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Friday, May 23, 2008


A sumptuous entertainment made with consummate skill and deceptive ease by Philippe de Broca. It's based on Pavel Feval's oft-filmed tale of swords & honor which draws from that grandly noble French line of romantic derring-do; think Hugo, Rostand & Dumas. Rather like Leslie Howard in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, Daniel Auteuil makes an unexpectedly convincing swashbuckler. Though when he puts on a big false nose for his disguise as the eponymous hunchback, you think, does the man really need it? Good as Auteuil is, no one can top Vincent Perez ’s good-natured combination of grace, vanity and stupidity as the doomed Count Nevers. With its hissable villains, beautiful heroines, great costumes & photography, plus a fine score by Philippe Sarde (with a big assist from Mascagni), this is tremendous stuff.

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