Exploring Ridley Scott's Directorial Debut, 'The Duellists'

Harvey Keitel and Matthew Guinness in The Duellists

Photo: Paramount Pictures With all the excitement surrounding Ridley Scott's upcoming film Prometheus marking the director's much anticipated return to the world of Alien, which he brought to life back in 1979, I've heard many people reference Scott's 1977 directorial debut, The Duellists. Strangely I've heard it mentioned not only because Scott has a new film coming out, but I've read it mentioned in articles discussing its accomplished cinematic swordplay. My interest was piqued and I took to Netflix. Based on Joseph Conrad's 1908 short story "The Duel" (download it for free here), which itself is based on a true story, The Duelists centers on Armand d'Hubert (Keith Carradine) and Gabriel Feraud (Harvey Keitel), a pair of officers in Napoleon's army. The film begins with Feraud in a duel with a man we'll later learn is the nephew of the Mayor of Strasbourg.
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Blu-Ray Review: Kind Hearts & Coronets – Timeless Comic Masterpiece About Class, Sex & Murder

Has there ever been a more charming psychopath than Louis Mazzini? He is intelligent, diplomatic and witty, and able to ingratiate himself into almost any of Edwardian London’s social circles. He also, to his shame, is poor. His mother was cast out by her wealthy family – the D’Ascoynes, dukedom and all – when she married an Italian opera singer; he dies upon first seeing the infant Louis. That could be just a coincidence, or just a gag. Or it could be something to do with the fact that Louis is – if anyone were to describe him in such vulgar terms – evil.

One of the remarkable things about Kind Hearts and Coronets, the classic 1949 black comedy from Ealing Studios, is how easily the audience finds itself on Louis’s side; despite being made in post-war Britain and set in the early 20th century, its own lack of sentiment has preserved
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Kind Hearts and Coronets Blu-ray Review

Re-released into the nation’s cinemas last Friday Kind Hearts and Coronets is perhaps the most famous of Ealing’s celebrated comedies, detailing the retribution and enforced inheritance of a Dukedom via the macabre fate of the various ill-natured and intemperate members of the D’Ascoyne family.

It’s a beautifully pitched comedy of terrors, leading us through an increasingly dark labyrinth of revenge, double crossing love matches and murder in the most polite fashion.

Dennis Price leads us as the outcast Louis Mazzini, who seeks to avenge his Mother’s rebuff from her rich family but pruning the family tree to allow for his succession to the position of Duke of Chalfont. Stir into the mix a childhood sweetheart spurning the poor Louis’ proposal in favour of a ridiculous, but rich, man and the universe conspires for the diabolical plan to unfold.

Every time I watch this film I
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