Good historical romance seems to have been lost to most film lovers
Revolutionary drama from the pen of Rafael Sabatini best known as the author of the Captain Blood books is good but a decidedly un-swashbuckling affair. The plot of the film has Deputy of the Revolution Varenes saving the life of Cleonie from the guillotine at the last possible moment.The deputy clearly has feelings for the girl and has rescued her to keep her safe. To that end, he has her masquerade as his baby faced aide as he heads to the south to spread the Revolution. They stop in a village that is watched over by the Marquis of Corbal, a nobleman loved by those he rules over. Tensions rise as Varenes tries to spread the cause, Cleonie tries to break free to see her mother and the Marquis tries to keep the madness from Paris in check. Complicating matters is the Marquis' discovery of Cleonie's true sex, sparking further romantic entanglements.
Good looking romance is something that is decidedly out of the ordinary. Opulent and well acted this is clearly a lavished production that looks so good its amazing almost no one has ever heard of it.(I had never run across the film until I found it at a table at a nostalgia show.) The film feels like it was filmed way back when something that most films from the time of its production never do (They are decidedly Hollywood in feel). The cast is very good including an almost unrecognizable Noah Beery as Varenes friend, a sergeant in revolutionary guards. For the most part this is a really good little film.
If the film has any flaws its that the plot of the novel seems to have been reduced too much in the translation. We simple don't know a good chunk of the back story of several of the characters so we don't get a complete sense of who many of these people are. You can get a sense from watching the actors on the screen that there is a whole other life thats barely hinted at.
Still this is a film thats worth searching out. Its a little undiscovered or half forgotten gem.
Between 6 and 7 out of 10
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