Saturday, March 11, 2017

'La!' - The Duellists


A favourite movie in our household is Ridley Scott's debut film 'The Duellists', which was based on a Joseph Conrad short story and starred Kieth Carradine and Harvey Keitel. 




To those who've not had the pleasure of seeing the film, it charts the quarrel and careers of two French cavalry officers, Gabriel Feraud and Armand d'Huber, serving in Napoleon's Grande Armee. The two men fight a long succession of duels that span almost two decades, ending in 1816 with the return of the Bourbon monarchy. 'The Duellists' is beautifully filmed, elegantly written and well acted - a real treat to any historical movie buff. We love the film so much that during a past trip to France, Sarah and I purposefully detoured to stay in beautiful Sarlat-la-Canéda, to visit many of the locations which were used in the film (along with its great food and wine!).

Keith Carradin (d'Hubert), Harvey Keitel (Feraud) and film director Ridley Scott on set in Sarlat, France.
The film (and Conrad's short story) are actually based on true events which are more incredible than its adaptations. The characters of d'Hubert and Feraud's were actually Dupont and Fournier-Sarlovèze, whom Conrad disguised slightly, but otherwise the overall story follows the sketch of actual events.

François Fournier-Sarlovèze the true inspiration of Keitel's 'Feraud'
 In 'The Encyclopedia of the Sword', Nick Evangelista wrote:
As a young officer in Napoleon's Army, Dupont was ordered to deliver a disagreeable message to a fellow officer, Fournier, a rabid duellist. Fournier, taking out his subsequent rage on the messenger, challenged Dupont to a duel. This sparked a succession of encounters, waged with sword and pistol, that spanned decades. The contest was eventually resolved when Dupont was able to overcome Fournier in a pistol duel, forcing him to promise never to bother him again.
They fought their first duel in 1794 from which Fournier demanded a rematch. This rematch resulted in at least another 30 duels over the next 19 years, in which the two officers fought mounted, on foot, with swords, rapiers and sabres.


This 28mm set is from Brigade Games. I've painted them in the colours of the d'Huber's 3rd Hussars and Feraud's 7th. For those who are familiar with the film we can place the figures in the 1801 Augsburg duel (fought in a vaulted cellar) due to the men's junior rank, style of hair (their braided cadenettes are awesome) and the comportment of their uniforms.





Thanks for dropping in!

 

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for useful information, I will surely watch this movie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, please watch it, you won't regret it.

      Delete
  2. Great figures from a great film.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ray. Yes, it's a tremendously good film.

      Delete
  3. Such a great job Curt and what a wonderful film that has lost know of its magnificence over the years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Michael. Yes, the film has aged very well. Very much in the same vein as Barry Lyndon.

      Delete
  4. Terrific and fantastic work, Curt! A brilliant movie (I love the opening scene, complete with nasty grumpy geese), and a wonderful vignette!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I think the charming little goosegirl is Sarah's favourite character in that film. :)

      Delete
  5. Great scene, great movie, and a fantastic depiction of! I've always thought of the film as the definition of perseverance, but I'm sure there is another moral lesson that I am gleefully ignoring! ;)
    I did not know they were based upon real events, makes the movie and story more poignant.I have read several of Conrad's works, the Secret Sharer and Heart of Darkness are two of my favorites. I have yet to read the Duelist though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave! It's a good read if you get the chance.

      Delete
  6. It's a fantastic film, just superb. The figures are great as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dang. Now I have to watch this yet again! :-)

    Cracking stuff mate. I wasn't aware of this set and now I am seriously tempted...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Millsy! It has limited gaming utility but is wonderful for sparking nostalgia for the film.

      Delete
  8. Very nice post and an excellent vignette!
    Regards, George!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank very much George, I'm delighted you like it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice painting. The Duellists is my all-time favourite movie
    (I think!). For all his pig-headed-ness, Feraud is a man of honour in his way, he does not stab d'Hubert in the back when d'Hubert is sneezing after all. My favourite bit of the film also shows d'Hubert's honour, and being honour bound to go along with the duels: when he is confronted by Feraud's agents whilst walking in his fields long after the Bourbon restoration and he threatens to have them arrested (duelling being illegal of course). They respond that they have "proceeded on the basis that [d'Hubert] is a gentleman." and d'Hubert, forced to go along for one more duel responds, "I am, damn you, I am!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments Kym. 'The Duellists' is one of the family favourites in our household. I've always loved the section of the movie where they are in Russia in 1812. The cold and desolation is magnificently portrayed. And I love that they fight side-by-side against the cossacks, but afterwards Feraud insists that the 'affair of honour' must continue.

      Delete