Saturday, 16 January 2010


My mother was a great fan of Gerard Philipe - which is odd because she rarely watched foreign language films. She thought he was one of the most handsome men she'd ever seen. I' ve seen few of his films and he is certainly handsome and a fine actor and it is easy to see why he became a huge star in France - his reputation enhanced even more by his early death in 1959. I've waited something like fifty years to see FAN FAN LE TULIPE which is regarded as among his best films and is certainly one of his most famous. It is an old fashioned swashbauckler with lots of sword fights, seductions, robberies, coach chases, battles etc with Philippe as the ever optimistic hero and the young Gina Lollobrigida as the beautiful gypsy girl who falls in love with him. It's pretty much critic proof fun along the same lines as the Gene Kelly version of THE THREE MUSKETEERS or PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and directed with an agreeably light touch by Christian-Jacque. The DVD I rented contained the original bla ck and white film and a colourised print. I pretty much opposed to the colourisation of old movies so I watched the b/w version to see the film as made but, I have to say, I was impressed by the technical excellence of the coloured version nonetheless. Rating ****

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