Friday, April 9, 2010

"The Knight of Jaffa"

Hello everyone, the Historian here, welcoming you back to the Holy Land in the twelfth century. Accompanying me this week, as always, are Ketina, Ronelyn, Schmallturm and Spoo. MiniSpoo was present, but didn't really watch with us this week, as this episode consisted almost entirely of stills and soundtrack. Yes, it's a reconstruction and I must once again thank the good people at Loose Cannon Productions for their work, which makes this all possible. (Go! Order recons! It's free, minus tapes and postage!) This was a bit of an early work for LCP, so no animation or composites or anything, just stills and sound. But if this is the closest we can get to seeing the real thing, I'll take it! And now, let's get to the summary!

Episode summary: First aired 3 April 1965. Richard angrily declares that he will not treat with Saladin, the man responsible for the death of his friends! As far as he is concerned, Barbara can rot in one of the sultan’s prisons until the end of time before Richard will trade with him! Ian is incensed, but the Doctor pacifies him as de Tornebu tries to help his new friends by mentioning that Richard can turn this to his advantage. The Doctor and Vicki pipe in, telling Richard he can use Saladin's "capture of the king" for propaganda. Richard, grudgingly, sees the wisdom in this idea and calls to his chamberlain, then tells the Doctor and his friends that they have done him great service. He begins to reconsider sending a messenger to Saladin when his sister, Joanna, enters. She expresses concern over Richard and de Tornebu just as the chamberlain and his assistant (Thatcher, the thief who sold the merchant the stolen clothes that the Doctor...appropriated) enter and begin to carry the wounded knight off to his bed. Joanna, meanwhile, has noticed Vicki, dressed as a boy. The Doctor, speaking quickly, confirms that Vicki is a young man whose voice has not yet changed, referring to her as "Victor." The chamberlain, on his way out, has noticed Vicki's clothes as well and frowns. The three travellers talk quietly, Ian expressing frustration at not being off to find Barbara and the Doctor mentioning his concern about the chamberlain's scrutiny.

Back in the chamber, Richard and Joanna talk. Richard notices a new jewel his sister is wearing. She tells him it was a present sent to her from Saphadin, although she has done nothing to encourage him. Richard muses on the chivalry of Saladin and his brother, contrasted with the savagry of the battles. He longs for peace, to return to England. He wishes to take Ascalon, but Saladin will not give it up. But, he muses, Saphadin is interested in Joanna...

At Saladin's HQ in Ramlah, el Akir is attempting to bribe an old woman, Sheyrah, with a ring, asking her to bring Barbara to him. She angrily refuses and manages to get away from him just as a Genoese merchant, Luigi Ferrigo enters. He has come from Tyre, believing that the Frankish leader Conrad was attempting to negotiate a treaty with Saladin. Peace means new trade routes. But neither Saladin nor Saphadin will see him. El Akir angrily tells Luigi he is leaving, to return to his stronghold of Lydda. Luigi asks el Akir to arrange an audience with Saladin for him; in return, el Akir demands Luigi get the English woman who'd made a fool of him. They arrange to meet by the stables after dark.

In Barbara's room, Sheyrah helps her to get ready for the night's banquet. Sheyrah shyly asks about the "never-ending story" Barbara is supposed to tell, and then reveals that el Akir is an enemy to beware of. Barbara must escape, Sheyrah says, and then exits to get something. Barbara muses on what to tell for her story, settling on Shakespeare, Hans Christian Anderson and others as Luigi appears at her door, holding his gloves in his hand. He presents himself as a friend, telling her he has a horse in the stables waiting. She asks if Sir William had sent him, but he brushes the question off, putting his gloves down on the table and throwing his cloak around Barbara to conceal her. He picks up his gloves, but accidentally leaves one behind as he hustles her out the door. Shortly thereafter, Sheyrah reenters. Not finding Barbara, she sees the glove on the table and picks it up...

By the stables, Barbara is surprised when el Akir jumps out of the shadows and grabs her. The way is open to Saladin, he tells Luigi...

Back in Jaffa, the Doctor and Vicki help Ian into rather the uncomfortable armor of a crusader. He complains, but the Doctor tells him the king wishes it. Vicki tells him it might mean he'll have a chance to go look for Barbara and the Doctor muses that perhaps Ian will be sent as a messenger to Saladin after all.

In another room, Richard is dictating a letter while eating. The letter is to Saphadin, offering a dowry for Joanna. After all, a marriage alliance is too good an idea to pass up. After he signs the letter and sends it off with the scribe, the Doctor and friends enter. Sure enough, Richard gives Ian the golden belt and tells him to take it to Saladin, asking for the release of William des Preaux and Barbara. He admits that he is sending Ian, rather than one of his own men, because they might not be as amenable to a peace negotiation. Then, realizing he cannot send a man of no import as his representative, Richard knights Ian, who rises as Sir Ian, knight of Jaffa!

Meanwhile, in the robing room of the castle, the chamberlain is talking with the merchant who the Doctor had stolen clothes from. The man confirms the Doctor's description and the chamberlain says they will lay in wait for the Doctor...

Back in Ramlah, Luigi is presenting his case to Saphadin, while Saladin listens behind the curtain. He comes seeking a concession, even though no peace has been concluded. Saphadin says Luigi's reputation precedes him and asks him for advice in another matter. Saladin appears, taking charge. He tells Luigi that a captive, a woman has disappeared, as William des Preaux and Sheyrah enter. Sheyrah says she had left for but a moment, and Barbara was gone. William denies all knowledge, but says he would never have advised a woman to go out alone. When asked for his thoughts, Luigi nervously suggests that she must have had an accomplice, but William dismisses this, believing she was kidnapped. And then Saladin asks Sheyrah about what she found...and she produces the glove, a mate to the one in Luigi's belt! Terrified, he confesses that he brought her to el Akir.

The Doctor and Vicki wish Ian good luck on his journey and he leaves to seek out Saladin. Then the other two make their way into the castle, towards the robing room where they are confronted by the merchant and the chamberlain! The Doctor manages to both talk his way out of the situation--pointing out that he could not have stolen the clothes from both the robing room and the servant--helped by the appearance of the real thief, Thatcher. In the end, the merchant gets paid off by the chamberlain who then goes after his assistant to arrest him. (Please see below; I summarized this step by step in our commentary.)

El Akir and his captive arrive at his stronghold, Lydda. He leaves, telling the guards to bring her along, but she manages to knock one into the other, sending them sprawling as she runs out into the night!

Back at Ramlah, Ian is horrifed as William tells him Barbara has been kidnapped! William says that Saladin believes Luigi's cover story that Barbara had "conceived a passion for el Akir," but William does not believe it for a minute. Nor does Ian and he tells William he will go to Lydda after them.

Barbara runs through the streets of Lydda, avoiding guards. She stumbles and lets out a scream, but then stifles it and continues to run. She ducks into a dark alcove, but a hand appears from behind her and covers her mouth before she can scream....


And now, I'll turn things over to Ketina and her typing/paraphrasing skills!


So now we write about the slide show with sound that we just watched.

Sc: If the glove does not fit you must acquit. That’s all I can immediately think of. And they taunted us with the possibility of slave bikini Barbara again.

S: And we have 12 year old boy Vicki! Although, I do have to say the reconstruction process isn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be.

H: Yeah, I don’t find the recons painful. Ketina sometimes has a problem with them.

S: It helped that this was very talky, so you don’t have to strain.

H: Yes, in Marco Polo you got “ching ching ching” and a caption that said “there was a sword fight, it was very exciting.”

R: I would like to say once again that is demonstrated that the Doctor seems to be allergic to the truth.

H: No, he told the truth.

R: Yeah, but near the beginning he’s talking to King Richard and is lying his butt off.

H: The only direct lie was about Vicki being a boy.

Sc: He’s just generally sleazy at times.

H: Slightly more serious though, as an experience time traveler I think after a while he would realize that telling the truth would get him locked up for being crazy. So he’s always got a story of some kind.

Sc: I liked the line about the ship is in the harbor and is disgorging fruit.

S: I liked the dialog. Everyone is really there, and it’s notched up. It wasn’t all Shakespearian.

Sc: But disgorging fruit?


H: Maybe he’s disgorging things all the time.

R: At least it wasn’t engorging fruit.

Sc: That’s what it did to it in Italy, where they got the fruit from.

H: And what about that Italian villain? He’s a bad greedy guy! I loved how the Genoese merchant was done… he’s a war profiteer!

R: But he’s not a wax mustache twirling moohoohahaha.

K: Everyone else has a bad mustache though.

H: Richard, Saladin, and Saphadin’s fake beards look pretty good.

Sc: But de Tornebu’s is really bad.

H: Spoo, you wanted to say something?

S: El Akir’s makeup… his scar was awesome. And I think the reconstruction enhanced it, since we were just seeing the photos. It looked like he lost his eye.

Sc: He really did lose his eye.

S: I mean the actor.

H: And how about full on action Barbara?

S: Ninja Barbara.

R: But we did get “weak ankles and cry out” scene.

H: She didn’t hurt her ankle.

K: One scream. Count plus one on the scream meter!

S: That’s why I thought of it more as “I blew my sneak check”.

H: She’s freaked out, which is understandable, she’s sneaking, then hits something and stumbles for a second and cries out. And then “oh darn” reaction and runs.

R: But I was thinking seeing the caption that it was more like “women, that’s why we don’t put ‘em in a survival film.”

H: Perhaps the shooting script said “Barbara stumbles and cries out” and that’s where they got the caption.

H: Imagine how cool it would be to be knighted by Richard the Lion heart! You can see it in Ian’s face in the still.

Sc: Or, oh my god, a drunken guy is swinging a sword over my head. I got the impression that Richard was being a lot more peace loving that he is historically. I makes me think he’s up to something.

H: There’s a lot of stuff about this story that is not historical, it’s more mythical.

Sc: I still think he’s up to something.

S: I was convinced that Barbara’s endless story was going to be her recounting her adventures with the Doctor. I was excited that she was planning to tell actual stories.

Sc: Isn’t she a history teacher?

H: Yes, she is.

K: Okay, so explain. What was the bit about the stolen clothes? I got that the Doctor’s argument was that the Doctor couldn’t have stolen the clothes from the Chamberlain and the merchant, so he clearly couldn’t have done both, and totally bluffed them both. But I don’t get where the exchange of money came in.

H: Okay, here’s what occurred. The Chamberlain notices Vicki’s clothes, and knows he used to have them in the castle. He tracks down the merchant…

K: Why would he even think to ask the merchant?

H: I don’t know. We take that as a given.

K: Okay, that sounds like a plot hole to me.

H: A minor one. Okay, so the merchant and the chamberlain decide to lay a trap for the Doctor and wait for him. When the doctor shows up they confront him.

K: Got that.

H: The chamberlain says the clothes were stolen from the castle. The merchant says then the Doctor stole the clothes from him.

Sc: And fails to notice the hole in the argument he’s making.

H: Exactly!

K: Followed it that far as well.

H: So the Doctor says, “if I stole the clothes from the merchant, and the merchant bought the clothes from someone else, then I couldn’t have stolen the clothes from the castle, right?” And the chamberlain says “yes, I suppose” and is a little confused. So then the doctor asked the merchant, “did you pay good money for the clothes?” And the merchant says yes. Opportunely at this moment, the real thief, a servant in the castle, shows up. And the merchant says “that’s the guy I bought it from! That’s the guy!”

K: Ah, okay that’s the part I missed, the first thief showing up.

H: He’s the fruit disgorger guy. Okay, to finish it up, before the chamberlain can go after the thief the Doctor says wait, this merchant paid good money for these clothes.

*Ketina laughs, while trying to type… this now typing this…while laughing*

H: So the chamberlain gives the merchant money for the clothes. Which means the merchant has been paid, has got money, and is thrilled with the Doctor. And the Doctor, by not telling one lie, has managed to talk his way out of the situation. Because he’s just that clever. Although once again he was almost caught because the chamber figured out the clothes were stolen in the first place.

K: Whew!

H: As usual, sets, costumes, awesome!

S: Yeah.

H: And we did have the return of the horse butler.

Sc: I thought the horse effect was really good.

H: There was random horse sounds when they were in Saladin’s tent.

S: Last week it seemed intentional, not random. As though the horse sounds accompanied people into the room.

K: Young Frankenstein-esk. I think I mentioned that in last week’s write up.

H: And, that’s about it.

Ketina here,

Whew! Hard to type while you’re laughing that hard! Anyway, I think we covered most everything. Spoo seemed cool with his first reconstruction. Little Spoo was entirely confused, but he’s only six. And I managed not to fall asleep. :P

Oh, and Richard and Joanna? Totally doing it!

- Ketina.


Hello everyone, the Historian again, realizing we completely forgot the plot point of Richard essentially selling Joanna for peace! I know that, historically, this was mused for a very short period, but she was horrified at the thought of marrying a Muslim. As I've mentioned, I haven't seen this story before (one of the few!), but I have to imagine that letter will come back to haunt Richard...can't wait to find out next week! Until then, I remain



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