Ada, Angelique, Lenore and the art of raising a young boy’s pulse

Unpacking a large shipment of posters brings back memories. When I was a young boy there was not a lot on television in The Netherlands with only two channels and what was on offer wasn’t what you call “exciting”. Of course there was Paul Verhoeven’s knight series FLORIS with the irrepressible Hans Boskamp as the pirate Lange Pier (Tall Pete) uttering the cry “Hoe Gravinnevlees! (Hey, countesses meat!)” before giving Countess Ada (Diana Dobbelman) a little spanking when her disguise as a page boy had failed. Enough to make a young boy blush and I’m sure it did. (If you are curious and understand Dutch you will find the sequence between minute 13 and 15 on this link.)

For some serious loin stirring though I had to wait until the Angelique series was being broadcast in the early seventies. I don’t recall a lot of details, haven’t seen any of it for over 30 years. I remember there was a lot of traveling. Angelique was always going places, running in either a figurative or literal sense to escape the men who were lusting for her. The combination of action, foreign locale and shapely Michele Mercier was irresistible, well for a ten year old boy anyway.

I already have two posters from the series, but they are a bit so-so.

ANGELIQUE, MARQUISE DES ANGES (1964, 120x80 cm, Germany)

ANGELIQUE ET LE ROY (1965, 60x80 cm, France)

Of course these posters have nice portraits of Mercier and they do highlight Angeliques hair colour. As I watched it in black and white, I always thought she was Bardot blond, not this fiery reddish blonde. Anyway there’s something not quite right. The posters are a bit tame, Michele looks too goody, she might as well be Sissi.

That’s why I’m so happy with my new Italian posters. They portray the movies like I remember them and why I adore Italian posters. Here are full on Angelique posters, bold and sexy, a strong woman every man would like to conquer, but can’t.

ANGELIQUE, MARQUISE DES ANGES (1964, 100x140 cm, Italy)

MERVEILLEUSE ANGELIQUE (1965, 100x140 cm, Italy)

INDOMPTABLE ANGELIQUE (1967, 100x140 cm, Italy)

ANGELIQUE ET LE SULTAN (1968, 100x140 cm, Italy)

The posters remind me of two other aspects of the series stuck in my memory. In the first place, if Angelique was not running, she was either laying on bed half naked or put to display for roving eyes of men.

The other thing is the man of mystery, Jeoffrey de Peyrac (played by Robert Hossein). He sure brought something sexy to the mix as well, the beast. The concept that he was ugly, due -but only due- to this enormous scar, is very clever. Romantic pulp fiction at its best. And what do you know the Italians picked up on that, with large scar-faced heads on their posters, though looking at INDOMPTABLE ANGELIQUE and ANGELIQUE AND THE SULTAN their art men did not need too many designs of a male head with a scar.

In the spirit of this entry I just watched a few examples of Angelique on YouTube. Here’s the trailer for the first film:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpK2OlayWvg&feature=related]

Pretty much as I remembered and enjoyable, but I don’t think I will re-watch the series in its entirety.

It takes more than a pretty redhead to keep me interested in a romantic action flic nowadays. Having said, there was another trip to memory lane when I opened my package. A few years after the Angelique series I discovered even older movies with sharp witted heroes and stunning heroines. One of my favorites was and still is SCARAMOUCHE. Again it it set in Paris, the perfect decor for any swashbuckling hero, especially when you are allowed to wear these spectacular trousers. STEWART GRANGER is perfectly cast for this one, his finest role. I don’t think any other actor could quite fill these trousers as he did. I’m sure the Prince Regent in Blackadder the Third would approve. MEL FERRER is excellent as well as the evil and perfectly wigged adversary. Last but not least SCARAMOUCHE has two great actresses. JANET LEIGH was pretty, but did not have the effect ELEANOR PARKER had on me. Some words of LORD FLASHHEART from Blackadder II spring to mind: “Lenore, you’re sexy, WOOF!” And what a great actress to boot. Click here for one of the best swashbuckling scenes and look below for one of my best recent acquisitions. It’s the Italian quattro foglio.

SCARAMOUCHE (1952, 140x200 cm, Italy)

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