The directors must have been very interested in this story which was remade twice ;the first version was a 1922 silent movie co-directed by Julien Duvivier;the second was Roger Richebé's ;a third one was produced in the early fifties.
I have not seen the two other versions,but this one holds up very well and once more ,on can wonder why Roger Richebé was an object of fun for most of his colleagues .Based on novel,its screenplay was written by Marcel Pagnol.
As a line reads,it's a fragment of history ,taking place in 1822 ,during the Restoration (Restoration);The "Demi-Solde" were campaigners who remained faithful to Napoleon after his fall in 1815.The king (Louis XVIII) awarded to these former soldiers a half- pay (hence their nickname) 1822: Napoleon had died the year before and the "Demi-Solde" were still dreaming of putting back Napoleon II (L'Aiglon) on the throne .He was a prisoner in Austria ,in the safest prison :his maternal family.
The Demi-Solde continued their fight against the "usurpator" .What's particularly interesting is that today's audience can't hardly side with Napoleon's supporters or the monarchists .But these veterans and their struggle lost in advance is somehow desperate and endearing.
Good scenes: -the duel ,during which the conspirators keep on talking over the clash of the blades -the treacherous woman ,in her lover's mansion,trying to find papers to compromise him -the general ,who changed sides,but who bravely defends his old mates during the trial -the execution,the condemned persons commanding themselves the fire squad.
When you have seen this fine movie,you will ask yourself one more time why Roger Richebé...Well I wrote this before!
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