A crusader saves a damsel attacked by brigands.
A Tale Of The Crusades (1908)
"A TALE OF THE CRUSADES." — The tent of King Richard First, of England, is pitched in the country near the city of Acre, Palestine. The King is surrounded by knights, soldiers, etc., while at a small table a priest is writing on parchment. He finishes, reads to the King, who bows his head in approval. One of the knights, at a command from his master, leaves and returns in a moment with Philip DeBracy, a handsome young soldier. The King seals the parchment, hands it to Philip and gives him some orders. The young knight places the dispatches in his bosom, salutes His majesty, mounts his horse and rides away. On the other side of Acre, Philip, King of France, occupies a tent similar to that of Richard, and to this place the young knight proceeds and delivers the papers, the French ruler smiles approval, presents a ring to the courier, who withdraws and starts on his return. He proceeds leisurely, and as he dismounts for a drink a body of Arabs spring from behind the rocks and rush upon him. DeBarcy is taken unawares, uevertheless he puts up a desperate fight and wounds several of his adversaries. He is finally overpowered, bound and led away. In the hall of the palace of Acre, Ilderim, the Governor, enters, followed by noblemen of the court, officers, soldiers, etc. He takes his seat on the throne, issues an order to two of his soldiers who depart and return shortly leading DeBracy. The captive’s bonds are removed, the Governor leans forward and addresses him. At the same time, two men advance, one bearing a silver crescent on a cushion, the other a small cross bf wood. Ilderim commands Philip to choose. He dashes the crescent to the ground, seizes the cross, presses it to his lips, then raises it to heaven. The Governor, in a fury, orders tiis men to remove the young prisoner to the dungeon, where he is securely fastened with leavy chains. While asleep, Zuleika, the Governor’s daughter, and her companion, Culnare, enter through a secret passage, carrying a basket of food and wine. DeBracy is awakened and partakes of the refreshments as though on the verge of starvation. Zuleika unfastens his chains and all go out through the secret passage. A servant is waiting with the horses, the two girls embrace affectionately, then Zuleika mounts with DeBracy and the pair dash off. A sentinel observes the escape and a number of Arabs start in pursuit. Across the desert the pair are closely pressed by the Arabs, but eventually reach the camp of the crusaders, who put the pursuers to flight. The young knight and his fair rescuer are warmly welcomed by his companions, while the King takes a chain of gold from his neck and puts it on that of DeBracy.
Source: The Film Index
A well staged and well acted subject. The coloring is delicate and probably as nearly authentic as it is possible to reproduce now. The makers have restrained the long runs which so often mar films in which there is horseback riding and have left the runs about the right length to hold the interest. When the messenger rides away with his new found sweetheart it never fails to arouse applause. The ending is a trifle weak. The pursuers ride close up to the fleeing couple and then disappear. It creates the impression that they are going to fall upon the little group of Crusaders. And when the scene closes without anything of the kind occurring there is a sense of something missing. Unquestionably the public who see these films dearly love to see a scrimmage and in a case like this they feel as though they had lost some of the fun when none results.
Source: The Moving Picture World, November 28, 1908
Library of Congress has some restored paper clips of this film, and they give the idea of the film because they contain almost the whole story, although very truncated. For these old films, that does not do much because many scenes are often pretty slow. From that, I found the quality here to be very good - Vitagraph did put some effort in this film - shown by the use of the horse and riding scenes. Other than that it seems like a damsel in distress and the Crusader for the rescue, totally ignoring the point of the Crusades.