Saturday, March 11, 2017

'La!' - The Duellists

A favourite movie in our household is Ridley Scott's debut film 'The Duellists', which was based on a Joseph Conrad short story and starred Kieth Carradine and Harvey Keitel. 

To those who've not had the pleasure of seeing the film, it charts the quarrel and careers of two French cavalry officers, Gabriel Feraud and Armand d'Huber, serving in Napoleon's Grande Armee. The two men fight a long succession of duels that span almost two decades, ending in 1816 with the return of the Bourbon monarchy. 'The Duellists' is beautifully filmed, elegantly written and well acted - a real treat to any historical movie buff. We love the film so much that during a past trip to France, Sarah and I purposefully detoured to stay in beautiful Sarlat-la-Canéda, to visit many of the locations which were used in the film (along with its great food and wine!).

Keith Carradin (d'Hubert), Harvey Keitel (Feraud) and film director Ridley Scott on set in Sarlat, France.
The film (and Conrad's short story) are actually based on true events which are more incredible than its adaptations. The characters of d'Hubert and Feraud's were actually Dupont and Fournier-Sarlovèze, whom Conrad disguised slightly, but otherwise the overall story follows the sketch of actual events.

François Fournier-Sarlovèze the true inspiration of Keitel's 'Feraud'
 In 'The Encyclopedia of the Sword', Nick Evangelista wrote:
As a young officer in Napoleon's Army, Dupont was ordered to deliver a disagreeable message to a fellow officer, Fournier, a rabid duellist. Fournier, taking out his subsequent rage on the messenger, challenged Dupont to a duel. This sparked a succession of encounters, waged with sword and pistol, that spanned decades. The contest was eventually resolved when Dupont was able to overcome Fournier in a pistol duel, forcing him to promise never to bother him again.
They fought their first duel in 1794 from which Fournier demanded a rematch. This rematch resulted in at least another 30 duels over the next 19 years, in which the two officers fought mounted, on foot, with swords, rapiers and sabres.

This 28mm set is from Brigade Games. I've painted them in the colours of the d'Huber's 3rd Hussars and Feraud's 7th. For those who are familiar with the film we can place the figures in the 1801 Augsburg duel (fought in a vaulted cellar) due to the men's junior rank, style of hair (their braided cadenettes are awesome) and the comportment of their uniforms.

Thanks for dropping in!