(image credit: doctormacro.com)
I just watched… The Devil’s Disciple from 1959. There’s a hell of a cast here- Kirk Douglas as Dick Dudgeon, Burt Lancaster as Reverend Anderson, and Larry as General Burgoyne. In a secondary role is famed British character actor Harry Andrews (known for being in every movie filmed in England between 1950 and 1980) Based off the Bernard Shaw play of the same name, I went into it expecting a filmed stage play (ala 12 Angry Men)- Which, all told, wouldn’t have been too bad. Instead, the movie re-arranges and edits Shaw’s words and scenes into something much more filmic. And, very, very of its time. Gone is much of the satire, cynicism or subtext of the play, (though Shaw’s lambasting of the ministry in London, through the mouth of Gentleman Johnny, remains intact). In its stead- We get an action climax with Douglas and Lancaster punching redcoats.
I guess its to be expected from director Guy Hamilton, who later went on to helm what is arguably the best James Bond movie, Goldfinger. Then later went on to direct what are arguably some of the worst Bond movies- the disappointing Diamonds are Forever, the charmless Live and Let Die, and the unforgivable The Man with the Golden Gun. Though these three pale in comparison with the sheer awfullness that is Die Another Day.
Douglas plays Dick Dudgeon- The black sheep of the puritanical New Ham Dudgeon clan. Forsaking his family “to live with smugglers and gypsies and villains, the scum of the earth,” Dudgeon embraced debauchery, describing himself as the Devil’s disciple, having sworn “an oath that I would stand up for him in this world and stand by him in the next.” Things go awry when the apostate Dick is mistaken by the occupying British for the town’s upstanding Minister, Anthony Anderson, and seized under suspicion of treason. What follows is a trial, during which the flippant Dick, under the minister’s guise, confronts the British authorities- In the form of the officious Major Swindon and the suave General Burgoyne.
As a film made in the 50’s, the costuming and other aspects of material culture ranges from simply poor to comically absurd. During his imprisonment, Kirk Douglas wears what amounts to a modern collared shirt- Which I’m hesitant to call a costume because it could just as easily be something he wore off set and showed up in.
Burt Lancaster fares little better- Being gussied up like Davy Crockett in the film’s climactic battle (yes- There is a climactic battle… for some reason)
The British troops, mean while, dress as though they’re on the way to a performance of Tchaikovsky.
One somewhat accurate uniform shows up, worn by a British Lieutenant-
Except its a uniform some 19 years out of date by the time the film takes place- Though the placement of the sash is correct for the period.
Larry’s uniform is a curious case, and one which warrants further examination (not really, I just feel like it)
(Image Credit- allposters.com)
Clearly, the costume designer drew heavy inspiration from the Reynold portrait of Gentleman Johnny- Right down to the laced belt and curious double-breasted waistcoat.
However, the portrait, painted in 1766, shows Burgoyne not in his General’s coat, but in the uniform of colonel of the 16th Light Dragoons. Note the helmet in background. The cut of Burgoyne’s uniform, too, reflects the fashions of the 60’s as opposed to the more closely fitted mode of the 70’s.
The film, as previously mentioned, takes place during the Saratoga Campaign of 1777. Burgoyne then, was a major general, and should have been dressed as such. He would, for formal occasions (such as the court room scene depicted in the play and the film), have most likely worn the uniform prescribed in 1767 for wear by general officers. The uniform he wears does features the gold lace and blue lapels of a General’s dress coat, but not spaced in twos, as they would have been on Burgoyne’s uniform. Futhermore, according to regulation set down in 1772, his waist-coat should be plain and white, not laced and buff-colored. The fall collar is another curious addition, as, in their dress uniforms, and sometimes in their undress, General officers wore a small, stiff standing cape.
Also, Larry wears this ridiculous hat-
10/10 for the hat alone.
still humping the american dream
The seizure of Polyxena by Achilles in Florence, Italy.
This is too cool
or hot? :)~
Lia Melia - Songs of Melusina 4
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