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‘I Have the Right’
The War Lord (1965) American Drama

“I’m gentle with horses, hawks,” is the best pickup line in cinema, delivered by Charlton Heston as he corners a peasant babe with his black stallion.

Richard Boone is great in this drama about the millions of mundane Delilahs who have weakened mankind as the fleeting possession of their vagina displaces the potential hero’s assent into immortality, “Take ten men to hold my lord or one woman.” This soap operish plot, grafted onto realistic late Dark Age setting essentially projects Modern Degenerate Man’s dog-like lack of sexual self-control into a stark page of our past.

The best thing about this movie is the accurate depiction of the Norman knights. The storyline itself is a sorry soap opera.

A third aspect of the film is the compromise between pagan and Christian culture. For this period and locale it might be a little overblown, but in Prussia and Lithuania Christianity and paganism would coexist for centuries to come. The actual pagan Christian syncretism would have been more subtle by far.

The writing and acting on the part of the two Norman lords and the brutish squire was witty at least.

On one level, the writing does engage the ideal of “the fantasy” of rights as something that twists the human psyche. This is a nether place as far as honor is concerned, placing honor squarely on the shoulders of society and not the individual and in that way is the study of a floundering hero.

“We are all of us, Father made of the coarsest clay,”and other such well-written lines mostly belong to the younger brother of the Lord, two landless knights set to take up “that cold wife,” his sword, in the name of The Duke, who owns the woods and everything within, The Lord little more than a warden, owner of the cultivated and settled land and its people.

Of course, The Lord takes the woman he wants against all of men’s laws and thereby becomes “a slave of a slave,”bringing down the curse from on high and bringing up the curse from down low.

For a storyline that is essentially The Iliad in a mud ditch—which means a realistic scale for a little war over pussy—the action demonstrates some pretty realistic keep assaults and combat of the age though in a compressed sequence in which the Frisian besiegers suffer terribly.

Masculine Axis: A Meditation on Manhood and Heroism

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