14 July 2012 | dbdumonteil
The king is dead/Long live the king!
Some of the IMDb informations are wrong ;"Flamberge Au Vent" is only the first part (French say "Epoque") of Robert Vernay's "Le Capitan" ;the second part is called "le Chevalier Du Roy" (the knight of the king);a 3 hours movie in total,but as was often the case in those years ,the audience had to pay twice to see the whole as,they had to do for Vernay's two versions of "Le Comte De Monte Cristo".
Vernay was a pure entertainment director:not much food for thought in his works but action-packed stories,duels,treason,abductions,wild rides,love affairs,and the whole shebang;although his direction is effective,his scripts are often muddled ,and there are so many characters in his story that the viewer gets sometimes lost in the middle of the plot.
After the death of Henry the Fourth,the regency was a troubled time;the queen Marie De Medicis,abetted by treacherous Concini and wife ,was hated by the people and by the nobles ;"Le Capitan" depicts a rebellion ,historically led by the Prince De Condé (second part)and in the movie by the duke of Angouleme who wants to be king ,abetted by his daughter Gisele the dashing hero (Le Capitan)falls in love with.This Gisele ,played by Claude Génia ,is rather bland ,and Sophie Desmarets as (historic) courtesan Marion Delorme effortlessly outshines her.
The best scenes are these when the hero meets the king ,here hardly a teenager,alone in his palace ,who had fallen into Concini and co's clutches ,desperately in need of a friend.My favorite is the marvelous sequence when the Capitan imitates the singing of the birds .
It's interesting to compare it with the remake by André Hunebelle in 1959: the part of Cogolin was fleshed out because it was played by Bourvil and the part of Marion Delorme ,too scandalous ,was replaced by that of a harmless Italian brunette ,to give it a "suitable for all audiences "taste.Jean Marais,although too old for the role, possessed much more charisma than the obscure (and forgotten) Jean Paqui,but the young king is more endearing in the first version.
Based on Michel Zevaco's book.