31 May 2012
A Duel at Lincoln Center
Ridley Scott's first film, The Duellists, must have jinxed the film maker. I don't think he ever came close to the style and honesty of this little seen film. Every shot is like an 18th Century painting and many were pure luck according to Scott. Light appearing for seconds it took to shoot and then gone.
The lush 18th Century conflicts with a dark story of unintentional slight. An honor sullied and a series of resulting duels based on a true story. Whenever anyone expresses regret to me about not serving, I tell them the Army has a lot of nuts. My Dad warned me about 'em and I ran into plenty. That military honor slipping into lunacy is beautifully described here. Not much has changed.
It's playing at Lincoln Center's, Walter Reade Theater today at 1:00PM. There's a brilliant review in the New Yorker here. If you can't make it, pick up the DVD with Scott's commentary and interview. He'll tell you what happened to the hot chocolate pot and the crate of champagne.