Film: Knights and Emeralds pg rating Year: 1986
Knights and Emeralds DVD Cover
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Drama / Romance
Director: Ian Emes
Starring: Warren Mitchell, Tracie Bennett, Beverly Hills, Christopher Wild

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Knights and Emeralds Synopsis - Knights and Emeralds is set in the West Midlands of the UK, and centres around Kevin, a drummer in a marching band consisting entirely of white youngsters. A lot of his best friends at school are in a rival marching band consisting entirely of black youngsters. Kevin's loyalties are constantly spilt between his band and his friends. He is also struggling to choose between two girls - one from each band - who are vying for his attentions. Kevin decides to try out for the rival band that all his friends are in. But which band and which girl will win out in the end?

Review of Knights and Emeralds - If John Hughes (The Breakfast Club etc) was English, and wanted to make a film set in the West Midlands about the divisions caused by a perceived racial divide (rather than the perceived divisions between rich and poor as portrayed in many of his films), then this is the film he may have made. The plot sounds rather trite, but in reality Knights and Emeralds very skillfully marches past typical teenage flicks, to deliver a very good attempt at tackling both the troubles of growing up and the threat of racism. Being a film aimed at the teenage market, it of course doesn't tackle the matter of racism in a particularly hard hitting way (even for the times it was made in) one could imagine what would have been done with the plot in the hands of, say, the director Alan Clarke. But, for the fact that it is not tackled in a hard hitting way, the underplayed reality seems to come through much more powerfully, and, within it's subtle narrative, it delivers its observational message that such divides are artificial and maintained out of fear, hatred and ignorance. In fact, it is a message so deftly played out within the underscore of the story, that I am struggling to think of another film that has tackled the issue as magnificently well as is it has been here. Safe to say the the film itself was way ahead of its time. That it is practically unknown, and even TV tends not to show the film due to its depiction of racial tensions, is a real shame, for it is a very good and "worthy" (in the best way) film that deserves to be seen. This is a film that could only have been made in England in the 1980's, but in terms of low budget teen-orientated drama-comedies with more than a bit of substance and relevance, then this is really a very good film indeed.
The reasons I recommend Knights and Emeralds are: 1. A very good and worthy story. 2. An excellent soundtrack of mid 1980's pop - which includes a particularly excellent song called "Something Special" by Stephen Duffy and Sandii.