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128 minutes




Synopsis: Le Bossu (aka On Guard! or En Garde) opens near the end of Louis XIV's reign, when a masterful young swordsman named Lagardere (Auteuil) challenges and then befriends the dashing Duke of Nevers (Perez), creator of a lethal sword thrust the former wishes to learn.

Spontaneous, poetic and humane, Nevers weds his sweetheart, Blanche, who has borne his child, but the jealous, ruthless Gonzague, his cousin, literally stabs him in the back. Lagardere and the young infant girl barely escape to join a troupe of traveling players.

Like the Count of Monte Cristo, Lagardere waits 16 years until Nevers' daughter Aurore is a gorgeous young heroine with plenty of fight before pursuing revenge against the slayer of his friend. Gonzague now rules the Rue Quincampoix with the help of a hunchback, whom Lagardere impersonates.


"As Nevers, Vincent Perez shows an unexpected flair for comedy. He's dashing and sexy in that slightly pleased-with-himself manner that always made Errol Flynn so funny."  

Sydney Morning Herald:
"Le Bossu boasts some delightful performances, in particular from Perez as the flamboyant Nevers, and Auteuil as the hero with many aspects to his personality: the tender father figure, the eager hero, even the scheming hunchback he disguises himself as in order to accomplish his mission. Shot with an eye on the natural charms of the French countryside, the film also pleases with its elegant interior sets and costumes."

Los Angeles Times:
The French Film Series, "City of Lights, City of Angels" opens with the most joyous, most sumptuous offering, Philippe De Broca's exhilarating swashbuckler En Garde, arguably the best picture ever from the New Wave pioneer... Boasting a stellar cast and wonderful period atmosphere, this deft reworking of Paul Feval's 1857 novel Le Bossu stars Daniel Auteuil as Legardere, a superb swordsman who vows to avenge the murder of his dashing, gallant friend the Duke de Nevers (Vincent Perez), a victim of his impoverished, greedy cousin Gonzague (Fabrice Luchini). Loaded with action, intrigue and romance, En Garde is irresistibly stirring."

San Diego Union Tribune:
"One of the most exciting movies ever to cross swords. Errol Flynn lives, in French. Directed by veteran Philippe de Broca, it stars some of France's best actors (Daniel Auteuil, Fabrice Luchini, Vincent Perez) in a sumptuous, exhilarating story of swordplay, intrigue, romance and revenge."

TV Guide:
"There's terrific chemistry between Perez and Auteuil..."

Electronic Telegraph:
"A handsome French period costume drama doubling as a richly comic swashbuckling epic... There's intrigue, jokes and, when all else fails, much swordplay. Delightful.

Critic Rich Cline:
"The cast is superb, especially Luchini as the smiling backstabber, and Perez as the foppish yet handsome and talented duke... Attention to detail, lovely cinematography  and epic music add to director de Broca's skill with action, comedy and intimate drama - the swordfight scenes are remarkably coherent, clearly signaling each instance of the grisly Nevers Attack."

The Independent:
"Acted and shot with magnificent braggadocio... Fabrice Luchini makes a supremely oleaginous villain. Vincent Perez leaps hither and thither like a latter-day Douglas Fairbanks while Daniel Auteuil's character seems like a cross between Cyrano and D'Artagnan."

"Auteuil is a character actor, not the Errol Flynn of Gallic cinema. If he and Perez had  swapped roles, it would have fitted de Broca's romantic vision far better, except Auteuil comes into his own as the hunchback. Perez conveys aristocratic arrogance with enough panache to be sympathetic and Gillain is delightful."

The Hollywood Reporter:
"Paul Feval's swashbuckler is brought gloriously to cinematic life in the hearty, rousing romantic adventure En Garde...  A great cast, thrilling fight scenes and chivalric romance."

6 Bears Magazine:
"Adapted from the cloak and dagger novel of Paul Feval, this version has a new depth of characters and a new historical dimension, bathed in beautiful scenery... Vincent Perez as the Duke of Nevers is charming and invincible as the expert swordsman."

The Daily Telegraph:
"A very French adventure yarn of betrayal and revenge with lots of vigorous, swishing swordfights. The excellent cast races through ravishing locations from one thrilling set piece to the next. Great fun."
"Sexy and dramatic... Perez is magnificent in the sort of heroic role he professes to despise."

Film Review:
"Wildly exciting as well as very funny.... starring the dream team of French leading men."

Cinema d'Oron:
"Played with conviction and plume, where you will find duels, treachery, beautiful costumes, avenged honor, love... Vincent Perez gives a sensational ease to the Duke of Nevers, handling the sword better than anybody and trailing all the hearts after him."

Lizard's Lair:
"Paul Feval's 1875 swashbuckling serial The Hunchback of Paris receives its sixth celluloid outing with the dream team of Auteuil & Perez in the leads, two of the most popular actors in French cinema, so their teaming provides a long awaited delight.... A fine supporting cast that includes the likes of Gillain and veteran character actor Noire. We have an ensemble second to none."

"A ripping good time... Fabrice Luchini shines as the evil Gonzague, his commanding, quietly creepy villainy being the perfect foil for Vincent Perez's very Billy Zane-ish turn as the swashbuckling young Duke."

Exeter University Cinema Society:
"This is a dynamic and lively film with action, betrayal, revenge, love, comedy and of course great thrust and parry sequences. Don't miss it."



Daniel Auteuil.........Lagardere
Fabrice Luchini...........Gonzague
Vincent Perez..........Duke of Nevers
Marie Gillain.........Aurore Yann Collette.........Peyrolles Claire Nebout.........Blanche Philippe Noiret........Philippe d' Orleans


Directed by...........Philippe De Broca
Screenplay by.........Jean Cosmos, Jerome Tonnere and Philippe de Broca

Based on the novel by..........Paul Feval
Cinematography by.........Jean-Francois Robin
Music by..........Philippe Sarde


France Premiere: December 3, 1997

1998 Cesar Award:  Best Costume Design

1998 Cesar Nominations: Best French Film, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Music, Best Editor, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor - Vincent Perez

Also nominated for the 1999 Best Non- English Film by the British Academy


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