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Day 3

In your own space, share a favorite piece of original canon (a TV episode, a song, a favorite interview, a book, a scene from a movie, etc) and explain why you love it so much. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


There are so many works to choose from, but I’m going back in time to a movie that truly started more than one fandom obsessions when I was five; Ivanhoe (1952).

In case you are unfamiliar with the story, it’s originally a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott published in 1819. It takes place during the reign of Richard Lionheart and Ivanhoe of the title is one of Richard’s most loyal knights, something which has caused a rift between him and his father, and which also prevents him from marrying his childhood sweetheart Rowena. After receiving an injury he is healed by a Jewish woman; Rebecca, who falls in love with him. While still injured he, Rebecca, her father as well as Rowena and Ivanhoe’s father are captured by three of Prince John’s knight, something which eventually leads to Rebecca being accused of being a witch.

The plot is a lot more complicated than this and sports no less than three love triangles; Ivanhoe, Rebecca and Rowena, Ivanhoe, Rebecca and Bois-Guilbert, and, to some degree, Ivanhoe, Rowena, and Athelstane. It plays hard and fast with history and is largely responsible for catapulting Robin Hood into the conscience of the larger public. It also has a lot of stuff that can make a modern reader balk, like the description of Rebecca’s father which is full of anti-semitism in the book, something which is generally toned down in the adaptions. Ivanhoe is also a rather boring hero who spends most of his time being injured and removed from the actual action.

What makes it interesting is the women of the plot. Rowena often fares quite badly in the adaptions, but I find her portrayal interesting as she, without stepping outside the boundaries the time periods gives her, still resist the various manipulations the men around her subjects her too. There is also Ulrica, a minor character, but with a heartbreaking story of rape and imprisonment; her past a reflection of the future Rebecca faces at one point. But the most interesting character is Rebecca. She’s intelligent and courageous and possessing a sense of self-worth which is not moved by anything. And far more interesting than her love for Ivanhoe is Bois-Guilbert growing feelings for her. Bois-Guilbert is not a pleasant man, and his attraction to Rebecca is solely based on her beauty. But he slowly falls in love with, at first in a possessive and jealous way, but as the story progress is selfishness vanes

So what did this mean for five-year-old me? Well, first I fell in love with Rebecca, played by the stunning Elizabeth Taylor.





Second, it lay the groundwork for my lasting obsession with historical costumes.











And third, it has a lot to do with my penchant for bad boys and for George Sanders who played Bois-Guilbert.





It probably also has a lot to do with my interest in history and the fact that most of my fandoms seem to takes place in historical times.

Nowadays my affection for the 1952 adaptations lies largely in nostalgia. But I can wholeheartedly recommend the mini-series from 1997 with Ciaran Hinds and Susan Lynch as Bois-Guilbert and Rebecca. I also think this is the adaption who gives Rowena, here played by Victoria Smurfit, more agency than just being pretty.

Date: 2019-01-03 03:32 pm (UTC)
littlelostcat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] littlelostcat
God, Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous in this! I haven't seen it but now I'm curious!

If you like historical movies, have you seen the new Mary, Queen of Scots??

Date: 2019-01-04 01:28 am (UTC)
littlelostcat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] littlelostcat
I saw it because my mom and cousin wanted to go, but I'll say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. But I totally get the disinterest :)

Date: 2019-01-08 02:04 am (UTC)
littlelostcat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] littlelostcat
You know what? Maybe when it hits Netflix or something, it's a pretty background movie. I wouldn't rush out and see it, especially with the prices of movies!!

Date: 2019-01-03 04:50 pm (UTC)
spikedluv: (summer: sunflowers by candi)
From: [personal profile] spikedluv
I actually just re-read Ivanhoe for [livejournal.com profile] ljbookbingo and . . . it did not hold up well, lol! High school me (I can't even remember why I read this book in HS and not only liked it, but liked it enough to re-read it two more times in college!) must have been very blind to the anti-semitism and misogyny in this story. I have only seen bits and pieces of the 1952 movie, but the costuming is stunning.

Date: 2019-01-03 04:50 pm (UTC)
seleneheart: (snowflake 2)
From: [personal profile] seleneheart
Those costumes are gorgeous! I read that book as a kid, and I've never seen any of the adaptations.

Is it just my weird brain, or did George Sanders also voice some Disney villans? Shere Khan maybe.

Date: 2019-01-03 04:51 pm (UTC)
spikedluv: (summer: sunflowers by candi)
From: [personal profile] spikedluv
I also read this book when I was younger (HS and college - three times!). I can't remember how it even came to my attention.

Date: 2019-01-03 04:56 pm (UTC)
seleneheart: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seleneheart
My parents had bookshelves stuffed full of things like that and they never stopped me from reading anything. Some of it they maybe should have (prety sure I read Lord of the Flies around age 11), but on the other hand, that's how I discovered Tolkien.

Date: 2019-01-03 04:56 pm (UTC)
earthspirits: (Vincent Price)
From: [personal profile] earthspirits
Oh yes, I've seen that film - and I agree, Elizabeth Taylor was absolutely stunning as Rebecca - as well as portraying her character with great sensitivity.

Robert Taylor, on the other hand, was wooden as always - but I've always loved George Sanders! So yes,
always an absolute pleasure to see him (and the romantic subplot with his character was another perk).

I adore classic films, always so fun to watch!

Like you, I do like my film / literary bad boys - especially if they're redeemed by love.

Thanks for sharing this! : D
Edited Date: 2019-01-03 05:02 pm (UTC)

Date: 2019-01-03 05:55 pm (UTC)
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
From: [personal profile] toujours_nigel
I was very fond of the novel and Brian de Bois Guilbert as a kid, but I've never seen the film, which is now going on the TBW list. The costumes are stunning!

Thank you for posting and sharing this ♥

Date: 2019-01-03 06:14 pm (UTC)
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
From: [personal profile] toujours_nigel
I last tried at twenty-ish and gave up in a hurry. Still, they were written for adults, and there's some merit in knowing the flaws of a for-the-time liberal view.

Date: 2019-01-04 12:06 am (UTC)
dragonyphoenix: Francine from Strangers in Paradise (Francine bliss)
From: [personal profile] dragonyphoenix
I don't know much about Ivanhoe but ... mmm, Ciarán Hinds.

Date: 2019-01-08 03:13 am (UTC)
dragonyphoenix: Francine from Strangers in Paradise (Francine bliss)
From: [personal profile] dragonyphoenix
I know him from oooh that Jane Austen thing where he played Captain Wentworth. Persuasion. That's it.

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