The Black Rose

Synopsis: In the 13th century, Walter of Gurnie, a disinherited Saxon youth, is forced to flee England. With his friend, the master archer Tris, he falls in with the army of the fierce but avuncular General Bayan, and journeys all the way to China, where both men become involved in intrigues in the court of Kublai Khan.
Director(s): Henry Hathaway
Production: Twentieth Century Fox
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win.
120 min

Medieval England...

the early years of

the reign of Edward I.

A troubled land in those days.

Her great feudal fortress castles,

born in that uneasy time...

stand now as stately


to how unyielding were the enmities

that caused their building.

More than two centuries

have passed...

since the Norman conquests have

brought the last infusion...

of what was one day

to be English blood.

Yet, the bitterness between the Norman

conqueror and the Saxon conquered...

lay still unhealed.

It had separated the neighboring

great houses of Bulaire and Gurnie...

by far more than the scant

few miles that lay between them...

in those days that began

with the death of Rauf...

Earl of Lessford and

Lord of the House of Bulaire.

You there.

What's your business?

- I was sent for by the earl's man of law.

- And what might your name be?

They call me

Walter of Gurnie.

I should have known

you're his son by the look of you.

You had a good man to father you,

I'll say that. You'd best come this way.

Saxons of any breeding won't find much

welcome here now that he's dead.

- What do you want here?

- He wants to see Simeon Bautrie, the earl's man of law.

Oh, so you're the lad

from Oxford.

- I'll take you to him.

- Thank you.

- Walter, my lad.

- Simeon, I'm glad to see you.

You've grown.

Thickened out anyway.

Did you find

your grandfather well?

Well, I- I didn't stop at home.

I came straight here.

I thought-Well, I was afraid

that he'd forbid my coming.

My grandfather never

stopped hating him.

You'll not have eaten then.

Sit down, lad.

I keep bite and sup handy.

Fall to, lad.

Tell me, young scholar...

what have they taught you

in this Oxford of yours?

Oh, numbers.

Ma- Many things.

- I can read as well as you, Simeon Bautrie.

- And write too?

Yes, I know a little Latin

and some Greek too.

And French too, perhaps?

No, I'll not learn

that Norman tongue.

Let them learn ours.

Two hundred years since they came here...

and their court still

clatters with that foreign-

Easy, lad, easy.

You forget this is a Norman house now.

Do you want to

get us hanged?

Simeon, tell me,

why did you send for me?

Reason enough.

- You're in the will.

- By name?

I mean, he acknowledges me

as his son?

Yes, he says you're his son.

I knew he would.

But don't count on

too much from it, lad.

Tell me.

You knew my father well.

He loved my mother,

didn't he...

more than he loved

that Norman... woman he married.

He loved me too.

I know he did.

I remember once

when I was little...

I admired a pair of boots

he was wearing.

They were black

with gold leopards.

He said that he'd

get me a pair like them.

He never did, of course,

but I knew that he wanted to.

If he could have done

what he wanted, he-

he would have made

things different, wouldn't he?

Your father, Walter,

bore a stout lance in battle...

and he was gentle enough

of heart, there's truth in that.

Yes, I think he loved

your mother best...

and that you were

the son he wanted.

But it may be too that he's done you more harm

than good by mentioning you in the will.

There's no love here for Saxons

of any breeding now.

They gave their allegiance

to your father...

and well that Norman wife

of his knows it.

She's already thrown a score of them

into her dungeons...

hostages against trouble.

So I'll not have you come charging into

this business with all your emotion.

You can be present at

the reading of the will...

but only if you'll stand

well back in the hall.

If my lady sees you,

she'll do you harm if she can.



In the name of God, amen.

This is the last will

and testament of Rauf...

Earl of Lessford

and Lord of Bulaire.

First, he gives and bequeaths his soul

unto the Lord God Almighty...

and to all saints...

and his body to be buried

in the chapel ofhis castle at Bulaire.

Item- He wills that

all such manors, lands and rents...

which were descended unto him by way

of inheritance, shall remain unto his heirs...

namely, Eleanor, his wife,

and Edmond, his lawful son.


He wishes to acknowledge

a known truth...

that he had another son,

who, for lack of his name...

is known as Walter of Gurnie,

and for whom he had affection.

To this said Walter of Gurnie...

he bequeaths his black boots of

Spanish leather with the golden leopards.


and of most importance...

it was his wish to will this son's life

into the service of our king...

confident that he will make a fitting and

honorable place for himself in such service.


He gives and bequeaths to

the high altar of the chapel of Bulaire...

- the chalice- - There's no more in

that will concerns that nameless lout!

- Let him take what was given him and leave.

- Why should I?

Shall I crawl out on my hands and knees

because some Norman tells me to?

- Watch your Saxon tongue!

- And I'll serve no Norman king either.

I'm a Saxon. He had no right

to hand me over to a Norman tyrant.

- This is treason!

- And may you hang for it, Walter of Gurnie.

By your leave, my Lady of Lessford.

There's something here, I think,

that touches on a matter...

with which I am

very much concerned.

I should like to

question this young man.

You have no need to ask,

Your Majesty.

It would seem that the prospect

of entering the service of your king...

does not altogether

fill you with pleasure.

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Talbot Jennings

Talbot Jennings (August 24, 1894 – May 30, 1985) was an American playwright and screenwriter. He was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Writing and Screenplay, for Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935 and Anna and the King of Siam in 1946. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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