6.8/10
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Royal Flash (1975)

Ne'er-do-well Harry Flashman is coerced by Otto von Bismark into impersonating a Prince.

Director:

Richard Lester

Writers:

George MacDonald Fraser (screenplay), George MacDonald Fraser (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McDowell ... Captain Harry Flashman
Alan Bates ... Rudi Von Sternberg
Florinda Bolkan ... Lola Montez
Oliver Reed ... Otto von Bismarck
Tom Bell ... De Gautet
Joss Ackland ... Sapten
Christopher Cazenove ... Eric Hansen
Henry Cooper ... John Gully, M.P.
Lionel Jeffries ... Kraftstein
Alastair Sim ... Mr. Greig
Michael Hordern ... Headmaster
Britt Ekland ... Dutchess Irma
Richard Pearson ... Duchy Chamberlain
Alan Howland Alan Howland ... Duchy Chamberlain
Bob Hoskins ... Police Constable
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Storyline

Captain Harry Flashman of the British Army is a cad, a coward, and a lecher who always seems to come off inadvertently heroic. While romancing renowned courtesan Lola Montes, Harry is recruited against his will by Otto von Bismarck to substitute for a look-a-like Prussian Prince ostensibly in order to help Bismarck enlarge his hold over German duchies. But Bismarck has something more sinister in mind for Harry and the Prince. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest swordsman of them all! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El cobarde heroico See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Baker had tried to set up a version in the late 1960s. See more »

Goofs

At c.47 minutes Flashman strikes a red ball with his cue. However, in all variants of billiards the cue-ball is white. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Harry Flashman: So, the last thing I have to tell you young fellows is this: play up and play the game, honor your queen and country, mind what your masters tell you, say your prayers each night, keep your minds and your bodies clean, take a cold bath each day, and you'll find you can always look the world in the eye like an English gentleman.
[audience members concurs, muttering "Here, here"]
Harry Flashman: Now my lads, I'm just a simple soldier.
[Audience members murmer objections and so does the headmaster]
Harry Flashman: Yes...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Spoofs The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

Pomp and Circumstance
(uncredited)
Music by Edward Elgar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
rowdy swashbuckling fun with a dream cast!
31 December 2010 | by gregkokkoSee all my reviews

As a fan of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series I have seen this film many times and it's a treat to finally own a widescreen transfer on DVD. Royal Flash is the 1975 film based on the second "Flashman" novel of the same name. It stars Malcolm McDowell as Captain Harry Flashman, Oliver Reed as future German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Alan Bates as Rudi von Sternberg, Britt Ekland as the chilly Princess Irma, and Florinda Bolkan plays the actress/mistress of mad Bavarian King Ludwig. Lola Montez. It also features the best Scrooge ever, Alastair Sim, and a pre-"Roger Rabbit" Bob Hoskins in minor but memorable parts. Fraser wrote the screenplay and the film was directed by Richard Lester. It is very similar in style to their collaboration on The Three/Four Musketeers films of 1973/1974, which also featured great locales, swordfighting galore and an ideal cast. OK, first, the BAD news: although I saw a 1975 preview screening in Ottawa I have never seen the original longer version, which apparently was released and trimmed to 102 minutes shortly after. Sadly, this footage, which apparently featured Lester regular actor Roy Kinnear in some scenes, does NOT appear on the DVD. There are some special features, including the theatrical trailer and a couple of mini-documentaries made around 2004. Another quibble some Flashy purists have expressed is that McDowell is not "stout" enough to play Harry. I think the natural devilment in Malcolm's performance more than makes up for his stature, and they even try to make him broad-chested in the film. I'm a Flashy purist too, and I prefer the tall lancer figure portrayed by Barbosa on the original book covers to the rather fat portraits on the current book covers. Finally, some have objected to the "slapstick" nature of the film, and perhaps these readers are more interested in Flashy's military campaigns than his rollicking amorous adventures. How much you like Lester's use of muttered quips and style of shooting will perhaps guide you: if you like "A Hard Day's Night", "Help!" or the Musketeers films you should enjoy this one. If you're looking for Kubrick, move along. Here's the GOOD news: the widescreen transfer is fine, the outdoor location shots still gorgeous and the movie is great fun. It is still a puzzle to me why such a fine film stiffed at the box office and was hard to find on TV or video for so many years. But you don't even have to be a fan of the books to enjoy this movie, or know the fascinating actual histories of Bismarck or Lola Montes to enjoy the larger-than-life characters. P.S. any resemblance to the classic "Prisoner of Zenda" is entirely deliberate. Eight out of ten stars, only because I hope the "lost" footage has survived and may be available in a (Blu-Ray, please!) version soon.


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