The Sword and the Rose 1953 – Walt Disney

Richard Todd and Walt Disney, July 1952

Richard Todd, the fine British actor  was Walt Disney’s first adult live-action star and his good friend. Todd’s second movie for Walt (after The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men) was The Sword and the Rose, which was filmed in England in 1952 and released in the U.S. in July 1953. I recently acquired this publicity photo for Sword and the Rose which shows Walt with Todd, and with Glynis Johns, Todd’s co-star, around the start of the shooting of that film at the Pinewood Studios. The occasion was the filming of costume tests.

The photo is undated, but it most likely was taken early in July 1952. Walt and Lillian Disney, their daughters, Sharon and Diane  and Lillian’s niece, Marjorie Sewell Bowers, sailed from New York on the Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday, July 1, 1952. They arrived at Southampton on Sunday, July 6, and proceeded to the Dorchester Hotel in London. The Hollywood Reporter for July 17, 1952, in a dispatch from London dated Friday, July 11, reported:

Walt Disney arrived in town this week and got right down to work on his new British picture, “The Sword and the Rose.” Already he has visited Pinewood studios and had conferences with producer Perce Pearce and writer Lawrence Watkin, inspected art director Carmen Dillon’s set designs and given artists’ and make-up tests the once-over. After expressing his complete satisfaction with the pre-production planning and progress to date, he took a quick look at the sound stage where the first set is being built in readiness for interior shooting to start Aug. 5. This set, on which the opening scenes will be filmed, depicts part of the grounds and battlements of Windsor Castle in 1515 during the early years of Henry VIII’s reign. Location shooting will be done by a second unit at Wilton Park, Beaconsfield, about 20 miles out of London, and will start next Monday.

The Disneys and Marjorie Bowers left Europe on Monday, August 25, 1952, sailing from Naples, Italy, aboard the Independence, and arrived in New York on Wednesday, September 3. I don’t know if they flew or took the train to Los Angeles, but, in any case, Walt was back in his Burbank office the following Tuesday, September 9, the day after Labour Day.

Muriel Marjorie Sewell Bowers, daughter of Lillian Disney’s sister Hazel Sewell and the stepdaughter of Walt’s longtime employee Bill Cottrell, married Marvin Davis, one of Disneyland’s key designers, in 1955. He died in 1998. Marjorie Davis died in December 1999, at the age of 83.

The Picture below shows Walt Disney arriving here in 1949 for the making of Treasure Island

1949 – Accompanied by his wife and daughters – Diane, 16 and Sharon, 13 – Hollywood film producer Walt Disney arrives at Southampton aboard the Cunard- White Star liner ‘Queen Elizabeth’. Disney has come to Britain to film ‘Treasure Island’.

The Sword and the Rose was the third film made with the locked revenue from Disney films released in the U.K. during the war. Many of the people responsible for making the film also worked on the previous British Disney film, The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, including director Ken Annakin, producer Perce Pearce, and star Richard Todd, who played Robin Hood. Glynis Johns was cast as Mary Tudor.
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