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The Conscript (1974)
"De loteling" (original title)

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In 1833, when the fledgling Belgian kingdom still fears a Dutch invasion, recruits were selected annually from an age cohort by a draw of lots in each locality. In this grim, then ... See full summary »



(dialogue), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Conscript (1974)

The Conscript (1974) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jan Braems
Ansje Beentjes ...
Gaston Vandermeulen ...
Gella Allaert ...
Katriens moeder
Bernard Verheyden ...
Idwig Stephane ...
Eddy Asselbergs ...
Boef (I)
Leo Madder ...
Boef (II)
Denise Zimmerman ...
Vrouw van kommandant
Rudi Van Vlaenderen ...
Johan Vanderbracht ...
Gilbert Charles
Werner Kopers ...
Marieke van Leeuwen ...
Roger Bolders


In 1833, when the fledgling Belgian kingdom still fears a Dutch invasion, recruits were selected annually from an age cohort by a draw of lots in each locality. In this grim, then contemporary drama by the 'father of Flemish literature', Hendrik Conscience, Jan Braems, a poor and naive farmers-boy, accepts the not uncommon offer by a rich family to sell his lucky ticket (out) to their son for a hefty sum compared to the miserable labor wages at the time. Army life is even harsher then a farmhand's, especially for a Dutch-speaking an-alphabet who simply can't understand his francophone superiors, and Jan's nature is not complacent enough for military discipline even by todays standards, so he soon gets into all kinds of trouble, including gambling his capital away and a venereal disease. When his girlfriend back home goes looking for him, her life is doomed as well. Written by KGF Vissers

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based on novel




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Release Date:

28 February 1974 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Le conscrit  »

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Makes Les Mis' look like a comedy
11 July 2004 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

It's 1833 and every young man in an unnamed Belgian village has to enter the lottery draw to see who joins the army (the so called 'blood law'). Belgian's pride Jan DeCleir portrays Jan Braems, one of the lucky ones, until a rich man talks him into taking his place in the army in exchange for money. Jan accepts and thereby makes the first of many disastrous mistakes. In fact, although the army certainly wasn't easy, it is mostly by his own foolish choices that misery befalls him.

Soon he has lost all his money (his only reason to be there) and a fellow soldier introduces Jan to a hooker who is 'just his size' to cheer him up. Of course bad luck Braems immediately gets a terrible disease. Meanwhile back at home his girl Katrien (debutante Ansje Beentjes) asks for comforting words from a pastor and he tells her Jan ‘probably forgot all about her'. She decides to go see for herself but by doing so his bad luck starts to rub off on her, leading to much misery for both of them before the end.

Based on the novel by Hendrik Conscience (his surname explains it all), this is actually the second film version of 'De Loteling'. Makes you wonder how the 1919 version portrayed the more graphic tragedies presented herein. The pace is slow which makes everything look really authentic, with the possible exception of the early seventies haircuts. Still, who is too say the 1973 uncombed hairstyle was not popular 140 years earlier? The use of music by Handl performed mainly on strings and church organs gives an extra dimension to the recreation of those tragic times gone by.

8 out of 10

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