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 Post subject: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 am 
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Knightriders (also known as George A. Romero's Knightriders) is a 1981 film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was filmed entirely on location in Pennsylvania, especially in Fawn Township and Natrona. The film is a change of pace for Romero, known primarily for horror films; it is a personal drama about a travelling rennaissance fair troupe.

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Billy (Ed Harris) leads a traveling troupe that jousts on motorcycles. "King William", as he styles himself, tries to lead the troupe according to his Arthurian-style ideals. However, the constant pressure of balancing those ideals against the realities and financial pressures of running the organization are beginning to strain the group. Billy is also plagued by a recurring dream of a black bird. Tensions are exacerbated by Billy's constantly pushing himself despite being injured and the arrival of a promoter named Bontempi (Martin Ferrero), who wants to represent the troupe.

After Billy spends a night in jail watching a member of his troupe beaten because Billy has refused a payoff to a corrupt local cop, Billy returns to the fairground where the troupe is next to perform and is shocked that some members want to join with the promoter. His sense of betrayal is heightened when his queen, Linet (Amy Ingersoll) admits that her feelings for him may not be the reason she remains with the troupe. Things come to a head after Morgan (Tom Savini), leader of the dissident faction who believes he should be king, wins the day's tournament and a melee breaks out between the troupe and rowdy members of the crowd. Billy faces an Indian rider (Albert Amerson) with a black eagle crest on his breast plate, the black bird of his dreams. Billy defeats the Indian but aggravates his injury. Morgan and several other riders leave the troupe to follow Bontempi. Billy's loyal supporter Alan (Gary Lahti) also departs with his ladyfriend Julie (Patricia Tallman) and friend Bors (Harold Wayne Jones) to try to sort out his emotions. Billy and the remainder of the troupe settle at the fairground to await the dissidents' return.

Morgan's riders succumb to infighting. Alan finds Morgan and helps him realize that there can only be one king and that he cannot simply leave and establish his own kingdom. Morgan and his riders return to challenge for the crown. In a pitched battle between Morgan's forces and Billy's, led by Alan, Morgan is victorious. Billy crowns him king and Morgan crowns the woman he now realizes he loves, Angie (Christine Forrest), as his queen. Morgan tells the promoter to tear up the contracts. Linet finds succor, with Billy's blessing, with Alan. Billy leaves the troupe, accompanied by the Indian, and returns to thrash the crooked cop as he had earlier vowed. While riding again, Billy, weak and hallucinatory from loss of blood from his injury, is struck and killed by a truck. The troupe gathers to say farewell to its fallen friend and king.


Thematically, the story reflects the choice many artists make between a "pure" expression of their vision (whatever it may be), and compromise to achieve commercial success. As an independent director of mostly low-budget films, George Romero is clearly sympathetic to the artist.



I had a big write up about what I thought of this movie but in the middle of it my computer shut off. Let me just say that this film is a bizarre mix of reality and make believe. It clocks in at over 2 Hours and 25 minutes, and it has that Romero "something behind the movie" plot as always. I didnt know what to expect when I saw this but with most of the cast from Dawn and Day of the dead in this film, I had to check it out. Its great for anybody that has ever seen a Renaissance Fair or taken part in one , etc or a war reenactment. I would say it blurs the lines between how people can jump into those other fantasy roles and how they have to go back and live their normal lives. Not to mention it just totally adds in the factor that horses are replaced with motercycles, and adds this badass twist.


I got to be honest, you just don't get to see films like this anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:23 pm 
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Good choice, SVB! :clap:

As a once card carrying member of the SCA {Society of Creative Anachronism} from 1981 ~ 1999, this movie was a must see for many reasons. Also, for any role players {D&D, Warlock, Warhammer,etc} this is also a good film. This was also one of my 1st exposures to Ed Harris - fine actor.

Great visuals and an intriguing storyline.

8!


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:31 pm 
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Knightriders: I've always had a soft spot for this one. When pretty much every movie copies something else and I run across something like this, which is as unusual as a movie can be, I gotta give it props just for that.

I think I first saw this in a theater, about 25 years ago (probably in a 2nd-run outlet). I have the DVD edition which came out in 2000. After seeing this thread, I have an urge to watch it again (there goes 2-and-a-half hours of the day). Also, I think this was the 1st starring role for Ed Harris. Tom Savini was also pretty good - a make-up artist who also dabbles in acting. He made a pretty good 'sort-of villain.' He was also the lead biker in Romero's Dawn of the Dead, another memorable character.


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:40 am 
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Kaptain Kirk wrote:
Tom Savini was also pretty good - a make-up artist who also dabbles in acting. He made a pretty good 'sort-of villain.' He was also the lead biker in Romero's Dawn of the Dead, another memorable character.


He's also great as Sex Machine in 'From Dusk till Dawn.'


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:41 pm 
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Yes, he was. Savini also had a sizable role in the recent Planet Terror, as one of the deputies (and he meets a pretty grisly end - but then, almost everyone in that movie does). I forgot to mention - at least I think this is correct - he also did double-duty as a stuntman; his character takes a big fall in Dawn of the Dead and I'm pretty sure he did the stunt himself.

Anyway, I watched Knightriders again a couple of days ago. Romero imparted a lyrical quality to this one and I think it's one of the few films that actually works with this tone. Most others who try this come off as sappy and contrived, in my opinion, but the lyricism come through in Knightriders - one of the reasons it's unique.

But, I mainly wanted to mention one of my favorite scenes - during the 'epilogue' sequence. Maybe this is common knowledge but if it isn't: near the end, Billy (Ed Harris) tracks down & confronts a fat deputy sheriff (seen in the trailer above) who had wronged him around the midpoint of the film. Again, I'm not sure if everyone knows this or no one has realized this, but anyone else notice the striking similarity between this scene and the epilogue of Superman II ? (of course, you'd have to be familiar with both films).

In Knightriders, Billy finds the fat deputy in a diner and proceeds to kick his ass - a scene designed as a real crowd-pleaser. Near the end of Superman II, Clark Kent returns to the diner where an a-hole trucker had wronged him around the midpoint of the film; Clark Kent proceeds to... well, I don't need to finish, I would think. ;) I still remember how the audience in the theater cheered when the trucker got his comeuppance - in fact, they started to cheer even before Kent reached the trucker; they knew what was about to happen.

Now, the two films were done at close to the same time. Superman II came out in 1980 (in the UK, at least), so it looks to me like Romero may have copied from the Superman storyline. Or, it's just one of those strange coincidences. The scene in Knightriders is a bit more realistic - Billy is not super-powered. But, both scenes have that same sense of powerful wish-fulfillment.


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:55 am 
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A sequel entitled Knightriders 2 has been announced, with a budget of around $1–3 million.[1] The company behind this sequel is Taurus Entertainment, which was also responsible for the critically panned Day of the Dead 2: Contagium and Creepshow III which were both created without Romero's involvement.
:yack:


For the record....probably the worst company when it comes to making movies. Horrible....they wont rest until they bury Romero's name into the ground for some god damn reason


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:51 pm 
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The original - as presented in the opening post - will still be the best.


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:49 pm 
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i might have been content with the ending three years ago but i find myself struggling with the ending as i continue to save and watch my vhs copy of knightriders.. Does Billy innevitably fight the dragon...or just make an example of himself? is he not the perfect example of a selfless suicide in the act of jim jones or evil knieval?..the same man he condemns before his ultimate sacrifice? it just seems so unfortunate..to appreciate a worthless death...in the act of sacrifice...why ed harris why? i am conflicted....ugh


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 Post subject: Re: Knightriders (1981)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:55 pm 
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"im not trying to be a hero...im fighting the dragon!" these lines indiocate the king (billy the king) is not in it for the fame but the glory...as he struggles with the innevitability that notoriety comes with fame and fortune....but why does he do what he does? we dont understand his background...only that he struggles with his background...i have such trouble analyzing his background prior to the film. i imagine george romero made a film in mind for his own imaging...but left certain viewers like me in the dark


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