HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Anbessa
Man in Grey, The
   
 
Newest Articles
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
   
 
  Black Tulip, The Double Delon
Year: 1964
Director: Christian-Jaque
Stars: Alain Delon, Virna Lisi, Adolfo Marsillach, Dawn Addams, Akim Tamiroff, Laura Valenzuela, George Rigaud, Francis Blanche, José Jaspe, Enrique Ávila, Robert Manuel
Genre: Comedy, Action, Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: On the eve of the French Revolution in June of 1789, in the town of Roussillon, foppish aristocrat Guillaume de Saint Preux (Alain Delon) leads a double life as a masked bandit known as the Black Tulip. Since the Black Tulip only robs nasty, self-serving aristocrats the poor, oppressed peasants see him as a hero. The chief of security, Baron La Mouche (Adolfo Marsillach) is certain Guillaume is the man in black. When ambushed on the road, he scars Guillaume's face so he can expose him in public. But Guillaume calls on his younger brother Julien (also Alain Delon) to assume his identity and maintain the facade.

Although ostensibly based on a novel by the French king of the swashbuckler Alexandre Dumas, La Tulipe Noire (The Black Tulip) merely lifts characters and concocts an entirely new plot with no connection to the literary work. Despite that the film stands as one of the finest costume adventures of all time. Though lesser known than director Christian-Jaque's much beloved classic Fanfan la Tulipe (1952) (what is it with French swashbucklers and their obsession with tulips?), the film was very popular in its day and remains a quintessential vehicle for iconic French actor Alain Delon. He is at his most dashing and charismatic here, not to mention ridiculously handsome. At the time Delon was known primarily for portraying very intense, brooding characters and took on the dual roles of Guillaume and Julien to prove both his range as an actor and skill with light comedy.

Supposedly Christian-Jaque was something of a taskmaster and pushed Delon to his limits but the results speak for themselves. With remarkable dexterity Delon differentiates between two brothers with very different personalities. While rakish, cynical daredevil Guillaume is full of swagger and bravado, Julien is far gentler, kinder and open-hearted, almost childlike in his idealism and honesty. The multi-authored plot, credited to five writers including Christian-Jaque, puts a neat twist on the classic Zorro scenario, a role Delon went on to play a decade later inspired by fond memories of this movie. For once the villain immediately realizes the inept dandyish aristocrat is really the masked avenger, only in this instance he is only half right. The real twist is when Julien discovers Guillaume could not care less about aiding the oppressed peasants or the impending revolution. He is a self-serving scoundrel robbing rich folks for kicks. Appalled, Julien defies his brother and sets out to become the hero the people deserve.

In that endeavour Julien is greatly aided by a spirited young peasant girl named Caroline, known as Caro for short, played by Virna Lisi. Aside from being one of cinema's great beauties, Lisi was also a remarkably gifted actress. As such her character stands out from the stock damsels in distress more routinely featured in costume adventure films and has much more to do. Despite looking every inch a woman, Caro was raised like a boy. She can fight, tame a horse and outsmart bad guys as well as any male hero. The relationship between Julien and Caro is well drawn, thoroughly charming and brings something special to the film. It is she who teaches the slightly fey and uncertain Julien to be a better swordsman. In the process they fall in love much to the initial displeasure of her revolutionary-minded father Pantin (Francis Blanche). The film proves equal parts drawing room farce as swashbuckling adventure, dealing with potentially dark material with a disarmingly light touch. Characters trade witty banter and are almost always laughing or joking and cordial towards even their most hated enemies.

As a director Christian-Jaque was routinely criticized for favouring light and breezy fare like this at a time when the Nouvelle Vague were redefining French cinema. Yet there is a lot to be said for his talent for maintaining a sense of playfulness and fun throughout this thoroughly agreeable romp. It is a skill that escapes many filmmakers that tackle the genre with next to no finesse. Filmed in sumptuous Super 70mm by the great cinematographer Henri Decaë, the spectacular scenery provides an epic backdrop for the dynamic swordplay and the whole production exudes panache and charm. They really don't make them like this anymore.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1750 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: