Cinema of Swords is a combination history, handbook, and love letter to nearly four hundred movies and television shows featuring swashbucklers: knights, pirates, samurai, Vikings, gladiators, outlaw heroes like Zorro and Robin Hood, and anyone else who lives by the blade and deals with their problems at the point of a sword.
As much as swordplay seems a mainstay of current pop culture—whether Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings or Star Wars—swashbuckling was if anything even more ubiquitous through Hollywood’s classic period, from its foundations in the Silent Era up through the efflorescence of fantasy films in the ‘80s. With a huge cinematic backlist of classics now available online and on-demand, Cinema of Swords traces the roots and branches of this unruly genre, highlighting the classics of the form and helping fans discover new gems they never knew existed. With wry summaries and criticism from swordplay expert Lawrence Ellsworth, this comprehensive guidebook is perfect as a reference work or as a dazzling Hollywood history to be read end-to-end.
Lawrence Ellsworth is a writer, editor, and translator of historical fiction and an acknowledged expert on the history of swashbuckling in literature and film. In addition to his new translations of Alexandre Dumas’s Musketeers cycle—which has brought contemporary English editions of these classics into print for the first time in over a century—he is the author of The Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure and historical adventure pieces for The Huffington Post and Literary Hub.