When Knights Were Bold (1936)

Article #1076 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-24-2004
Posting Date: 7-23-2004
Directed by Jack Raymond
Featuring Jack Buchanan, Fay Wray, Garry Marsh

The heir to an ancestral home returns from India to meet his family for the first time. He discovers they are all stiff and joyless, but he falls for his cousin, the Lady Rowena.

You know, some of these movies really do leave me scratching my head when I try to decide whether they rightfully belong in the fantastic movie genres or not, and this is one of them. The basic plot of this musical-comedy certainly doesn’t give any indication of having a fantastic premise, and for most of the movie I was wondering what would come up. However, the last third of the movie consists of a dream sequence in which our hero ends up in the middle ages and must defend the castle against an onslaught of invaders. It’s here that the comedy really takes an anarchic turn, and the question becomes whether outrageous anarchic comedy qualifies as fantastic cinema. However, scenes in which the knights come riding in on bizarre bicycles, and a series of gags involving magnets both push this into the realm of fantasy, so I guess it does qualify to some extent. The movie itself is quite amusing and very British. Barry Fitzgerald and Terry-Thomas both appear somewhere in this movie, though I wouldn’t be able to point them out.

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