Sunday, July 20, 2008

Willow's Weekly Word

The word of the week, here at the Manor, definitely has to be
swashbuckler. Most of us know that it has to do with sword
fighting, but what is the connection? Well, I did a little research
and here is what I found. A buckler is a small shield and to swash
is what we might now call to swish. A swashbuckler swishes his
sword and rattles it on his shield or buckler. So, there you have it.

swords at Willow Manor

And why, you are wondering, is swashbuckler the word this week?
Because I just watched The Duelists, Ridley Scott's first feature film
and it is positively magnificent. Since it was made in 1977, I was
prepared for some shoddy costume design, slightly off sets and weird
70's hair, but was I ever wrong! This film is an absolute masterpiece.
The fabulous costumes were done by Italian designers, with over
19,000 pounds spent on the two officers' uniforms alone. (And we
are talking 1977 prices here.)

There were no sets constructed for the film; all the filming was done
in gorgeous original structures in rural France. Scott's masterful use
of natural lighting in many of the inside scenes is beautifully soft,
like a fine oil painting. The plot is taken from the story by Joseph
Conrad, The Duel, set during the Napoleonic Wars. It is the story of
two French Hussar officers, Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel,
(love-love Harvey Keitel, by the way) whose quarrel over a minor
incident, escalates into a consuming and passionate contest, ruling
their lives for the following 30 years.

The stunning swashbuckling scenes between the two stars are
completely authentic, with genuine time period swords. And there
is a breathtaking horse riding duel scene that is now one of my
favorite movie scenes of all time. I highly recommend this story of
obsession and honor. This beautiful, beautiful film is a new manor


  1. I can see WT as a swashbuckler! I bet he wishes he lived a few centuries ago! :) And I never knew they had little shields! I think if I was going to fight with swords, I would want the full bodied Medieval suit of armor! ...which, by the way, one would look smashing in the manor! :)

  2. Actually, I found this movie at my favorite little used DVD store and practically had to make him watch it with me. He loved it. I've got to watch it again this week. It was one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen.

  3. Nothing like a little "Swash buckling" to get the old body ready for a piece of Key Lime pie and some coffee. Sorry, I have lost focus. My new program has me fixated on a piece of pie. I can hardly concentrate on anything else. Pappy

  4. Now you've made me hungry. Key Lime pie?! I'm suddenly starving.
    What are you doing? This is a sword fighting conversation here!

  5. I'm more of a Swiss Army Knife kinda of guy... That or a Leatherman. Swords are just too awkward for camping!

    But the movie sounds good ... still, I betcha Cyrano de Bergerac (José Ferrer) can take Harvey Keitel.

  6. This movie sounds divine! I always had "a thing" for men wielding swords after an early infatuation with Zorro as a child.

    One of my favorite Harvey Keitel movies is "Smoke"

  7. I don't know...wait until you see the movie. I'd bet on Keitel. He's amazing with a sword!

  8. I had a thing for Zorro way back then, too! My uncle and I used to sword fight with metal curtain rods. They had that great authentic metal clashing sound!

  9. Count me in too. I had a crush on Zorro also. (probably still do...loved Antonio Banderas in the role recently) What is it about a masked man?

  10. Wow, this is a rave! I must check this one out!

  11. I'm getting quite the film education here....another movie I've never heard of!

    now I want key lime pie, too...drat!

  12. I know...I haven't been able to get Key Lime pie out of my head since Pappy had to randomly mention it this afternoon. Ack!

  13. You've done such a good job reporting your findings, that now I want to go out and get this film. Thanks. I love swashbuckling movies!

  14. You must have some new posts in mind......normally, you bring out the "weekly word" on Tuesdays~!!!!! I liked the word this week....manly.....swords and stuff!!

  15. Now you've done it, you have touched a place in my heart. Zorro is my favourite fantasy, my sister and I use to dual with metal coat hangers (granddad re-modelled them). I remember crying because mum wouldn't let me go to school in my black mask, have I ridiculed myself enough yet. Theres more, I even have two King Charles spaniels, they remind me of the canine swashbuckler. Then who could resist Antonio Banderas in Shriek as the , swashbuckling cat. Willow I think you have gathered by now how much I have enjoyed this post.

  16. Willow, Conrad's work stands the test of time. Men struggling with the consequences of their decisions - the quest for the heroic self. I'll have to put The Duel on my list of movies to see. Thanks for the swashbuckler lesson and the movie review.

  17. Wow--that sounds like a rave review! (I'm a Harvey fan, too) I never read that work by Conrad, so I'll have to seek it out. Swashbuckler is such an onomatopoeic word, isn't it?

  18. I haven't seen this one but recognized Harvey Keitel straight away...This sounds like something we would love...OK... Over to Netflix I go yet again:-)....

  19. Sounds inviting. I will have to check it out.

  20. I saw that hand waving out there in the crowd as the evangelists used to say. Glad you dropped by. Pappy

  21. Queenie, good, at least I wasn't the only swashbuckling little girl. We would play sword dance music in the background for atmosphere, too!

    David and A Brush, I haven't read the Conrad, but this film is supposed to be very true to the short story. I want to read it now.

  22. Willow, I think Harvey is one of the most underrated actors ever. Why? I've not the slightest clue. He is superb in this movie. I probably saw it four or five times when I still lived in Cuba. Thanks for the word of the week. I love using it as an adjective: 'a swashbuckiling foray into music...'

    Greetings from London.

  23. I think Harvey Keitel is an amazing actor...definitely way underrated, in my opinion!

  24. Yes, The Duellists is an amazing movie. It is a beautiful and artistically filmed. That movie and several others inspired me to take up fencing, although I have to say it's one of the hardest things I've ever done.

    But amazing and fascinating to watch, whether choreographed in a movie or in a gymnasium.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)