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Duellists, The [DVD] [1977]


Price: £3.87 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Duellists, The [DVD] [1977] + Barry Lyndon
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Product details

  • Actors: Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Albert Finney, Edward Fox, Cristina Raines
  • Directors: Ridley Scott
  • Writers: Gerald Vaughan-Hughes, Joseph Conrad
  • Producers: David Puttnam, Ivor Powell
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Russian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Mar 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000085RNP
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,627 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By John Dynan on 27 July 2003
Format: DVD
Based on Joseph Conrad's book "The Duel", the true story of a 30-year feud between two Napoleonic cavalry officers, "The Duellists" was Ridley Scott's first major film. Starring Keith Carradine as the pompous D'Hubert and a particularly menacing Harvey Keitel as Feraud, the film climbs inside the minds of two men for whom honor is more important than life itself.
The two antagonists begin their series of bloody encounters when D'Hubert is ordered by his commanding general to arrest Feraud for wounding the local mayor's nephew in a duel. Feraud, in a hopelessly irrational state, challenges D'Hubert to a duel, which is carried out more or less on the spot. D'Hubert comes off slightly better in the initial encounter, which only serves to fuel Feraud's rage, and the course of the film is set.
The cinematography of this film, shot by Frank Tidy, is almost beyond comparison. The previous versions on VHS simply looked muddy and rather washed out. The colors lacked any real saturation, rendering Feraud's bottle-green dolman black and it almost looked like a poor quality black and white in some scenes, especially those set in Napoleon's abortive Russian campaign.
The DVD transfer, by contrast, is staggeringly beautiful and releases colors, which I did not realize existed in the original. I am, by coincidence, a professional cameraman and I rate this as the best shot film I have ever seen. The only criticism I have is a somewhat inconsistent use of graduated filters, which, whilst they were probably quite innovative for their day, don't always work well. Grads are always a problem and any film made since will tend to suffer the same way. A very minor point.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "mortron" on 29 Mar 2003
Format: DVD
Scott's first feature is a spectacularly beautiful period piece set in Napoleonic times. Not only is it pretty to look at, it also demonstrates one of Scott's trademark qualities; the ability to create a believable, richly textured universe. Everything here FEELS just right.
The acting as well is top of the line and the story itself is a solid adaptation of Joseph Conrad's excellent short story.
It's not as groundbreaking as 'Blade Runner', as appealing as 'Thelma & Louise' or as kinetically exciting as 'Gladiator' or 'Black Hawk Down' but it's pretty darn good in its own way.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Siamese on 26 Sep 2009
Format: DVD
For such a marvellously constructed film, it's hard to believe this was Ridley Scott's very first feature length work! It's also quite surprising to realise that, for someone that was described as being uncomfortable around actors when "Alien" was in production, here Scott managed to get his whole cast to give more than capable performances and delivered his trademark dazzling visuals with overwhelming results.
"The Duellists", based on Joseph Conrad's story 'The Duel', deals with man's obsession that turns into folly, namely Feraud's intolerant arrogance that turns him into a loose cannon, whose compulsions overpower his life and of those around him - he shares some similarities with Mr. Kurtz in Conrad's better known novella 'Heart of Darkness.' Yet ultimately it's the beautiful visuals that grabbed my attention - many said that the film was too beautiful at the time of its original release! Ridley Scott was heavily influenced by Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" during filming, and admits that, like Kubrick had for "Lyndon", he also took the work of painters as references to create his superbly detailed images in the commentary track. Curiously, Kubrick's work was so influential to Scott that he went as far as to cast Gay Hamilton, who had played Nora Brady in "Barry Lyndon", in a small role as one of Feraud's mistresses.
Keith Carradine as D'Hubert renders a quiet and understated performance, and Harvey Keitel is excellent as the intense and almost impossibly obsessive and maniacal Feraud. Funnily enough, their native accents never bothered me as I felt they weren't obtrusive in delivering their very well written dialogue, plus they didn't affect the incredible atmosphere set up by the director for the entire length of the story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trajan on 25 Nov 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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This is with out a doubt an historical masterpiece, the film is based on fact there where actually two individuals who did duel throughout the best part of the Napoleonic wars. The cinema photography is superb, the historical attention to detail incredible. The film was partly shot in the Perigord at the town of Sarlat which is for the most part very well preserved. I am a Napoleonic historian and can vouch for the authenticity of just about every detail in this beautiful film. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 Sep 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Based on a Joseph Conrad short story inspired by a real-life long running duel between two of Napoleon's officers, Ridley Scott's first feature The Duellists is one of the most visually beautiful films of the 70s. Often adopting the look of paintings of the period while pulling off the difficult trick of avoiding looking like staged or slavishly copied tableaux but instead immersing you in a different time and place, at times it looks and feels as if Scott and his collaborators had somehow travelled back to the Napoleonic era and shot their movie there. Scott manages to marshal his extremely limited forces splendidly, using the natural landscape and existing locations to give the film a sense of scale while strategically cramming the tighter shots with memorable detail to convince you that it's only part of a much more densely populated world. Adding to the verisimilitude is the fact that many of the locations chosen turned out to be the hometown of one of the real life duellists whose series of some 30 duels inspired Conrad's short story.

In many ways it's the least Ridley Scottish film of Scott's career, at once inhabiting the classic British costume drama tradition while still making something quite unique out of it that ensures it's not all about the look and the interior decoration. It's a thin story, but Scott makes it feel a surprisingly rich one, Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel's constantly interrupted duel following the course of Napoleon's rise and fall as one adapts to circumstances and becomes a man of substance and the other turns belligerence into a point of honour until even he can no longer remember the truth of the trivial incident that inspired his life-long unconsummated vendetta.
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