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Wednesday July 17th 2024

The Adventures of Quentin Durward | 1955

The Adventures of Quentin Durward location: Bodiam Castle, Sussex
The Adventures of Quentin Durward location: the ‘Scottish’ castle of Lord Crawford: Bodiam Castle, East Sussex | Photograph: iStockphoto / David Garry

Brash, colourful period romp from a Walter Scott story, with a host of British character actors strutting their stuff.

A somewhat wooden Robert Taylor (now there's a change) is the titular Durward, sent by Lord Crawford (camp old Ernest Thesiger) to woo Countess isabelle (Kay Kendall). Robert Morley is the devious monarch Louis XI and George Cole the devious gypsy spy Hayraddin. Credibility is not the film’s strong point.

Lord Crawford’s ‘Scottish’ castle is Bodiam Castle, a medieval fortress near Robertsbridge in East Sussex. The 14th century castle crops up (though briefly) as one of the few non-Scottish locations of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The French locations, however, actually are in France. The Duke of Burgundy’s chateau at ‘Peronne’, where Durward first meets Isabelle, is the Chateau de Chambord, eleven miles east of Blois in the Loire Valley. The largest of the Loire châteaux, Chambord was built by François I between 1520 and 1535.

The Adventures Of Quentin Durward filming location: Chateau de Chenonceau
The Adventures Of Quentin Durward location: the court of Louis XI: Chateau de Chenonceau | Photograph: Wikimedia / Wladyslaw

The court of Louis XI at ‘Plessis les Tours’ is another Loire château, Château de Chenonceau, six miles southeast of Amboise. Built earlier than Chambord (1513-21) by tax collector Thomas Bohier, it was later owned by François I, then Henri II – who gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers – until it was snatched back by Henri’s widow, Catherine de Medici. Its gallery is built out on arches over the River Cher.

More scenes were filmed at Château de Maintenon, twelve miles north of Chartres, the home of Madame de Maintenon, who was the mistress of Louis XIV. It’s now a golf club.