The Magic Sword (1962)
Directed by Bert I. Gordon

Artistic Value: * *
Entertainment Value: * * * ½

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After Princess Helene (Anne Helm) is abducted by the evil magician Lodac (Basil Rathbone), so that he can avenge the death of his sister, who was executed for witchcraft by the girl's grandfather, George (Gary Lockwood), a young man living in the isolated home of his foster-mother, Sybil (Estelle Winwood), who happens to be a sorceress, magically sees what has occurred and decides to rescue the girl, with whose image he has already fallen in love. With a magical sword, a magical steed, a magical sword, a magical shield, and several reborn knights, George goes to offer his services to the king, Helene's father, who has promised her in marriage to any man who can save her. Unfortunately, Sir Branton (Liam Sullivan), one of the king's own knights, has already sworn to save the girl, and to brave the seven curses that Lodac has said will meet any hopeful rescuer, and resents George's intrusion. He, nonetheless, sets out with the young man and his followers on the road to Lodac's castle, which leads them to the haunt of a giant ogre, through a noxious swamp, and past the lair of a shape changing temptress..

Bert I. Gordon's The Magic Sword might be ridiculously goofy, but it is still a good deal of fun to watch.

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Over the course of the movie, the hero braves a series of dangers, including Branton's treachery, Sybil's opposition to his putting himself in danger (which prompts George to trick her into a cell beneath her home), and encounters with a variety of different monsters. Each of these adventures is depicted in such a way that the viewer is sure to be thrilled with it. What is more, the movie is alive with a sense of magic. There is a glowing magical steed, a magical sword and shield, a wizard who transforms himself into a crow, and a witch who changes herself into a panther. Though none of these events are brilliantly depicted, all are shown with a simple innocence that gives them a genuine appeal.

As enjoyable as the movie's adventures are, I will have to admit that The Magic Sword has its problems. The acting of most of the performers is painfully bad. Gary Lockwood, in particular, is atrocious. The story, though exciting, is utterly simplistic and concludes without any real drama, and the sets are almost invariably forgettable.

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Happily, whatever its faults, The Magic Sword is still entertaining.

Review by Keith Allen

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