Now outstripped by Arsène Lupin,Rocambole was an adventurer whose adventures were so popular it gave to the French language a new adjective:Rocambolesque(=incredible).Ponson Du Terrail,his creator ,belongs to the serialized novels writers such as Eugène Sue (whose "mysteries of Paris" Baroncelli transferred to the screen too) or Adolphe D'Ennery (whose "les Deux Orphelines "was transferred to the screen by DW Griffith as "orphans in the storm").
It is a sequel to "Rocambole" (1948)and there's nothing new under the sun:identity usurpation,a subject which Maurice Leblanc (Arsène Lupin) and later Patricia Highsmith (Ripley) would dramatically improve,chastised innocents,secret passages...which lead to real dungeons where two characters (Venture and his mate) are abandoned to their sad fate :and if it is not clear enough,they find a skeleton in their prison.Brrr!
Rocambole,true to form, passes himself off as a count's heir whereas the unfortunate true aristocrat is sent to a chain gang.His worst enemy ,Baccarat, tries to thwart his ominous plans;both use incredible ways to achieve their ends ,and ,all in all ,one wonders whether love is not stronger than hate .
Pierre Brasseur ,who did not take the screenplay seriously,gives a tongue- in- cheek performance: cynical,smooth,sometimes cruel,artful,he is the main reason why you would watch this stuff ,which is nothing but the talkie Louis Feuillade would have made.
It was to be De Baroncelli's swansong:he died in 1951.
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