Philippe de Broca's 1997 version of Le Bossu (aka On Guard), an oft-filmed warhorse of French cinema, is probably the best of the bunch. Daniel Auteuil is the sword-for-hire who finds himself sworn to avenge the death of Vincent Perez's amiably pompous aristocrat and to restore his daughter to her inheritance, purloined by Perez's evil cousin (Fabrice Lucini). Shades of Scaramouche ensue as they hide out with a group of travelling players, Auteuil working his way into Lucini's confidence by disguising himself as a hunchback (many businessmen used to hire hunchbacks because it was believed lucky to touch their humps or sign contracts on their backs!). The first half is a little awkward in tone, with Auteuil overdoing the youthful enthusiasm a bit (he's better at doleful than happy), but the second half is pure joy, filled with swordfights, rescues and good old fashioned sentimentality. Vincent Perez has fun sending up his swashbuckling image and even the usually one note Lucini rallies in the second half as he gets to wallow in his own villainy. De Broca's direction has much more panache and wit this time round than in his other classic swashbuckler, Cartouche, the script is extremely witty and Philippe Sarde's score even finds room for a few in-jokes, from the inclusion of a song from his own score to The Judge and the Assassin in a street scene to a wonderfully sentimental use of Cavaleria Rusticana. Good old-fashioned entertainment in the very best sense.