Ivanhoe (Blu-ray Review)

One of the bread and butter best things Warner Archive Collection does is turn out beautiful restorations of old Technicolor produced films of Hollywood yesteryear. On December 14th, they’ll be stunning us with a brand new 4K restoration of the 1952 box office smash Ivanhoe, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Fontaine. Of Ivanhoe, “M-G-M spared no expense and brought their top box-office talent to film this opulent Technicolor® epic to England to film this box-office smash which starred not one, but two Taylors. Related only as studio royalty, long-time leading man Robert Taylor played opposite the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor in this action-packed adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s legendary novel.” The film comes with an Oscar winning Tom and Jerry cartoon as a bonus feature in addition to the trailer (All of which is in HD). You can order yourself a copy of Ivanhoe by utilizing the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom of the page.



1194. King Richard the Lion Hearted is being held for ransom by the King of Austria, and his evil brother, John, conspires to take the throne. But while Robin of Locksley fights as Robin Hood, another man, Ivanhoe (Taylor), risks everything for his king–and for the honor of Rebecca (Taylor), the woman he loves. Gallantry and costumed pageantry combine in this crowd-pleasing nominee for 3 Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. Robert Taylor plays the title role, and Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Fontaine also star in a rousing adaption of Sir Walter Scott’s novel. The film’s jousting tournament is a galloping display of steeds and stouthearted men, with all of this unforgettable story underscored by the unforgettable music of Miklos Rosza.

Ivanhoe is a beautiful medieval costume drama with a some big action sequences. It lavishes in its technicolor beauty with such costumes and set design, radiating off the screen. The film features a story taking place in the realm of The Crusades, in the times of Robin Hood. As a matter of fact, Robin Hood is an active character in this tale. If you’re not familiar with Ivanhoe, but with Robin Hood, you’ll probably really dig this easily.

While the drama in this is top tier of its era to be certain, being very fun in seeing a young Elizabeth Taylor shine, the action in the film is what is quite impressive. There are some jousts and sword duels, but a little over halfway through the picture there is a pretty huge battle which is a terrific spectacle. A castle is being stormed by Robin Hood’s men and it includes lots of arrow firing over the cover of many a swashbuckling sword duel. There’s even an interior sword fight that includes a raging fire. Its all set, staged, choreographed and shot magnificently and worth the time to watch this film alone.

While Ivanhoe isn’t a Michael Curtiz swashbuckler, it will remind you of the best of his efforts. The film proves to be one of the stronger medieval and swashbuckling efforts of its time. Not to mention, with this new Blu-ray, you get to see every ounce of technicolor beauty on display and cherish in the costuming and set design. Ivanhoe is truly a gem to dig up or revisit with this new release.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Ivanhoe debuts on Blu-ray with a new 2021 1080p HD Master from 4K Scan of original Technicolor® camera negatives. And as you can imagine, it looks plenty glorious with this makeover. There are lovely colors abound this image, with a nice vivid appearance in that special way only a technicolor film is able to produce. The image is crisp and contains loads of fine detail, especially on the clothing fabrics and wall decor in the film.

Depth:  This has some great spacing and a nominal depth of field on display, with every set showcasing some great pushback and scale. Movements are smooth and natural with no issues regarding motion distortions of any kind.

Black Levels: Blacks are very deep and natural, showing off some wonderful nighttime and shadow work in the frame. No information is victim to any masking or sinking into the darkness. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are the star of this transfer, which is to the surprise of no one. From whites, to reds, to greens, the colors are very pleasing on the eyeballs. They have great saturation, pop and boldness to them.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial textures and details are clear as day in any given distance in the frame. Light colored facial hairs, wrinkles, moles, freckles and lip textures are all like looking through glass at a person.

Noise/Artifacts: None


Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Ivanhoe has a rather clean and most ideal mono theatrical mix to show off with this new release. While it doesn’t make too much of a squeal on the low end spectrum, it is a well balanced track with great layer and depth.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp and surprisingly void of anything resembling an analog hiss.


Cartoon: The Two Musketeers (HD, 7:24) – An Academy Award winning Tom & Jerry cartoon.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 4:04)


Ivanhoe represents the best of medieval costume dramas from the technicolor era. Warner Archive Collection brings it to Blu-ray, surprisingly late in the game, with an absolutely spectacular new 4K transfer of the film to pair with some impressive audio. With the age and resources of some of these films, tossing a restored Tom & Jerry cartoon with the trailer as a bonus feels like a good gesture. For those looking to pick up Ivanhoe or fans of collecting Technicolor stuff, this likely will not disappoint.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments