Basil Rathbone : Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

What's your favorite Basil Rathbone Swordfight? For me, it's a tie between his fight with Tyrone in 'Mark of Zorro' and his fight with Flynn in 'Adventures of Robin Hood'. Both Are Classics, IMHO...

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Robin Hood. Greatest Sword Duel EVER. Period.

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

from Maddocks4 - "Robin Hood. Greatest Sword Duel EVER. Period."

while this is a free country and everyone is entitled to speak their opinion, there is also a right to dis-agree and y 5b4 ou could not be more wrong. Robin Hood will rank in the top 10 or so, but definitly not the greatest. I can think of 5 that come in ahead of it, the afforementioned Mark of Zorro, Adventures of Don Juan, Cyrano De Bergerac, my nomination for the top spot Scaramouche, Swordsman of Sienna. what destroys the Robin Hood swordfight is trying to use broadswords like a cutlass, it just could not be done.

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

All I've seen him sword fight in is 'The Court Jester'. And I liked it.

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Not the best but one of the most overlooked sword duels was between Liam Neeson and Tim Roth in "Rob Roy".

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

>>>what destroys the Robin Hood swordfight is trying to use broadswords like a cutlass, it just could not be done.

I didn't mind that in Robin Hood. (And I liked the homage to that duel in My Favorite Year.)

I like all of Rathbone's duels except one - in his Richard III role in The Tower of London, he and Henry are dressed in *full armor* and wielding their broadswords like foils. Ridiculous.

I also have to say the Zorro duel is my favorite.

And I don't mind confessing that each time I watch any of his duels, I'm wh 5b4 ispering, "Win it this time. C'mon...win it!"

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

I think "Adventures of Robin Hood" is best. But Captain Blood is sort of interesting, it reminds me of the duel in "The Princess Bride." Also, Rathbone's death in the duel in Captin Blood is kind of cool.

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

just to toss this into this discussion..don't you think that The Princess Bride's duel scene was a perfect compliment to the swordfight in Robin Hood?
Ok, there it is - my fave swordfight is Robin Hood.

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

tie between robin hood and captain blood.

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

" 111c ;Captain Blood" for me. A terrific fight and I like the setting. "The Court Jester" is wild and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" is fabulous as well. The Holmes-Moriarty chase in the Tower of London in "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" is reminiscent of the "Robin Hood" fight.





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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Delighted to find such well-informed opinions on this topic.

First, Rathbone figures in two of my top three swordfights: "Mark of Zorro" #1 and "Court Jester" #3. #2 is "Princess Bride," which is really impressive in that neither of he prinicipals were trained in the sport before the film, and both had to learn to fight left-handed (I'd wondered if they'd flopped the negative to achieve the effect, but apparently not).

IMDB informs me (no surprize) that Rathbone was British Army fencing champ.

Pet peeve: I don't much care for Flynn's style; lacking in elegance and finesse, mostly a hacker. Often, it seems that they sped up the film, a technique Hollywood often used in fist-fight sequences.

Totally agree about the ludicrous use of foil techniques while wielding a broadsword.

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Just watched The Mark of Zorro, and I think I'm going to like Basil's duel with Tyron Power t 1c84 here somewhat more than the spectacular fight in Robin Hood. It seems to me that in Zorro both opponents were kind of level fencers, and they obviously enjoyed the process which makes the whole scene very convincing. Besides, there's way more of a real action there, not just dancing and jumping around but the actual sword work, you know. In both Robin Hood and Captain Blood, with Errol Flynn being much weaker a swordsman than Basil, this difference is quite obvious even for a non-expert. I love every bit of Robin Hood including the final swordfight, especially the duel of shadows on a wall. what a movie, one of the greatest indeed. But every time I watch it I can't help thinking that it seems rather lame for Basil's character to lose the fight after all this superb fencing.

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

While I love the duel between Basil and Errol in "Robin Hood", I am wondering if there was ever a movie swordfight that Basil actually won? If so that would probably be my favorite of his duels. He was an excellent swordsman in real life, and I remember hearing somewhere that it kinda frustrated him to lose on-screen LOL.

My favorite sword duels without Basil:
The Princess Bride (all of them in this movie, really)
Don Juan (1926 with John Barrymore)
The Addams Family (Raul Julia vs Dan Hedaya in the beginning of the film...not a real swordfight but hey I get a nice chuckle everytime)

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Zorro, definitely. I love the way he dies :)

Oh, and I believe he played Tybalt at one point, either on stage or on the screen... so that's one fight he would have won.

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Without a doubt my vote goes for Zorro.
Really cheesy dialogue but a fantastic sword fight.

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Im going to go for Robin Hood as one of my personal favourites.

It always strikes me how much better combat scenes are in these older movies. Rathbone actually looks mad and seems to be really going for it against Flynn. I dont know if it was just a thing in their relationship but there just seemed real animosity there. They really look as if they are trying to kill one another and giving it their all.

Its not a dance, or a piece of art. Its not something like the matrix or crouching tiger, although pretty to look at, more often than not its far too flashy and unreal looking.

I also really liked Rathbone and Moriarty going at it in the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Ok its not a sword fight, but the pair of them rolling across the floor knocking lumps out each other is just awesome.








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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

The one I remember (and liked) best was from The Court Jester - ah ha!

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?


For drama and the quality of the swordfight--Adventures of Robin Hood
For pure fun--The Court Jester

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Rathbone had pinache and style.....such fluid movements. I thought his best swordsmanship was displayed in "The Mark of Zorro", and his style played well against Tyrone Powers'. I have always been a big Flynn fan, but even I notice that what Flynn himself said is true....that all he had to do was to hold his sword out in front of him and look heroic! I thought the fight in Captain Blood was also quite excellent....and Rathbone's death on the beach was quite dramatic! While Robert Douglas was great in "The Adventures of Don Juan", I would have loved to have seen Rathbone in that role! Wow!!

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

Because most of this thread is fairly old--from a year ago tomorrow (at this writing, of course) all the way back to 2006--I'm posting this at the bottom for chronological consistency.

I agree with blakduke in the third post here that Adventures of Robin Hood's use of one-handed fencing techniques with broadswords hurt that Flynn/Rathbone duel seriously. Similarly, the fact that rapiers were utilized in The Court Jester, set in an era when broadswords were what were actually at hand, works against that film, even granting that first and foremost it is a Danny Kaye comedy vehicle. A Trivia note on Rathbone's bio page here states of that film's duel, "It is considered by some the best sword fight ever filmed." That and this thread, both encountered for the first time today, are the only statements I've ever encountered to that effect. Does this thread justify that note? I doubt it.

For the record, my faves are Power/Rathbone in Zorro and Stewart Granger/Mel Ferrer at the climax of Scaramouche (1952). There are many others quite good and watchable (from Flynn/Rathbone in Captain Blood (1935) through Richard Lester's Musketeers trilogy of the 70s and 80s), but those two stand out for me.

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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

I loves Scaramouche! I watch the whole movie just to see that swordfight...

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?


I'll cast a vote for Mark of Zorro vs. Don Diego. Rathbone was great.
..."We all have it coming kid"...

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

My vote is for Basil as a mighty fine "Captain Levasseur" in Captain Blood. Rathbone would have made a great "Jean Lafitte" pirate.

Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

The Robin Hood duel was the best photographed.

I wonder if they ever did an outtake where Rathbone wins a duel with either Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power, then makes off with the lovely heroine? That would be funny.

I read someplace that in the "Court Jester", Rathbone was past his prime and had to rest to catch his breath.





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Re: Favorite Rathbone Swordfight?

The Adventures of Robin Hood
Mark of Zorro
Captain Blood



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