Like the previous year's The Prince of Foxes, this is an exotic adventure predicated on the revival of Power's pre-WWII eminence as a matinée idol. In the event, he's decidedly over-age as the Oxford student setting out to gain the wisdom which might deliver England from the Norman yoke. But that's the least of the film's credibility issues as it merrily whisks us on foot from the Middle East to imperial China, skirmishes and intrigues along the way creating barely a flicker of interest. Pint-sized Gallic nymphette Aubry (who later married a Moroccan prince) is a downright curious romantic foil, though most attention focuses on loyal retainer Hawkins, charismatic Mongol warlord Welles and Jack Cardiff's exquisite Technicolor camerawork. Unfortunately, the turgid script and plodding direction mean their estimable contributions go for little.
The Black Rose
Cast and crew