Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fanfan la Tulipe (1952)

Fanfan la Tulipe is a swashbuckling movie with an absurd plot, yet very entertaining. The narrator is so hilarious that when I still giggle, he has already said his next funny narration. I also have never seen a swashbuckling movie where the fight scenes are accelerated. The director, Christian-Jaque, seemed in a hurry.

Gérard Philipe who plays Fanfan is a very popular actor at that time. He has become a sort of legend because he died at the peak of his career in 1959.

King Louis XV is at war. On his way to a force marriage, Fanfan meets a beautiful gypsy, played by Gina Lollobrigida, who tells him that he will marry the king's daughter. How can Fanfan meets the princess? So he enlists as a soldier for the regiment of Aquitaine. "When the dead outnumbered the living, reinforcement was advisable," says the narrator. He gets the nickname La Tulipe because after rescuing the princess and her chaperone la marquise de Pompadour from robbers, the marquise gives him a tulip.

The dialogue by Henri Jeanson reminds me of Astérix comics: funny. I love the dialogue when the new recruitment arrive in the camp.
-Your name?
-Fanfan la Tulipe.
-La Tulipe?
-It's a fine nickname. We have a Larkspur, a Meadowsweet, a Buttercup. This isn't a regiment. It's a flower-bed.

and "You'll be my brother and I, your father."

Jean-Marc Tennberg who plays Lebel, the king's chamberlain, looks a lot like Alan Cumming.

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