HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Fanfan la Tulipe Buy this film here.
Year: 1952
Director: Christian-Jaque
Stars: Gérard Philipe, Gina Lollobrigida, Marcel Herrand, Olivier Hussenot, Henri Rollan, Nerio Bernardi, Jean-Marc Tennberg, Geneviève Page, Sylvie Pelayo, Lolita De Silva, Irène Young, Georgette Anys, Hennery, Lucien Callamand, Gil Delamare, Gérard Buhr
Genre: Comedy, Action, Historical, Adventure
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 18th Century France wars were fought as they are in every century, but there was something more egalitarian about them back then, the only sport that kings and peasants could each take part in. Of course, if you thought that meant they were equal in their endeavours, you would probably be higher up the class ladder than lower down, as it was the peasantry who would be recruited and more often than not killed while the kings and generals merely ordered them to their doom. However, there are those who would not wish to be caught up in this endless cycle: take Fanfan la Tulipe (Gérard Philipe) for instance, he's never happier than when he is enjoying a roll in the hay with a pretty lady - just pray her father never finds out.

For a long while, swashbucklers in cinema would arrive in waves of popularity, and every time it looked time to count them out another huge success would hit the box office, this being the case with director Christian-Jaque's revival of the old nineteen-twenties silent adventure Fanfan la Tulipe. There was something defiantly tongue in cheek about this, mixed with a wordly wise demeanour, that appealed to a Europe that had been well and truly sick of war ever since 1945 when the last massive conflict ended, yet somehow the citizens were seeing its effects drag on into the fifities leaving everyone feeling very weary. Then along came a film that called out all that patriotic bullshit that had gotten them into this trouble in the first place.

It made a star not only of Philipe, but of his leading lady as well, for Gina Lollobrigida appeared as the woman who realises she loves Fanfan after posing as a gypsy and reading his palm. What she told him was nonsense, purely invented to get him to join up with the army that her father is high up in, but he believes her claim that he is set to marry a princess and be a nobleman even after she owns up and informs him it was a big fib. Thus the theme of useful lies was introduced, as this particular example was useful to the story as without it Fanfan would have been forced to settle down with the young lady whose virginity he had recently taken, and his roguishness was an essential part of his character.

You can't have a loveable rogue who bends to the will of those less wily than he is, after all, and there was no way Fanfan was going to indulge in anything less than an escapade, with swordfights, quips and romance to contend with every step of the way. Historical romps thus became big business across European cinema well into the sixties, with regular sparks of interest from then on, though for many it was the works from this era that represented the genre at its zenith. But truth be told, while this was an important film in the entertainment industry of its day and how influential it became, it was not necessarily the finest of its kind, for there was something undeniably a shade too pleased with itself about the enterprise, as if someone during its production had pointed out how smart it was and it was falling over itself to prove it.

Not that there was nothing to enjoy, far from it, but its self-confidence as embodied by its titular swordsman did grate a little the further it progressed. Philipe was appropriately dashing and charismatic, Lollobrigida looked luminous (and sported a more revealing décolletage than you would get in Hollywood movies, another reason for her sudden and loyal fanbase), and the supporting cast were all well-chosen, yet the relentlessly self-satisfied mood, as if nobody had ever pointed out the hypocrisies of war before, took away from the more diverting elements. Not that it needed scenes where everyone sat down and lectured one another on the lessons they were learning, it exposed the privileged classes' callousness born of entitlement all too well, but it was a rather one note experience as these things went, meaning you had the measure of it early on and were not likely to be any more enlightened by the final ten minutes than you were by the first. It didn't lack an edge, perhaps what it lacked was a sense that this was more than just a game, at an ironic remove from the graver aspects of war. Music by Maurice Thiriet and Georges Van Parys.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 954 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: