Based on satirical short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about a vain, egotistical Etienne Gerard, a French brigadier serving during the Napoleonic Wars. He thinks he's the best soldier and lover that ever lived and intends to prove it.
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During the Napoleonic Wars of 18th century Europe a French Hussars Colonel is entrusted by Napoleon to be his special messenger.The colonel is sent to meet French Marshal Massena who is besieging a Spanish fortress occupied by British forces and give Massena a secret dispatch from the Emperor.Colonel Gerard accepts the task and prepares himself for any type of enemy or obstacle barring his way to Morales Fortress.The only kind of enemy Colonel Gerard is not prepared for is a beautiful Spanish seductress in the person of Spanish Countess Theresa Morales.Countess Morales is the leader of the local Spanish guerrilla forces fighting alongside the British against Napoleon.Her secret task is to seduce Colonel Gerard in order to steal the secret dispatches he carries for Marshal Massena.Not only French Colonel Gerard but also British Colonel Russell falls for her Spanish charms.The two rivals are ready to duel each other to death for Countess Theresa Morales' love and for their respective ... Written by
The Adventures of Gerard is a somewhat silly romp set during the Napoleonic era featuring that career-went-nowhere semi-sexy Brit Peter McEnery. McEnery is exceptionally handsome in a rakish kind of way -- in this movie, he always looks slightly unclean, like a 1970s porn star, sporting as he does the cheesiest of mustaches. But he keeps a twinkle in his eye, and his physical comedy is well-polished. He has a really nice body from the waist up, but the skinniness of his legs is reinforced by the military uniforms he wears in this movie, which are extraordinarily high-waisted.
McEnery as Gerard plays some kind of messenger, a low-ranking French officer ferrying missives among the regiments of the French army occupying Spain. Hilarity ensues, mostly involving Claudia Cardinale as a sexy Spanish lass doing her best Sophia Loren imitation, with pouty lips and unkempt tresses. At one point, she is (thinly) disguised as a boy, but McEnery sees through her disguise (how could he not?!) and proceeds to seduce her (how could he?!). See what I mean about hilarity ensuing? Spain itself looks like the Old West as envisioned by Sergio Leone. And the movie will win no Oscars for Sound Effects Editing. I swear you can visualize the sound guys clapping coconuts together in the booth, timing their clangings to the fourfold footfalls of the equine cast.
This is a fun film. With its tongue-and-cheek dialog ("The Emperor himself approved my mustache!"), none-too-subtle sex humor, vigorous visual gags, hairbreadth escapes and coincidences, broad stereotypes (the English and their tea! and there is a whole fox-hunting sequence), and the time-honored technique of directly addressing the camera (which is a technique I like, when done well, which it is here), it is a genuine hoot. And McEnery has a subtlety about him. He can do a lot with a twist of his mustache or a raised eyebrow. He does sexy-stupid really well. Look for that all-purpose ethnic Eli Wallach as Napoleon.
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