Synopsis by Karl Williams
Novelist George MacDonald Fraser penned the script for this swashbuckling, picaresque adventure tale. The story is based on one of the books in his "Harry Flashman" series, loose sequels to "Tom Brown's Schooldays" that followed that story's central bully character through his checkered post-graduate military career. Malcolm McDowell plays Captain Harry Flashman, a cowardly, lascivious poseur who desperately seeks entry into high European society. Recognizing an opportunity to advance their own sinister political agendas, scheming Otto Von Bismarck (Oliver Reed) and Rudi Von Sternberg (Alan Bates) convince Flashman to masquerade as a Prussian noble and marry a beautiful duchess (Britt Ekland), a flawed plan to which Flashman agrees. Inevitably, the transparent ruse is discovered, and Flashman is forced to try to escape across 19th century Europe, narrowly missing one disaster after another and experiencing first-hand some of history's most momentous events. Director Richard Lester and Fraser used similar baroque settings, tongue-in-cheek characterizations, elaborate stunts and breakneck pacing for The Three Musketeers (1973) and its sequel, The Four Musketeers (1974) with similar efficacy. Fraser would try again with analogous material three years later with Crossed Swords (1978), a lavish version of The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain.
adventurer, aristocracy, bad-guy, coward, escapades, good-guy, high-society, impersonation, marriage, nobility, politician, prostitute/prostitution, society, swashbuckler, wedding, book