Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Magic Sword!

When I was a kid, summer vacation meant at least two weeks spent at my Grandparent's house in Lakeland, FL. The local station there played all kinds of cool old movies early in the morning and late at night (this was before infomercials were legal, wtf happened!?) and I was guaranteed to catch this one, THE MAGIC SWORD!, at least twice during those two weeks.

Even at a young age, I knew that this was a truly horrific movie. Yet I couldn't tear my eyes from it! The villain looked strangely familiar (that's because it was Basil Rathbone, villain of about 400 other movies), and so did the hero's aunt or mother or whatever she was (Estelle Winwood, of the campy Batman TV series, Darby O'Gill, etc).

From a fantasy standpoint, this movie has just about everything. Two-headed ogres, giant wolfmen, two-headed dragons, hungry ghosts, hot chicks who turn into slavering ghouls, and so on. Our hero, George, sets off to rescue a princess from an evil wizard with a magic sword and a group of knights from history (?) who should be wearing those red uniforms from Star Trek.

The movie shifts somewhat unnervingly from the comic shenanigans of Winwood and company to the horrible, screaming deaths of George's comrades. Even as George gamely battles the two-headed dragon, Rathbone and Winwood share a little banter.

Why, oh why, must I like this movie?


  1. Available for FREE at the Internet Archive!


  2. Lakeland, huh? I grew up in Bartow. I used to love that toy store in the Lakeland Searstown.

  3. @mhensley - I loved that place too! got my first 1E PHB there - iirc, a narrow wire rack stuffed with books and grenadier boxed sets...

  4. Before your post I'd never even heard of that movie, and now I must watch it.

  5. Talk about coincidence: I was writing this week's blog, about Land of the Lost. The barbarian Malak in episode 2/season 3 was played by Richard Kiel, who also played the (uncredited) role of Pinhead in...The Magic Sword!

  6. This was lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000, though I don't know if it ever made it on to tape/disc.

  7. This wasn't the worst movie Basil Rathbone has done, but I watched it on VHS in my 20s (HA!). This movie was written for kids and not for adults, that was for sure.

    His worst movie was Expedition to Venus. But he had a bit part in that movie. I have the dubious honor of owning a copy. hahaha!

  8. I had seen part of this many years ago (probably on acid or mushrooms) and thought it was so cool (like all Disney cartoons are on acid). Then I found this double disc of 9 "Swords & Sorcery" movies for $8 (less than a $1 a movie!) and bought it. This was, in all honesty, the very best movie on those dvds. The concepts are very cool, a remake, 110% loyal to the original film, would be awesome.

  9. Wow...I wonder if I can download this with Netflix...



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