“You all know my terms as well as I: we’ll go home when we are freely called, by all our countrymen — and not one day before!”
While living in exile in Holland, King Charles Stuart (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) falls in love with a local farmer (Rita Corday) and tries to escape the clutches of his enemies, the puritanical Roundheads (led by Henry Daniell).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Cross-Class Romance
- Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Films
- Historical Drama
- Max Ophuls Films
- Mistaken or Hidden Identities
- Royalty and Nobility
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., wrote, produced, and starred in this Anglophilic imagining (based on Cosmo Hamilton’s novel His Majesty, the King) of King Charles Stuart II’s life in exile before the Restoration in 1660. The plot focuses primarily on Stuart’s (fictional) romance with a Dutch girl (Corday), and, ultimately, his dilemma over whether to maintain his blissful working class existence with her, or return to the throne of England to serve his “larger” purpose in life. In the meantime, the indomitable Charles is pursued by Oliver Cromwell’s supporters (embodied primarily by the bloodthirsty character of black-hatted Colonel Ingram — a perfectly cast Henry Daniell), and must persuade Corday that a former flame (Maria Montez) no longer holds any sway over his heart. [Montez is simply delightful — and typically over-the-top — in her few shorts scenes midway through the film.] Fortunately, director Max Ophuls (in his first American production) adds his inimitable touch to the proceedings, elevating what would otherwise be a mundane historical drama into something slightly more involving; by the end of the film, we can’t help caring about Charles and the fate of his country.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as exiled King Charles
- Rita Corday as Katie
- Maria Montez as a visiting French countess
- Henry Daniell as Colonel Ingram
- Ophuls’ unique directorial touch
- Atmospheric cinematography
No, but it’s certainly worth a look.