Friday, 1 May 2015

The Duelists

One last w/end screening to log some thoughts about... It was probably my recent reading of Kubrick's screenplay for Napoleon that led to me to revisit The Duelists. Another film I hadn't seen in many years, perhaps I thought it inconsequential in comparison with Alien and Blade Runner, but I now consider it Ridley Scott's most visually splendid film to date. Apart from the central story about two French soldiers locked in a battle seemingly without measure or end, this is a great film about weather, from French fields full of rain to freezing frost bitten Russian steppes. For some reason I had it in my mind that the film was shot by Philip Lathrop but upon checking it up, the cameraman was in fact Frank Tidy. The Duelists was Tidy's first film as a DP but looking thru his filmography, nothing else stands out to match the painterly beauty of Scott's film. By all means see the overblown Exodus: Gods and Kings but if you have a copy of The Duelists lying fallow, the film is ripe for rediscovery...

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