Le Bossu

Film
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France, 1699. Count Gonzague (Luchini) stands to inherit a fortune from his cousin, the Duc de Nevers (Perez), but not if the dashing duke produces an heir before Gonzague can bump him off. Lagardère (Auteuil), a promising young swordsman, is paid to do the dirty deed, but instead wins the Duke's trust when he warns him of a cowardly ambush. The pair then set off from Paris to provincial Caylus, where a one-night stand has given Nevers a child by the daughter of a local nobleman. A wedding beckons, but not before Gonzague unleashes his worst, leaving Lagardère holding the baby, and swearing vengeance on those who sought to bloody such a happy day. This is a swashbuckler in the classic mode, and rather good at that. De Broca displays a veteran's assurance in knowing that too much tongue-in-cheek irony would devalue the cut and thrust of a traditional well turned plot. Luchini makes an exquisite villain, Perez a delightful none too bright aristo, and the reliably wonderful Auteuil simply eats up costume changes, romantic longing and breathtaking swordplay alike - all played absolutely straight.

By: TJ

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