In this 2003 remake of the classic 1952 French film, Fanfan la Tulipe is a swashbuckling lover who is tricked into joining the army of King Louis XV by Adeline La Franchise, who tells Fanfan that by doing so, he will eventually marry one of the king's daughters.
Assuming I picked the right version of this film to review, I saw this charming silent serial at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley some years ago. It's been a while, but I remember the movie as having a light, humorous touch, and endearing characters and situations. The story concerns the exploits of a daring young man (played by an actor who is more comical than heroic) who earns his way up in the world through his pluck and talent. Some of the movie will strike modern viewers as unintentionally amusing, but in a winning way. I particularly remember one scene in which Fanfan observes the dressing-room rituals of a bevy of young beauties, who are forcefully backlit. This could have been creepily voyeuristic, but comes across as both innocently sensual and silly. The filmmaker also tried to get a few details of 18th-century life across, though most of the costumes were obviously created in the 20's.
As it is a many-chaptered serial, probably only real silent buffs or 1920's-history fans will want to stick with the whole thing, but a group of friends and I faithfully attended each showing and were fully entertained.
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