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  Loves and Times of Scaramouche, The LoverboyBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Stars: Michael Sarrazin, Ursula Andress, Aldo Maccione, Giancarlo Prete, Michael Forest, Salvatore Borghese, Nico il Grande, Gisela Hahn, Karin Fiedler, Vera De Oliveira, Romano Puppo, Massimo Vanni, Alex Togni, Luciano Pigozzi
Genre: Comedy, Action, War, Historical
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: There is revolution in the air of France, but the only revolution Scaramouche (Michael Sarrazin) is interested in is a sexual one as he beds a selection of women, both unmarried and married, across Paris. This afternoon he is in the bedroom of one young lady when he notices he is being watched through the open window, but it's just a severed head of an aristocrat carried aloft on a spear, although it is taking a keen interest in spite of being separated from his body. Suddenly, Scaramouche is interrupted by the lady's husband and has to make a run for it across the rooftops as his excuses fall on deaf ears - all in a day's work...

The historical romp took on a renewed popularity in the seventies thanks to the success of movies like The Three Musketeers, and director Enzo G. Castellari, not wishing to see an opportunity go by, came up with his own version of this with The Loves and Times of Scaramouche, or Le avventure e gli amori di Scaramouche if you were Italian. It was also influenced by Woody Allen's Love and Death, as it too was set during Napoleonic times, and there are a handful of outright wacky gags here, such as the soldier who takes off his hat to reveal his hair is the same shape, or Napoleon himself who has his medals pinned to his bare chest.

Yes, Napoleon Bonaparte is in this, played by Aldo Maccione in a style best described as broad. Well, there's no getting away from it, according to this the French dictator was a complete buffoon, and not even aware he is being cuckolded by the title character from about halfway through the story onwards. Napoleon's Josephine was essayed by Ursula Andress, taking her clothes off for the camera as was her wont in the seventies, but not for very long - this may have been detailing the adventures of a lothario, but there wasn't much lovemaking going on no matter what the name of the film stated.

Before we reach Andress undressed, there's a stretch of plot to get through which sees Scaramouche make his way through a selection of fights, both sword and otherwise. Castellari appeared to have decided that when in doubt, throw some kind of combat into the mix, a notion which served him well through his plentiful action movies, but here looks like padding as if he didn't have enough plot to fill out the full ninety minutes and thought the audience would stay riveted to its seats if Sarrazin clashed blades with yet another supporting actor. To help this along, Scaramouche and his righthand man, the barber Whistle (Giancarlo Prete), end up recruited for the war in Central Europe.

Essentially there are two parts to this film, one where Scaramouche womanises, and the other where he resorts to violence as other men attempt to put a stop to his fun. His activity is never questioned, as his pursuit of happiness is judged to be far more noble than the pursuit of war, with all the military persons in any position of power strictly there to be sent up, including a Russian general who demands to surrender to Scaramouche and Whistle even though they want nothing to do with him and simply wish to return to Paris. Without enough wit in the script this does get repetitive, although Sarrazin seems to be enjoying himself well enough even if his career was starting on its decline around this stage, but really if you've seen him draw his sword once you've seen it a million times, almost literally feeling that way once the movie is over. Not helping is music that sounds like it belongs in a children's cartoon (Dogtanian, maybe?).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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