D'Artagnan's Daughter DVD
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Directed by Bertrand Tavernier
Produced in 1994
Main Language - French with English subtitles
James Oliver dons his rapier and dives into the melee for this swashbuckling adventure from French director Bertrand Tavernier. Famous musketeer D'Artagnan has fallen on hard times but thankfully his daughter knows what to do!
A fiendish plot is afoot – serious enough for the villains to attack a convent, to silence an escaped slave who could foil their plans. When the mother superior is killed in the raid, a loyal young novice, Eloïse by name and played by Sophie Marceau at her most alluring, declares she will avenge the desecration with the help of her father – none other than D'Artagnan!
Trouble is, the famous musketeer (Noiret) has hit hard times since he deposited his child with the nuns and could do without this headstrong young lady getting him into trouble. But she's her father's daughter and quickly finds herself embroiled in a world of kings, codes and conspiracies; D'Artagnan has to tag along to make sure his offspring comes to no harm.
Although inspired by Alexandre Dumas, D'Artagnan's Daughter downplays the one-for-all-and-all-for-all chivalry for a more boisterous mix of swordplay, farce and style. It's clear that Betrand Tavernier is having a whale of a time away from his regular art-house beat, paying tribute to all the classic swashbuckling movies of his beloved Hollywood. The cast are on the same wavelength, most especially Tavernier-favourite Noiret, who gives full rein to his gift for hangdog comedy as the loving – but frequently exasperated – D'Artagnan.
As befits a film set in part at the court of the Sun King, it's a lavish affair, carefully designed, exquisitely photographed and gorgeous to behold; the interiors evoke the paintings of the seventeenth century and many exteriors are bathed in the magical light of dawn and dusk.
The script isn't quite as elegant – the plot is complicated and occasionally opaque. Then again, the plot is largely a pretext for the small moments that make this film such a delight – the scheming Cardinal Mazarin mistaking a poorly-composed love poem for a cunning cipher; D'Artagnan's repeated abuses of his loyal servant Planchette's good faith. Tavernier juggles the tone perfectly – although very funny, the director loves adventure films too much to mock them, never forcing laughs at the expense of integrity of the story.
Relaxed, entertaining and thoroughly recommended.
James Oliver on 26th August 2010
Author of 160 reviews
In D'Artagnan's Daughter, a young beautiful girl (Sophie Marceau) discovers a plot to assassinate King Louis XIV and hurries off to Paris to get help from her father - the retired musketeer D'Artagnan who is soon persuaded to recruit a new band of adventurers to save the life of the king.
A hugely enjoyable swashbuckling comedy, with all the pace and liveliness of classic adventure films yet made with a light touch and a careful avoidance of cliche.
Publisher: Second Sight
Length: 125 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 4th October 2010
Cat No: 2NDVD3185