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The original screenplay for this film was written by Dylan Thomas, and
this version by Karl Francis (a welshman himself) is appropriately
absurd. The element of cross-dressing (not transvestism) involved
earned the film a '15' certificate in the UK, perhaps not warranted by
any other aspect of it.
Although based on true historical events, the real poverty and desperation of the period in which the film is set have been removed, and replaced with the standard characterisation of the Welsh as being unquestioningly religious, and given to mordant humour.
As can be imagined, a plot which involves men dressing up as women gives plenty of opportunities for ribaldry. Peter O'Toole is gloriously over-the-top as a drunken Lord, Simon Dormandy is a buffoonish cavalry officer, and the characters played by Dafydd Hywel, Sue Roderick, Huw Ceredig and even Joely Richardson have some nice earthy witticisms to deliver.
The welsh countryside in which the scenes were shot gives a nice light feel to the film, although it doesn't rain as much as ought to be expected; some local stately homes and buildings (such as Atlantic College) are impressive in the indoor sequences.
A nice evening's fun to watch.
This superb comic film centres around the Welsh rebellions against the iniquitous toll gate trusts and in particular on the exploits of a latter day cross-dressing Robin Hood in the form of Rebecca. The plot is standard fair, the poor (Welsh) standing up to the evil rich (English), in this particular case over the issue of the toll roads which are bleeding the people dry while the toll gate owners get fat and rich on their misery. What makes this exceptional film stand out, is the wonderfully paced, witticism-strewn dialogue, the fabulous characters and the amazing acting. Two performances in particular demand praise: Joely Richardson as the somewhat contrary Rhiannon manages to be both cutely sexy and disarmingly hilarious in equal measure and Peter O'Toole is magnificent as the corrupt magistrate/landlord Lord Sarn, every debauched overblown speech and bon mot being an absolute comic delight, to be quoted ad nausea. An absolute must see film that I just hope makes it to DVD.
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