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Plot: A duel between two feuding Napoleonic officers eventually evolves into a decades-long series of duels, after each bout - for various reasons - ends unresolved. Runtime: 100 mins Release Date: 26 Dec 1977
Brilliant, understated, and thoroughly human. (by lucretius3659)
This /is/ one of the best sword-fighting movies ever made, in that the choreography doesn't look like choreography. In the fight sequences, there's that rare sense of reticence, chance, uncertainty: of men thinking while they fight and trying to stay alive The battle scenes in Kurosawa seem to me to share the same quality .What sets this film apart beyond its sheer visual gorgeousness is its unremitting humanity and realism. Carradine as the protagonist is a decent enough, reasonable enough chap trying to live by an unreasonable and inflexible code. Keitel as Feraud is a cipher: <more>
charged with a wholly unreasonable hate the sources of which we never see. The movie steps through the ups and downs of war, fashion, politics. Though the film's structured around a series of violent combats, the struggle is finally a moral one. One man finally transcends the ideal of honor that's kept him a prisoner for fifteen years. The other is unable to.This is a movie to watch, and to recommend to one's friends. It's lamentably not available yet in DVD, but can be found occasionally as a rental. Watch it for the costumes, the lighting, and the gorgeous camerawork. Watch it again for a movie that takes on The Big Issues. Brilliant.
the best understanding of Napoleon's age ever thanks to Conrad (by arieleviacavafollis)
The best issue about this movie, other than, of course, the aesthetic perfection, is its absolute fidelity to Conrad's short novel. I think this is very good in the movie because the book is so good, and it would have made no sense try to change it in the least way, as it often happens when movies come out of books for example, Kubrick always made his films somehow look different from the books they are taken from, and I should say often improved them, but in many other cases it's true the opposite . It's noteworthy saying that in another, more popular, Ridley Scott's movie <more>
such as Blade Runner, always derived from a novel, important changes have been made from the original story in that case, all the part about the 'empathy' religion doesn't appear in the movie, and I think it was a good choice to omit it . But ' The Duelists' had to stick to the book! The point about the Duelists is all about the rich simplicity of its being a movie: Ridley Scott just takes the story as it is, and it's a damn good one, and he tells it to us in the best possible way, with an incredible attention to the graphical details the duel scenes are just one better than the other , and an amazing use of the camera the boxing scene, the horse riding duel . Now, going back to the story, in less than 100 pages, Conrad managed in explaining everything about the great illusion of Napoleon's empire, without the emperor ever appearing in it. It's incredible how he managed making the ever lasting duel between the two officials a great metaphor of that age, still keeping the two characters real and alive. The movie gives you all this. Watch it!
One of the few great, timeless movies. (by matija)
Often, when you watch a movie, you can tell when it was made.It deals with the mores and prejudices of the time it was made. The costumes are done without attention to detail or the hair-styles of the leading actors don't belong to the time when the movie is supposed to be taking place.Not this movie.It deals with timeless themes: courage, fate, inevitability,honor. The costumes are impeccable, and even the hair-styles change as time progresses, exactly as the fashions changed during the times of the Napoleon. Without knowing the actors though the cast is composed of excellent, <more>
justifiably famous artists , there is no way to tell it was made in 1977. It might have been made yesterday, or it might have been filmed on the spot.If you enjoy a movie where attention was paid to every detail to make it a true piece of art, if you enjoy dramatic photography thoughtful themes, and just the barest suggestion of dry humor, this is the movie for you.
Unlike films of critical acclaim like "The GodFather" or "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" - this classic movie goes completely unnoticed by the Public.I don't know how to explain the 7.4, I can't find fault with this film as to why one would rate it that low other than the budget didn't allow for the same Epic making of other classic films. Or maybe the ambiguous ending, but to me the ending made perfect since for both the main characters personalities.Without a doubt the best sword fighting scenes I have ever seen in a movie. Pirates of the Caribbean has <more>
nothing on this. The scenes look entirely natural not CGId or seemingly choreographed, but what real sword fighting might be like...at times elegant, at times sloppy merely surviving I think a difference is many people give films like The Godfather, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, the 10 out of 10 nod because EVERYONE does. Without objectively viewing and determining the film for themselves they believe it is great. This film is just as good as those films and on a much smaller budget.
I first watched this movie shortly after its cinematic debut, and to tell the truth, although I loved the fight scenes I was bored I was younger then . Something about the movie got under my skin, though, and after I got a VCR in the eighties I rented it and it became one of my all-time favorite films. Ridley Scott does some very sumptuous and detailed camera work, without any of the gimmicky slashbacks and jerkiness that pervades his more recent efforts. The characters all display fully developed personalities even the extras show spunk and their own agendas. The film is more French than <more>
American in the sense that the viewer must infer the characters' motives from careful observation of their actions rather than from the sort of ham-handed soliloquy you might find in, say, Gladiator, or the narrative voice-over that marred the theatrical release of Blade Runner thankfully omitted in the Director's Cut . This is a film that rewards multiple viewings with new discoveries in the background and plot details. Overall, it qualifies as a very satisfying experience.
Why this film has escaped popular acclaim for so long is a mystery. The wonderful thing is that upon watching it, I had no idea it was made 32 years ago. The directing, music and the acting are so within the period of the movie, it will never be outdated or stale. The screenplay is true to Joseph Conrad's story, a feat not often found in adapted screenplays. It has its violence, but would be worthless without it. The fact that the movie used no fabricated sets added to the films visual authenticity. There was no modern interpretation of what the world at that time looked like. The <more>
selection of the shooting locations was excellent. I find very little to fault in this movie, its simplicity is perhaps the strongest factor to making the film a pleasant watch.
44. THE DUELLISTS drama, 1977 The time is France, 1800. During the Napoleonic Wars Lt. Feraud Harvey Keitel wounds a man after a duel. His superior dispatches Lt. D'Hubert Keith Carradine with a message that he's to be brought under house arrest, since the wounded man is cousin to a Major. Feraud takes offense at D'Hubert's "insult", and seeks his satisfaction in a duel. Feraud is furthered angered when he loses and wants a rematch. Disrupted by war, their own attrition spans 15 years becoming increasingly more personal and savage. The two are destined to meet <more>
in a final duel.Critique: Ridley Scott's impressive directorial debut deals with the themes of honor, obsession and violence. However, more importantly, is the message that wars be it personal or political are ultimately futile and without merit. As the 2 'duel' they forget who is the aggressor and victim, the voice of reason or right. Battle lines and tactics are forsaken for the ultimate personal satisfaction, death.Scott's direction is very good throughout; keeping us interested in the characters' resolution. The film's highlight involves the duels, which are meticulously staged and choreographed. Taking place in open, closed, wet, dry spaces, Scott has skill in creating a tense setting.Production design is also superb. Street scenes and every day life are realistically captured. The excellent cast headed by Harvey Keitel is a standout as the 'bully', counterpointing Carradine's honorable constraint. Based on Joseph Conrad's "The Duelists", the film won many awards including 'Best Debut Film' at the 1977 Cannes film festival. More importantly it launched the career of one of the most prominent filmmakers in cinema.QUOTE: D'Hubert: "You have kept me at your beg and call for 15 years. I shall never do what you demand of me. I shall simply declare you dead."
Strange casting in a perfectly photographed film. (by fedor8)
One of the most visually impressive films I've ever seen, resulting in me almost not caring about the plot. Almost. The scenes, especially the outdoor ones, are so perfectly filmed that the story could have been about accounting or sheep-herding, for all I care. Hence because focusing on the look of the scenes was so much fun, it was fitting that the plot was so linear and simplistic, thereby not distracting too much from the movie's strongest asset. Already the first scene immediately evoked images from the best costume film ever made, "Barry Lyndon", which was released <more>
only two years previously. Clearly, Scott imitated Kubrick's style there, and succeeded to quite an extent. Many scenes look like paintings from the period; the lighting and the colours are flawless. Keep in mind that TD was made pre-CGI and before advanced computer technology, when it took real skill, talent and time to achieve visual brilliance. Nowadays, it's just a matter of pressing a few buttons, hence why so many movies look so slick today.Fortunately, this is not a chick-costumer in the "The Age Of Innocence" vein; in fact, the romantic thing-a-ma-jigs are quite sparsely distributed. The densest concentration of relationship drivel comes toward the end when Carradine meets his future wife an ugly thing both of them . Unsurprisingly, this was the dullest part of the movie.The casting of Keitel and Carradine in a period piece would normally be problematic - because insane - but the movie's visual glory overshadows any moronic decisions the director and the producers had made in this department. Keitel's physical appearance simply doesn't match Napoleonic France his short stature notwithstanding or almost any other historical setting, just as Wynona Ryder doesn't belong in either the future as an android "Alien 4" or in a costume drama again, "Age of Innocence" . On the other hand, Keitel is effective in playing a moron because that's what he is basically like in real life. As for Carradine, he is a little less stone-faced than his usual self, but only slightly. His acting abilities, or rather the lack of them, are fortunately covered up by the movie's strengths. Plus, there's the problem of his wimpy appearance as always , just as with all the other overrated Carradines and I believe there must be about 1500 of them, only several hundred less than the ever-multiplying Coppolas or Arquettes .Did this really cost less than a million dollars, as some here suggest? That would be astonishing.Go to http://rateyourmusic.com/~Fedor8, and check out my "TV & Cinema: 150 Worst Cases Of Nepotism" list.
Spoilers herein.I'm amazed at how many religions of perception there are and how many are effective. Scott's eye is one I admire, and you can see it in this very first of what he calls `the long form.' By this time, Ridley was already the top producer of commercials, possibly a couple thousand including the celebrated Macintosh bit.During this period, he developed a technique which served the commercial form, and in its featurelength incarnation dazzles. Its the notion that the presence of each scene is in the next scene. Simple storytelling tells you why you are where you are. <more>
Masterful storytelling helps you project into where you will next be. That investment is key.Despite Scott's claim otherwise on the commentary, the story is incidental. The lushness of the cinematography isn't central but incidental to the strategy of anticipatory engagement. As with the characters, one brush carries a lifetime commitment. `Alien,' `Runner,' `Gladiator' all exploit this narrative world view in some way. He's the only one I know who can pull this off.Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.