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CINEMA

 1960 to the present day

  •  THE DUELLISTS, by Ridley Scott - 1977



Bonaparte
(Jean-Louis Barrault)
© BIFI
(by kind permission of Madame Jacqueline Aubart)

Désirée Clary (Gaby Morlay)
© BIFI
(by kind permission of Madame Jacqueline Aubart)


Napoleon (Sacha Guitry)
reading a despatch to his marshals
© BIFI
(by kind permission of Madame Jacqueline Aubart)

 Country : UK

 Medium : Colour

 Duration : 95'

 Video : CIC Vidéo - 1997

 Production : David Puttnam

 Scenario : Gerald Vaughan Hughes

 Screenplay : Gerald Vaughan Hughes

 Music : Howard Blake

 Director of photography : Frank Tidy

 Plot : In Strasbourg, in 1800, at the moment when Bonaparte is on the point of embarking upon the second Italian campaign, some of General Treillard's troops kill time by fighting duels. After a serious disagreement between the two soldiers, Armand d'Hubert and Gabriel Féraud, they enter on a ten-year long vendetta. Two of the Consulate's (and later the Empire's) bravest soldiers try to revenge their honour through the German campaign, the retreat from Russia, and the French campaign. All this until the day when the General of d'Hubert's brigade is able to ask Fouché for the release of his worst enemy...

 Cast : Keith Carradine (Armand d'Hubert) ; Harvey Keitel (Gabriel Féraud) ; Albert Finney (Fouché) ; Cristina Raines (Adèle d'Hubert) ; Robert Stephens (General Treillard) ; Tom Conti (the doctor) ; Diana Quick (Laura) ; Gay Hamilton (Madame Féraud) ; Jenny Runacre (Madame de l'Yonne) ; John McEnery ; Edward Fox ; Alun Armstrong ; Maurice Colbourne ; Meg Wynn Owen ; Alan Webb

 Extract : « Armand d'Hubert. - I believe that your Excellency has a list of officers who are to be judged for treason before a special court martial.
Fouché. - It is true that I head the commission which drew up the list.
Armand d'Hubert. - I have come to ask you that the name of General Gabriel Féraud be removed from the list. I have letters of introduction from Marshals Saint-Cyr and MacDonald.
Fouché. - You are asking a great deal. From what they say, this one is a raging Bonapartist.
Armand d'Hubert. - You could say the same of any grenadier in the army. You Excellency is well aware of this. General Féraud is not the sort who could be dangerous to anyone. It is inconceivable that he should be a danger to the State.
Fouché. - He has a vicious tongue. He himself has criticised the list: we can't exclude him. I am well practised in the art of survival. You are not unaware of this, I believe. That is why I mistrust these worthless people who offer their necks to the axe. The simple reason why this list is under my control is because if it wasn't, it is very likely that my name would figure on it too. »

 Review : Even though Napoleon never appears in the film, this is perhaps the best evocation of the military spirit of the First Empire. Whilst the scenario might at first sight appear simple, it nevertheless contains moments of great poetry. The magnificent images and the exceedingly accurate reconstructions (as for example with the retreat from Russia), mark this film by Ridley Scott as a masterpiece. In 1977, the jury of the Cannes Film Festival awarded the director of the film Alien and Blade Runner with a Prix spécial.

 

 
 
 

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