ON GUARD: (LE BOSSU)
Release Date: November 01, 2002
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Fabrice
Luchini, Vincent Perez, and
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 120 minutes
Distributor: Empire Pictures
Director: Philippe de Broca
Executive Producer: Francoise Galfre
Producer: Patrick Godeau, Rita Cecchi
Gori and Vittorio Cecchi Gori
Writer: Philippe de Broca, Jean Cosmos
and Jerome Tonnerre
Address Comments To:
Michael Birnbaum, President
Empire Pictures Inc.
12400 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1200
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 447-7580
Fax: (310) 447-7501
(RoRo, B, Ab, L, VV, S, NNN, A, D, M) Romantic worldview with “the end justifying the means” used to excuse deception and some good over evil moral points as well as discussion of God's will and slight mocking of faith; one obscenity, one profanity, several real and positive appeals to God in times of trouble, and five references to "bastard" in the legal sense; sword play violence with spurting blood, many fight scenes, aftermath of violence in slaughtered wedding party, baby put in peril during fight scenes (but survives), beatings, and stunts; prostitutes shown leaving house, kissing and woman has child out of wedlock; full male nudity (with private parts shown) in fencing locker room scene, scene in house of prostitution which is not revealing and upper female nudity when bodice is ripped; drinking; smoking; and, deception as plot device.
In ON GUARD, a French period piece, Count Gonzague schemes against his cousin, the Duc de Nevers, even though he is the Duke’s heir and will inherit his estates. Though beautifully filmed and well acted, the storyline is too baroque and a few elements and allusions are too risqué.
Philippe de Broca is one of the few French new wave directors who are still alive and working. His memorable films include KING OF HEARTS, THAT MAN FROM RIO, and SEVEN DEADLY SINS, all from the 1960’s. With ON GUARD, de Broca has explored the swashbuckling histories of yesteryear without resorting to cynicism or farce as movies such as THE THREE MUSKETEERS have done.
In ON GUARD, Lagardere is a swordsman with a hair-trigger temper. In the fencing class of his uncle, he challenges the Duke De Nevers to a duel. Nevers is a dashing, well-meaning young duke who quickly disposes of Lagardere. Later, Nevers’ cousin, Gonzague, hires Lagardere and other brigands to kill the duke. The duke defeats his enemies with fancy sword play and convinces Lagardere to join him on a journey to marry his beloved, Blanche, who has already borne his child. Gonzague sends a new team of killers after the duke. The duke gets married, but the killers kill the duke and his wife’s family.
Lagardere escapes with the Duke's daughter, Aurora. Blanche is distraught at the thought that her only child and husband are dead. Gonzague spreads the word that Lagardere is the villain who killed the Duke and kidnapped the child.
The daughter grows up, well cared for by Lagardere, who hides their identities in the midst of an acting troupe. Twenty years pass before they are back in Paris. Lagardere sets about to avenge his friend, the duke, and restore Aurora’s fortune and rightful place in life.
Set in the early 1700s, ON GUARD is beautifully filmed, but the storyline is far too baroque. Just when it appears as if the movie is going to fulfill the setup of the plot, it goes off in a new direction.
In spite of this defect, the acting is so powerful that the movie is fun to watch. Beware, however, that there is swordplay violence that includes spurting blood, there is full naturalistic male nudity, and a woman’s bodice is ripped open, revealing her breasts very briefly.
Another oncern in the movie is the fact that Aurora, when she grows up, decides that she is in love with Lagardere. At first, he resists her, and though they never consummate this relationship, it has shadowy overtones.
With a little editing and some attention to straightening out the storyline, ON GUARD could have been a successful movie slightly reminiscent of a French version of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
ON GUARD is a French period piece. Lagardere is a swordsman with a hair-trigger temper. He challenges the Duke de Nevers to a duel. Nevers is a dashing, well-meaning young duke who quickly disposes of Lagardere. Later, Nevers’ cousin, Gonzague, hires Lagardere and other brigands to kill the duke. The duke defeats his enemies with fancy swordplay and convinces Lagardere to join him on a journey to marry his beloved – who has already borne his child. Gonzague sends a new team of killers after the duke. Lagardere escapes with the daughter, Aurora. The Duke's wife is distraught at the thought that her only child and husband are dead. The daughter grows up, well cared for by LeGardere, in the midst of an acting troupe. Twenty years pass before they are back in Paris. Lagardere plans to avenge his friend, the duke, and restore Aurora’s fortune and position.
Set in the early 1700s, ON GUARD is beautifully filmed and fun to watch, but the story and plot go off in too many directions. The swordplay violence includes spurting blood, there is naturalistic male nudity, and a woman’s bodice is ripped open, revealing her breasts very briefly