Set during the grand, sweeping Napoleonic age, an officer in the French army insults another officer and sets off a life-long enmity. The two officers, D'Hubert and Feraud, cross swords time and time again in an attempt to achieve justice and preserve their honor.Written by
Greg Bole <email@example.com>
According to the director's commentary, this film attempted to mimic the luscious photography of Barry Lyndon (1975), which itself had attempted to emulate the paintings of that film's historical period. Intentional or not, but Gay Hamilton appeared in both films. See more »
(at around 1h 23 mins) Faraud, loading his pistol, drops a ball into the barrel and then rams it into place. When the ball drops,a metallic sound is heard, indicating that there is no powder in the barrel. See more »
The duellist demands satisfaction. Honour, for him, is an appetite. This story is about an eccentric kind of hunger. It is a true story and begins in the year that Napoleon Bonaparte became ruler of France.
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Opening credits prologue: STRASBOURG 1800 See more »
This /is/ one of the best sword-fighting movies ever made, in that the choreography doesn't look like choreography. In the fight sequences, there's that rare sense of reticence, chance, uncertainty: of men thinking while they fight and trying to stay alive (The battle scenes in Kurosawa seem to me to share the same quality).
What sets this film apart (beyond its sheer visual gorgeousness) is its unremitting humanity and realism. Carradine as the protagonist is a decent enough, reasonable enough chap trying to live by an unreasonable and inflexible code. Keitel as Feraud is a cipher: charged with a wholly unreasonable hate the sources of which we never see. The movie steps through the ups and downs of war, fashion, politics. Though the film's structured around a series of violent combats, the struggle is finally a moral one. One man finally transcends the ideal of honor that's kept him a prisoner for fifteen years. The other is unable to.
This is a movie to watch, and to recommend to one's friends. It's lamentably not available yet in DVD, but can be found occasionally as a rental. Watch it for the costumes, the lighting, and the gorgeous camerawork. Watch it again for a movie that takes on The Big Issues. Brilliant.
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