16 June 2007

Sutcliff on film? Eagle of the Ninth (November 2000)

The Roman Eagle has landed: Saturday Premiere
Daily Telegraph, The (London, England)/Financial Times
November 25, 2000
Estimated printed pages: 1

BRITAIN has never had its own Ben Hur. However, hot on the heels of the success of Gladiator, this may change.

Duncan Kenworthy (the co-producer of comedy films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill) has just bought an option on Rosemary Sutcliff's classic children's book The Eagle of the Ninth. Based on the true story of the lost Ninth Hispana Legion, which disappeared somewhere north of Hadrian's Wall in the second century AD, it is a romping tale about a young legionary, Marcus, who ventures into Scotland to look for the missing soldiers, including his father, and their standard.

It is an odd project for Kenworthy but it will be good to see the Romans in Britain for once. Let's just pray that the producer does not want to cast Hugh Grant as Marcus . . .



Eigon said...

Sorry to say that the story of the Ninth Legion marching into Scotland and disappearing is no longer held to be true.
When Rosemary Sutcliff was writing, it was conventional scholarship, but more archaeological work has been done since then, and the Ninth Legion has left traces in other places, and later than the date it was supposed to have vanished.
It's a pity - the original story had all the romance - and Rosemary Sutcliff's version of it is still brilliant.

Sandra said...

As an archaeologist, I am well aware that her history is not correct (tile stamps have been found in the Netherlands, which show that the legion moved on). However, as you say, it does not diminish the story or the quality of the writing.

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