kidd"/"The Count of Monte Cristo") directs this confusingly told historical tale, that overcomes its flaws with some spirited spine-tingling scenes. It's a gruesome chilling tale of dynasty change--the Tudor dynasty replaces the Plantagenets. It tells of the court intrigues during the reign of the English King Edward 1V (Ian Hunter), in 1471, and the ruthless rise to power of his impatient brother Richard the Third (Basil Rathbone), who in his scheme to snag the crown takes short cuts that has him eliminate at least six rivals. The script is by the director's brother, Robert N. Lee.
After Richard arranges for the weakling senile Plantagenet King Henry VI (Miles Mander) to be killed, Richard is then aided by the robot-like Mord (Boris Karloff), the court executioner, to murder another rival, his half-brother, the Duke of Clarence (Vincent Price), in a vat of wine, because he stands in his way to the throne. The clueless King Edward 1V, the new king, is unaware of his brother's treachery and on his deathbed names Richard as protector for the boy king Edward (Ronald Sinclair) and his younger brother (John Herbert-Bond).
John Wyatt (John Sutton), who was exiled by a jealous Richard to
France, returns to try and stop the power-hungry Richard from getting
the crown. But before he can bestow the royal treasure he stole from the Tower
upon Richard's rival, Henry Tudor (Ralph Forbes), Wyatt is
caught and imprisoned. With the help of Queen Elizabeth (Barbara O'Neil), John's cousin, and Lady Alice (Nan Grey), John's lover, John escapes with the
treasure to France to be with Henry Tudor. In revenge,
Richard has Mord murder the young ruler and his brother. Richard's
reign of terror is ended, however, when Henry Tudor returns
triumphantly with his troops and at Bosworth slays both the psychopath
Richard and the dutiful moronic executioner Mord.
It has its macabre
fascinations, but Shakespeare did it better and without such comical
camp that brought laughter instead of serious purpose to this
REVIEWED ON 4/21/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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