Braveheart without the budget is one way of seeingSiege of the Saxons, which played on the world’s fears of invasion borne out of the Cuban Missile Crisis and impending war in Vietnam.
This light-hearted action-adventure featured the ailing King Arthur (Mark Dignam) attempting to regain his strength and thwart the Saxons, who await news of his condition prior to an invasion. Recuperating in the castle of his champion Knight, Edmund of Cornwall (Ronald Howard), the King is unaware he is in the presence of a traitor, and pays the ultimate price of another’s betrayal.
A local outlaw named Robert Marshall (Ronald Lewis) witnesses the murder and rescues the King’s daughter Katherine (Janette Scott). Edmund takes the throne, declaring his coronation legitimate. Before the ceremony can take place, Marshall and Katherine track down Merlin (John Laurie), who joins their cause as they head for the palace and Excalibur, the sword of truth which will decide the destiny of a nation.
Director Juran specialised in fantasy features, bringing credibility to the otherwise outrageous antics on screen. His background as an architect and art designer also affords a clarity of image which complements the action. Modern audiences may recognise John Laurie from Dad’s Army , but the veteran performer worked with Hitchcock, Olivier, Korda and David Lean in a series of definitive British movies.
UK / 85 minutes / 1963
Director:Nathan H. Juran
Writers:John Kohn, Jud Kinberg,
Janette Scott as Princess Katherine
Ronald Howard as Edmund of Cornwall
Mark Dignam as King Arthur
John Laurie as Merlin
Jerome Willis as The Limping Man
John Gabriel as Earl of Chatham
Ronald Lewis as Robert Marshall
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