Sword Of The Valiant

Sword Of The Valiant (1984)
MGM Home Entertainment
Cast: Sean Connery, Miles O’Keeffe, Cyrielle Claire, Trevor Howard
Extras: Trailer

The 80s have produced some really quirky films, almost macabre one would want to say. ’Sword Of The Valiant’ is one such film. Despite the fact that the film boasts some big screen names such as Sean Connery, Trevor Howard and Peter Cushing, ultimately the film is a joke on so many levels, that you ask yourself whether you should laugh or flinch at times. It is the saga of noble knight Gawain from King Arthur’s court seeking his destiny while championing his King.

For some unexplainable reason, MGM Home Entertainment decided to mutilate ’Sword Of The Valiant’ and crop it from its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio to a pan and scan version. The horrifying effect is even more amplified by the fact that the image is actually blown up and as a result appears blurry and soft throughout, without ever holding any significant amount of detail. Color reproduction is good and black levels are solid but the fact that most of the image is constantly awash in blurry artifacts just doesn’t make for a good presentation, not to mention the fact that the image is constantly off-kilter as it crops vital image details on the sides of the screen.

The audio on the DVD is well reproduced in a Dolby Stereo track but the film is inherently plagued by one major problem. Bad music. The 80s synth pop score just doesn’t’ cut it for an Arthurian movie. Apart from that the music is consistently mixed way too loud, drowning out everything else that may happen at the same time. If you want an example for bad music taste in movies, ’Sword Of The Valiant’ is a prime example.

While ’Sword Of The Valiant’ certainly has appeal as a cult film, for anyone outside that fan community, the film is not of much value. Bad acting, really bad wigs, really, really bad dialogues and really, really, really bad music are what define this film. Notwithstanding all that however, no film deserves to be mutilated and MGMs decision to crop this movie is inexcusable in this day and age, especially since they could easily have offered both, a widescreen and fullframe version on one disc. With that in mind, I’m not sure who this DVD is targeted for. The cult fans won’t have any use for it because it’s pan & scan and everyone else will probably just plain out hate the movie, so I can’t really recommend this release to anyone, I’m afraid.