Wednesday, June 2, 2021
The Golden Blade (1953)
Basra and Bagdhad are engaged in a bitter territorial dispute. Harun (Rock Hudson) is the son of a merchant of Basra. His father is killed during a raid and Harun vows to take vengeance on the men responsible. He has a clue - a medallion dropped by one of his father’s killers.
Not long afterwards Harun comes across a sword in a merchant’s shop. The sword turns out to be a truly remarkable weapon, but only in the hands of the right man. It appears that Destiny has decided that Harun is that man.
The Caliph has problems of which he is as yet not fully aware. His vizier, Jafar (George Macready) is plotting to seize his throne (or rather to seize the throne for his son Hadi with Jafar of course to be the real power behind the throne). It is in pursuit of this aim that Jafar has been stirring up trouble between Baghdad and Basra. In further pursuit of this objective Jafar is hoping to marry his son Hadi to Khairuzan. To say that Khairuzan is displeased when she hears about this marriage plan would be an understatement. She is furious.
The magic sword could have presented some story problems. It makes its wielder invulnerable and invincible which would make things too easy for the hero so for most of the story he doesn’t actually have the sword. The sword is really just a symbol anyway - it is Harun’s own skill, courage and honour that makes him a worthy hero and he manages pretty well without it.
Nathan Juran was a capable director of usually fairly modestly-budgeted adventure and science fiction films. He keeps things moving along at a nice clip. John Rich wrote the screenplay.
The plot is pretty much a stock-standard story of its type.
The Harun in the story is supposed to be the famous Caliph Harun al-Rashid although of course the story has little to do with the historical Harun al-Rashid. Harun al-Rashid was a bit like King Arthur, with countless fanciful tales being told about him (some of which are included in the Arabian Nights).
I bought this movie on the strength of a glowing review at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings.
The Golden Blade might be somewhat formulaic but it’s extremely well-made, the plotting is solid enough, it looks great, the cast is excellent and it has the right mix of action, adventure and romance with some dashes of humour. It all adds up to terrific entertainment. Highly recommended.