Monday, August 8, 2011

365 Movies Day #133 "The Duellists"

Director Ridley Scott had only made one feature prior to giving the world "Alien" in 1979 and "Blade Runner" in 1982 and that was "The Duellists". It's a period piece set in the Napoleonic Wars where due to a perceived slight two French officers entangle in a lifelong feud and a series of duels that may destroy them both. Apparently based on a trues story captured as a short story by Joseph Conrad.

The hero of our story is gentile French officer D'Hubert, played by Keith Carradine (brother of Robert and half-brother to David). Carradine has had an epic career in television and film including roles on Walter Hill's (director of "EXTREME PREJUDICE") "Wild Bill" (in the title role), HBO's "Deadwood", Frank Lundy on "Dexter", "Cowboy's and Aliens" and Tarantino's forthcoming Western). His nemesis in the film is played by Harvey Keitel. Keitel did this film 2 years after his famous role in the film "Taxi Driver" and years before working on another role that would make him famous in the form of "Reservoir Dogs". The rest of his film credits are an amazing list of flicks including "Pulp Fiction" (The Wolf), "The Piano" and "Copland". Surprisingly, this is his first time being featured in the blog. The supporting cast is made up of veteran British actors such as Robert Stephens, Edward Fox, Diana Quick, Alun Armstrong, John McEnery and Scotsman Tom Conti.

There are some great sword battles in this and a tension that holds through the entire film. The ending is intriguing and delivers in an unexpected way. What a wonderful way for a world-class director to enter the world of feature film.


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