I guess there is very little I can say about this movie. The one word that describes it for me is "Wow." I'd never read the book. Classics in high school are to be avoided, right.
The story is based on the novel by Alexander Dumas. It tells the story of two brothers born as Siamese twins. In an age when separation meant certain death for the children, the father forces the doctors to separate the twins. The surgery is successful. The brothers are Louis and Lucien de Franchi(Both played by Trevor Eve). They are identical twins, but of different temperaments. Louis is gentle and mild and refuses to take part in a Corsican feud between his family and the de Guidice family. There is also a complication with the feud. Both brothers are in love with Annamaria de Guidice(Olivia Hussey), but she loves Lucien and not Louis. Louis decides to go to Paris where he can work with the government to stop the feud while his brother, Lucien, continues it. Louis is asked by a friend, George, to watch over his wife Emilie(Patsy Kensit) while the man is out to sea with the Navy. The wife's mother is a widow and gets her daughter involved in the night life of Paris where she meets the Count Chateau-Renaud(Simon Ward). Renaud is a cad, who has ruined the reputations of many married women and he does ruin the reputation of the friends wife. Louis is challenged to a duel and Renaud kills him. Because they are twins, both Lucien and Louis are connected physically and emotionally. When Louis is killed, Lucien feels it and sets out from Corsica to Paris to find the killer. There is a sword fight and Lucien gets his revenge. Renaud dies in the same spot that Louis did. But the act of his brother dying for peace, touches Lucien and he begins the process of ending the feud between his family and the de Guidice.
I'm sure the novel has more depth, but the film makers decided to concentrate on the relationship between the brothers and the feud. Though there are some wonderful actors in this movie, the majority of them are lost in the background behind the main concentration of the story. The story was very balanced between action and dialogue sequences. The sword fight was very enjoyable to watch. It probably has to do with the presence of actor Mark Ryan as Bernardo de Guidice. Ryan has a well known reputation as an actor and stunt coordinator with a specialty with swords.
But of all the actors, Trevor Eve, stole the show. He played two people who were different in every respect. Louis was mild to the point that very few persons would notice him in a crowd. Lucien was emotional and charismatic. And it was Lucien who grew the most as a character.
I do recommend this movie, if you can find it. My copy was a gift from a friend. There has to be a way for the fans of this movie and others to get the BBC to understand that there is a market out there for much of it's tv single and mini-series.
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