BrianRxm Coins in Movies 52/131
Ivanhoe (1952)
Silver medieval coins
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The 1952 MGM film "Ivanhoe" has a scene with small silver coins.
The film is based on Sir Walter Scott's 1817 novel about Ivanhoe, a medieval Saxon knight
who returns to England after serving in the Crusades.
The film stars Robert Taylor as Ivanhoe, Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca the Jewish banker's daughter
and Joan Fontaine as Rowena, Ivanhoe's girlfriend.
At one point a ransom is shown, it includes jewelry and some small silver coins which resemble
Roman Empire silver denarius coins.
1. Title
Ivanhoe, a medieval Saxon knight, has returned to England after serving in the Third Crusade
against the Saracens.
He finds that things at home are as bad as when he left.
His father Cedric has disowned him for going on the Crusade.
England is in the hands of the Normans who treat the Saxons as a conquered people.
England's rightful king Richard (the Lion-Hearted) is being held in Austria for ransom,
and his wicked brother John is acting as king.
2. Ivanhoe meets knights Hugh de Bracy and Brian de Bois-Guilbert
The two knights are Normans who are also Crusade veterans.
3. Ivanhoe and Rowena
Ivanhoe and Rowena have been lovers since they were children.
Rowena lives as a ward of Cedric's in his castle which keeps the pair apart sometimes.
Ivanhoe rescues Isaac of York, a Jewish banker, from thieves and escorts Isaac
to his house in York.
4. Isaac of York and Ivanhoe
Isaac's belt buckle appears to have a "Star of David" on it.
Ivanhoe tells Isaac that wants to enter a tournament and needs a horse and
equipment to compete.
Isaac's daughter Rebecca watches the men from a side door.
5. Rebecca watching
Rebecca then visits Ivanhoe and loans him the money for the equipment from her funds.
6. Tournament
Ivanhoe enters as an anonymous knight, he introduces himself to King John.
7. Ivanhoe riding
Ivanhoe manages to unseat five knights successively in jousting, but is injured.
Rebecca has him brought to her house.
She has medical skills and knowledge and will treat him.
She has also fallen in love with him, but she knows that there is no future in a relationship
between a Jew and a Christian.
While Ivanhoe is recovering, Rebecca, her father, Cedric, and Rowena are out riding and
are captured by Brian and Hugh's men and taken to a castle owned by a friend of the pair,
Front de Boeuf, a very crude man.
8. Captives taken to dark castle
Ivanhoe heads to Sherwood Forest to recruit a band of outlaws led by Locksley
(a character based on Robin Hood).
Ivanhoe rides up to the castle and agrees to give himself up if Brian and Hugh free the others,
he enters and is taken captive.
In the castle Brian attempts to seduce Rebecca and Hugh and de Boeuf plan to torture
the male captives.
Ivanhoe is taken to a tower to be thrown off, but he overpowers his guard and heads
for the torture chamber to free his friends.
During the fight a barrel of oil is turned over causing a fire.
Locksley's men and Cedric's Saxons then launch a massive attack on the castle.
9. The men storm the castle
Brian escapes with Rebecca as a hostage and the other captives are freed.
Cedric and Ivanhoe are reconciled.
Cedric's castle hosts the assembly of the ransom for King Richard.
10. Assembling the ransom in Cedric's castle
Cedric is seen to be dropping gold coins into a cup.
11. Ransom items on table, including coins
Some small coins appear as part of the ransom.
The scroll is from Isaac and he explains that it is a note to Austrian Jewish bankers
to release a sum of money, in other words, a check.
12. A closer look at the table coins
The prop coins appear to be copies of ancient Roman Empire silver denarius coins, which are
usually around 20mm in diameter and have rounded edges.
Some portraits appear on the prop coins, but nothing which would identify the source coins.
Brian takes Rebecca to King John, however John decides to try her for witchcraft
and have her burnt.
John conducts a trial with himself as sole Judge and convicts her.
Medieval law allows a knight to do battle for her, and Ivanhoe steps forward as her champion.
13. Ivanhoe issues a challenge
Rebecca is dressed in white as a defendant.
King John appoints a reluctant Brian de Bois-Guilbert to appear for the court.
Brian offers to leave if Rebecca goes with him, but she answers that "it is in God's hands",
meaning that she will not go with him.
The men fight first on horseback and then on foot.
14. Ivanhoe and Brian fighting
Ivanhoe wins the combat and Brian expires.
15. Rowena Rebecca
Rebecca tells Rowena that she loved Ivanhoe but he did not love her.
King Richard arrives to depose his brother.
16. King Richard and his men arrive to take over
Robert Taylor as Ivanhoe
Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca
Joan Fontaine as Rowena
George Sanders as Brian de Bois-Guilbert
Robert Douglas as Hugh de Bracy
Finlay Currie as Cedric (Ivanhoe's father)
Director: Richard Thorpe
Writers: Noel Langley, Aeneas MacKenzie
In the Sir Walter Scott novel there are several mentions of coins called "byzants" or "zecchins".
A byzant was a Byzantine gold coin known as a solidus.
A zecchin was an Italian or Venetian gold coin.
Brian de Bois-Guilbert was a member of the Knights Templars, described in the book
as a very disreputable outfit.
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