Scaramouche, Swashbuckler Fest 2014

SwashBuckler - Fest 2014

Day 2 (a few days ago, I’ve been busy)

- Directed by George Sidney

Scaramouche is worth sitting through just for the climatic sword fight at the end which is a huge 6 minute school of swashbuckle and derring-do. Stewart Granger is a Bastard (the old school royal dad, not so royal mom kind, not the modern what a jerk variety) who feels immense guilt for flirting with a girl who turned out to be his sister. 

The Scaramouche in the title refers to When Granger has to take it on the lamb when his l’l Bro like chum Richard Anderson (A teen Oscar Goldman from Six Million Dollar Man!) gets killed in a duel, he hides out with the red headed gal that should be his girlfriend, in a Commedia dell’arte troupe. Scaramouche is a much pranked upon clown, whose grotesque mask is more real than any Frenchman in the picture.

This movie is as close as cinema gets to a live action Daffy Duck Cartoon than any film I know. It is ludicrously over the top all the time. Stewart Granger literally chews through Louis the Fifteenth chairs like the scenery they are, every scene, all the time. He’s more Daffy Duck than Bugs Bunny, though he aspires to be Bugs, in every scene. Mel Ferrer oozes Bad guy you Love to Hate juice with every smarmy poke of his sword. It seems the leading cause of death in pre-revolution France was duels behind the cathedral after dinner. Who knew?

Ferrer is as much a joy to watch in his super villainy, as it is to watch Granger as Andre Moreau, slacker friend to revolutionaries, turned reluctant revolutionary and eventually master swordsman (mental note: always train with the trainer who trained your enemy’s trainer) and thus he is finally able to meet his nemesis in a sword battle that would make Flynn, Rathbone, Power, or any Fairbankses proud to have been a part of. 

In a fairly early role for Janet Leigh, she is a bit overmatched by the immensity of her leading men, but that suits the character, and she shows a nice comic timing in her best moments, you can really see the actress she became later on shining through in this silly wonderful movie.

This might be the Swashbucker movie I have seen the most times, as I ‘discovered it’ in a 100 yen sale bin of vhs tapes when I lived in Japan. My first year was frugal. I had a few tapes, and fewer dvds. I watched it a lot. I have since got my own dvd copy, not the best quality, but the kind of adds to the sentiment for me. 

8.222 Feisty redheads who keep getting the wrong idea Outta 10


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