The Magic Sword

(i)

 

Kitschy knight quest is fun '60s flashback; some battles.
  • Review Date: January 15, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 1962
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In the end, the good guys fight against the bad and come out ahead. Some old-fashioned, but lighthearted messages about women. Some treachery and use of violence to solve problems.

Positive role models

The good knights always try to be valorous, no matter the difficulties in their adventures.

Violence

Kitschy and outdated special effects lessen the scariness of the fight scenes. Some of the sudden transformations of beautiful women into hideous hags might be scary for younger viewers.

Sex

Brief scenes of passionate kisses.

Language

Not much except "hell."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Magic Sword is a kitschy B-movie from 1962, a campy take on the knight's quest story that is more Bewitched and Munsters than King Arthur. The special effects are laughingly dated, taking the sting out of the several violent battle scenes. Some of the transformations of characters into hideous monsters might be scary for younger viewers, but as a whole, The Magic Sword is a lighthearted swords and sorcery story tweens might enjoy.

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What's the story?

George (Gary Lockwood) is in love with Princess Helene. When he sees through magical waters that Helene has been taken prisoner by the evil sorcerer Lodac (Basil Rathbone), George pledges to rescue her. When his mother Sybil (Estelle Winwood) shows George the magic sword and shield he will receive upon turning 21, George decides to take advantage of his gifts a little bit early, taking them and embarking on a quest with six knights he has brought back to life. But not only must George contend with seven dangerous obstacles Lodac has put between him and the imprisoned Princess Helene, he must protect himself against the underhanded scheming of Sir Branton, a knight who claims to also be rescuing Helene, but has other plans.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

THE MAGIC SWORD has all the elements of the types of 1950s and '60s B-movie fare that once filled the double features of drive-ins across America. The humor is kitschy, the acting flirts heavily with parody, the special effects are laughable, and any moments of potential terror (damsels instantly changing into hags, for instance) are offset by the air of levity that fills the screen from beginning to end.

That being said, for the sake of pure entertainment, The Magic Sword is a whole lot of fun. In some ways, it's a send-up of the classic tale of the chivalrous knight questing to save a princess in distress. Ultimately, though, it's a silly slice of low-budget camp. Oh, and there's a monkey playing chess against Siamese twins joined together by the cheap black costume they share. What's not to like?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how different films portray knights. What are the elements you always find in movies like these? How is The Magic Sword different?

  • Why is it that sometimes B-Movies -- movies made on low budgets with bad special effects, cheesy dialogue, and not the best acting -- are more entertaining than movies made for a lot more money and time?

  • If this movie was remade today, what do you think would change? What would stay the same?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 1, 1962
DVD release date:July 12, 2005
Cast:Basil Rathbone, Estelle Winwood, Gary Lockwood
Director:Bert I. Gordon
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Adventures
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Magic Sword was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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