SWORD OF THE VALIANT: THE LEGEND OF SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT
CLASH OF THE SWORDS
Sword of the Valiant comes from a more venerable source than most of the other sword-and-sorcery films made around the time in this case, an epic poem that was originally written in the 14th Century, author unknown. Interestingly, director Stephen Weeks had previously made an adaptation of the story with the obscure Gawain and the Green Knight (1973), starring singer Murray Head as Gawain. In fact with Sword of the Valiant, Weeks has simply remade the 1973 film and seemingly even reused the same script, retaining the same elements (such as the mythic land of Lyonesse) that he added to the story the first time around.
The film is an entirely average entry in the sword-and-sorcery sub-genre. Stephen Weeks manages a competent airing of the story in places. The middle tends to get patchy and drag through a lot of episodic set-pieces. The films budgetary shortcomings show through in some occasionally tatty sets but Weeks at least covers things with a self-effacing, if distractingly modern, sense of humour. The likes of Sean Connery and John Rhys-Davies seem to be struggling to keep straight faces. Certainly, the sight of Connery in green face paint and leaf-bedecked wig provides a good deal of unintentional camp value. Miles OKeeffe, previously seen as Tarzan in Tarzan the Ape Man (1981), does okay with the role despite a thoroughly unconvincing wig. In subsequent rescreenings today, the film has gained a real turkey reputation.
Director Stephen Weeks was a minor director on the outskirts of the English horror scene where he also made the likes of the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde adaptation I, Monster (1971) and Ghost Story (1974).