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Post #1 Guest_Harrytheheid_*

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 06:32 AM



Unfortunately, it's not-really-all-that-great....but still better than nothing....and is actually a re-mash of "The Prisoner of Zenda". Its saving grace is that it features an outstanding turn from Oliver Reed as Bismark, and ably backed up by several other cast members.

The world still waits for a definitive Flashy movie -- preferably beginning at the start of his disgraceful adventures -- the 1st Afghan War




This film is terrific fun and deserves wider recognition. Part period comedy, part swashbuckler, part slapstick, this film is wholeheartedly enjoyable. Malcolm McDowell is terrfic as the cowardly hero of the Afghan campaign who is reluctantly recruited to pose as a Prussian nobleman. Oliver Reed as Otto von Bismarck and Alan Bates as his Hungarian aide are also in top form. As for the ladies, Florinda Bolkan and Britt Ekland are not only luscious but add to the comic mayhem. My only quibble is Richard Lester's direction is not up to his usual high standards but, hey, you can't deliver "A Hard Day's Night" or "Petulia" every time out. Interestingly, this was a period of great productivity for Lester. During the space of a few years he delivered this film, "Juggernaut", and the two Musketeer films. "Royal Flash" definitely falls into the buried treasure category.




The cowardly character first appeared in Thomas Hughes classic novel "Tom Brown's Schooldays", and Fraser had the wonderful idea of resurrecting the character, still behaving very badly in later life. Although an inveterate cowering cad he manages to accumulate military honours and public adulation by putting falsehood to good use. All this leaves much scope for high humour. Whilst the film is not as good as the books, it does give a flavour of the character. This is Fraser's second novel in the series "Royal Flash", itself a clever parody of Anthony Hope's "Prisoner of Zenda".

The story has Flash swept up into a web of intrigue as he is forced to impersonate a Danish prince, through the evil machinations of the dastardly Otto Von Bismark, who is most definitely not a man to cross. Oliver Reed is perfect as the formidable Bismark, as is Alan Bates as the dashing but deadly Rudi Von Sternberg. Malcolm MacDowell lacks the physical stature of Fraser's Flashman, but makes up for that with his acting. I felt Reed would have been equally well cast as Flashman! The rather wooden Florinda Bolkan is perhaps not the most inspired choice to play Lola Montez! The supporting cast is a who's who of notable British actors. Michael Hordern, Lionel Jeffries and Alastair Sim all make amusing contributions. Also look out for David Jason and Bob Hoskins in brief appearances. The lovely Britt Eckland plays an ice maiden and the great Henry Cooper appears as surprise surprise a boxer.

The director Richard Lester brings his own unique quirky slapstick approach to proceedings, which is not always successful. The fine costumes and ornate locations cannot be faulted. We also get some typical Flashisms. On one occasion he says to the very German Bismark "How dare you lay hands on an Englishman you cabbage eating hounds". When asked to flatter the icy Britt Eckland he tells her "you are so pale, like mist in a cemetery". His assessment of her dancing skills "like dancing with a dead nun" does not help matters either! The film certainly deserved better than a limited theatre release. It is far from perfect, and the quirky humour may not be to everyones taste, but there is certainly enough here to please and appease the dedicated Flashman fan. 

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