Russian Prince Florizel experimenting with "English Style"
There is foregoing film to famous Russian Holmes series with Vasily Livanov. If I can, I would show this film as the prologue to the series of Great Detective, as some background plot that has been in same British Empire and old Victorian times. I say of 'The Adventures of Prince Florizel'. The both movies are fastened together with not only "a common meaning" of Victorian style, but also with a birth certificate: both films were born in the same LenFilm studio in 1979.
If you carry out a poll: "Who is closer to Sherlock Holmes Prince Florizel or Jack-the-Ripper?" Russian audience is likely to choose refined Prince. English audience, I think, to choose the maniac-murderer. You can find a thousand and one explanations for this divergence: from Marxist to the Freudian. The main answer, apparently, is what roads Western and Soviet cinematographies went on. LenFilm studio has adhered Conan Doyle's and Stevenson's heroes so tightly to each other as both Holmes and Watson can be named a double star system in accordance with Astronomical measure.
Holmes watched the fate of the blue carbuncle reading the same newspapers as well as Florizel did, who hunted for the Rajah's Diamond. They could find themselves in the neighbouring arm-chairs of the same Club, but for Englishmen a club is like a second home. Seining from Leningrad of 1979, foggy London of end 19th century seemed as a common home as for heroes of the stories by Conan Doyle, Stevenson, Jerome (Jerome's stories were adapted on Leningrad's studio in that time too), as for heroes of the stories by H. G. Wells, for grew old heroes of the novels by Wilkey Collins and Dickens.
If in Sherlock Holmes series, the main Victorian signs are the Canon details: the elegantly bended pipe of Holmes and his collars-poppers with irreproachable ties, - in Florizel film the costumers and decorators were more freely in own experiments. Florizel proved to be a dandy testing with own attires a durability of Victorian fashion. That's all the snow-white cambric shirts, silk neck-ties, red satin sashes, long wigs, gloves of various colours, - it is like the risky play in dandy-ism, into which mixed, maybe, a national colour of Bacardi, maybe, a mischief and adventurism of the prince. So, the most Englishness characters are the servants of Florizel. Dressed in the black frock-coats and bower-hats, they look like foursome from The Beatles especially when they commit some tricks on behalf of the prince. Instance, when they send the disabled criminal (who is confined on a wheel-chair) off Bahamas with the balloon. It will be in time to re-watch the innocent mischief of George, Paul, John and Ringo in film 'A Hard Day's Night' Indeed, His Highness throne Prince Florizel of Bacardi is not an Englishman, but without a doubt, is an Anglophile. Judging by his freeness manners in London, judging by he wanders around the dens of iniquity, and how without consideration, he controls the fates of British citizens, substituting with himself the local justice,
he is completely not a casual caller prince from Bacardi, but
disguised himself Prince of Wels. By the way, committed by the filmmakers the substitute of homeland, - Stevenson wrote that Prince of Bohemia, but the director registered him in unknown Bacardi, - it made Florizel more imaginary and more an English character.
In the stories, the prince has not detailed character; there are merely a cloud of boundless charming and a gentleman codex (true, it's first-rate) he is a man of Honour, he is ardent and rich man, but has the democratic manners (in royal meaning, of course), he adventures out of a love to Art (like Sherlock Holmes too). In spite of own kind temper, he exists, keeping his distance from a reader, leaving to the events to leak and to the characters to commit the stupidities on themselves In the film, the prince found not just flesh and blood, but also the temperament of actor Oleg Dal. From a mature man prone to stoutness, - as Stevenson portrayed him, - he transformed into an elegant, shapely, rather young than mature, the prince. In his character, a nervous mainspring has pulsated, about which you couldn't guess if it's to judging by the bookish Prince Florizel, who looked like a cake.
While you are reading the Stevenson's stories, there is great chance of a literature fellow, a poet and dandy Oscar Wild coming into your head. The film goes much further: Florizel-Dal as if is Robert L. Stevenson himself, especially dressed in one of the wigs of the prince. By the way, he has a few wardrobes of the wigs and costumes as it must be for an actual dandy. It is to say that at the same time, at the same film studio, an analogical case with Watson-Solomin has been. The actor was approved for the role since he was just like Conan Doyle.
But the most striking is not the appearance of Dal-Florizel. Both Stevenson and Dal turned out be similar as the individuals. Both are ultra-perfectionists in creative work. As Stevenson's literary style, as Oleg Dal's actor performance are extremely spare and clear, but very expressive form. The actor found, may say, a "nerve" of the adventures of Florizel it's a dream to be a powerful and noble Prince from a Tale, but to act freely and hidey in a large, just as a private person. Finally, the literary creator of the prince wined this right, but his health was destroyed with a merciless writer working, and Stevenson passed away premature being 44 old, twelve years after the Florizel stories published. Oleg Dal earned a very little and died being 40 old one year later on the TV premiere, though in the end he managed again to open slightly a door in Victorian England he voiced over Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes film.
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