In 1465, the honorable but penniless Scottish knight Quentin Durward (Robert Taylor) goes to France to facilitate a marriage between a rich and beautiful countess, Isabelle of Marcroy (Kay Kendall) who's the ward of Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold (Alec Clunes), and his aging uncle Lord Crawford (Ernest Thesiger). Isabelle wants none of it and flees, and Quentin becomes involved in intrigue at the court of King Louis XI (Robert Morley), who places Isabelle under his protection.
Like Ivanhoe (which was also adapted from a Scott novel) and Knights of the Round Table before it, it was directed by Richard Thorpe, stars Robert Taylor and was filmed at MGM's British Studios at Elstree, near London. It capped off a thematic trilogy, sharing the same chivalric spirit, tone and lavish production values as the two previous films.
The Adventures of Quentin Durward provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: Since the story is set in 1465:
- The "Château of the Duke of Burgundy at Péronne" is actually the Château de Chambord (Loir-et-Cher), the construction of which was started by King François I in 1519 (42 years after the Duchy of Burgundy ceased to exist and 36 years after the death of Louis XI) and completed in 1547. The château is Renaissance style, which had not even reached France yet in 1465.
- The Château de Maintenon (Eure-et-Loir) was first built in the 12th century, but it's been expanded over several centuries, and its 18th century renovations are very visible.
- Arranged Marriage: Quentin's old uncle wants to marry Isabelle, Countess of Marcroy, so he can get hold of her wealth. She refuses, runs away and seeks the protection of Charles' great rival, Louis XI, King of France.
- Brave Scot: Quentin is Scottish, honorable and brave.
- Fancy Dinner: The big feast at the château of the Duke of Burgundy, with plenty of servants each bringing the same meals.
- Historical Domain Character: King of France Louis XI and his adversary, Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold.
- Runaway Bride: Isabelle flees the Arranged Marriage and seeks the protection of King Louis XI of France.