Harper: "I had an uncle who thought the Faeries were after him.
Sharpe: What happened to him?
Harper: Well, sir, they took him away. "

.

Quotation

 

 

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"SHARPES Gold" - Film, 1994-- rg/18. Februar 2006

 

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Sharpes Gold

Die Scharfschützen - Blutiges Gold

Richard Sharpe, Major - Sean Bean
Patrick Harper, Sergeant - Daragh O'Malley
Rifleman Harris - Jason Salkey
Rifleman Hagman - John Tams
Rifleman Perkins - Lyndon Davis
Rifleman Cooper - Michael Mears
Rifleman "Tongue" - Paul Trussell

 

 

 

 

 

It has to be said , that the Film "Sharpe's Gold" has nearly nothing to do with the Bernard Cornwells book "Sharpe's Gold" and why that is so, is explained from Jason Salkey in the Harris Diary No. 1

I'm not sure, what restraints the poor writer of the script had, but from the outcome I would say, he had to prevent at all costs any similarities to the original book!

That might explain also, while there is for a long time no gold (no! no gold, no talk of gold, no sight of it.) No Sir!

Of course, we DO have the Major Sharpe and his Riflemen and it is set in the Spanish Peninsular. We do see them at the beginning as they try to stop a bunch of French soldiers together with there baggage train. They win, but when the redcoats amongst them see the riches, that the French abandoned, they rebel and desert with the treasures, they find.

(And no, we still don't see any gold. jewels, yes, silverplates yes, but, gold??)

On their way back the Riflemen march on a dusty road into an abandoned village. And what must they do but run into a provost and his men? Not a nice meeting and it escalates when the provost Lieutenant Ayres catches one of Sharpes men - looting!

And what is it the wretched creature stole?

No, (you guessed it) No Gold. But - a chicken!! Yes, a chicken.

But looting is looting, and you can be hanged for it, no matter, what. Sharpe, (of course) don't like this and frees the chicken thief.

That settles Ayres as the Sharpe enemy of this story.

Until now, one would say nothing really unusual. But Sharpe's Gold is a strange film. It starts to develope fantastic elements, that would suit very well a Karl May* story, and that you wouldn't exactly await in a Sharpe-Film. That is perhaps, why I think of this episode as the "German"one! Also the real Life during Filming gives a hint in that direction: Look at Harris Video Diary No 1

* = Karl May (1842 - 1912): Famous German author of adventure literature. Until today, 80 million of his appr. 80 books were sold worldwide. Feature films, made in the 1960s, were very successfully running in German cinema, American actor Lex Barker played Old Shatterhand, the alter ego of Karl May, and French actor Pierre Brice played the noble Indian Chief Winnetou. Especially Pierre Brice was so identified with his role, that since then he "is" Winnetou.

If one sees now parallels to the Sharpe books and films, they are surely there. But in opposition to the fictional Richard Sharpe, the hero with humble origins, who will also steal, or lie, will disobey and do (nearly) everything to survive and his author Bernard Cornwell, who painstakingly researches his books and declares in historical notes, what is historical and what invented, Karl May wrote his books in the first person, and made his readers believe, that he himself had travelled the far places and lived through the phantastic adventures he described. He himself is usually nobly acting, with high moral principles, he wouldn't break, even if his life depends on it. The real Karl May came from humble origins, he never left Germany until much later, when he was already a famous author. He was in his youth bitterly poor and inprisoned several times for petty thefts, he did to survive.

The films:

Die Scharfschützen - Das Banner des Blutes -- Sharpes Rifles

Die Scharfschützen - Der Adler des Kaisers -- Sharpes Eagle


Die Scharfschützen - Kommando ohne Wiederkehr -- Sharpes Company

Die Scharfschützen - Armee des Schreckens -- Sharpes Enemy

Die Scharfschützen - Der Preis der Ehre -- Sharpes Honour<


Die Scharfschützen - Blutiges Gold -- Sharpes Gold

Die Scharfschützen - Die Wolfsjagd -- Sharpes Battle

Die Scharfschützen - Jenseits des Todes -- Sharpes Sword


Die Scharfschützen - Das verschwundene Bataillon --Sharpes Regiment

Die Scharfschützen - Todfeinde -- Sharpes Siege

Die Scharfschützen - Der Verräter -- Sharpes Mission

Sharpes Revenge

Sharpes Justice

Sharpes Waterloo

Sharpes Challenge

Later, back in camp, when two women (mother and daughter) on horseback arrive, who await to see General Wellington without delay, and who reveal themselves as cousins of the great man, there is a pure English moment of straight common sense, when Wellington simply refuses to help is relatives to search for the husband/father, who got somehow mislaid in this general area.

Of course, Wellington, always the Gentleman, when it comes to women, invites the two ladies to a evening meal, before sending them home again. The daughter, Ellie, makes the most out of the situation, and amuses herself (and the officers) in wearing a nice evening gown with a really deep neckline. No wonder, the poor Ayres can't take is eyes of her, and no wonder either, that Ellie prefers the more rough charme of our Major!

When the idle chat leads to weapons and Ellies skills as a hunter, she is challenged into a shooting conquest on the next morning. And who will be her opponent? None other then our (and her) favorite Rifleman Richard Sharpe! The shooting conquest is really amusing and must not be missed by any Sharpe fan. :-)

After having had the fun, Wellington has a new mission for Sharpe: The Major has to make connections with some Spanish Guerilla and their leader, a man named "El Casco". So far so good.

But then of course, comes El Casco, and he wears a helmet and breastplate that is 16th century. We do learn, that he is a fierce creature with cold eyes and a menacing aura. He seems to be not completely from this world - until he starts trading.

(Oh! Perhaps now we will talk about gold?)

What has he to offer? Oh, Oh, English deserters, he and his men captured in the mountains. And what does he want? Yes, a very modern item: Baker rifles!!

(No, of course no gold!!!)

"...Du sahst mich oft im Kampf mit jenen Schlingeln,
Geschminkten Katzen und bebrillten Pudeln,
Die mir den blanken Namen gern besudeln,
Und mich so gerne ins Verderben züngeln.

Du sahest oft, wie mich Pedanten hudeln,
Wie Schellenkappenträger mich umklingeln,
Wie giftge Schlangen um mein Herz sich ringeln;
Du sahst mein Blut aus tausend Wunden sprudeln..."

Heinrich Heine, deutscher Dichter, 1797 - 1856

Of course, deserters are a matter of the provosts, and so Ayres is commanded to go with Sharpe. Since they will be the two only officers, Ayres, true to his gentlemanly background, tries to make peace with the Major, who, true to his background, refuses and fights Ayres as mean as possible...

"Old? I am not old. I count only one over a hundred years, but my forfathers grew much much older"

During busily digging, the old man continued:

"Yes far more then a hundred years! My father counted a hundred and ten, my grandfather a hundred and eleven, and his father even a hundred and twenty. Und it was his predecessor, who saved your ancestor from the Spaniards, when they murdered the great Inka Atahualpa and tried to eradicate his whole family. Haukaropora the name was of this, your godly ancestor, and you have gotten the same name. He was the youngest son of Atahualpa and born afar, so that Pizarro, the murderer knew nothing of his existence. Our great empire was destroyed, with the sword and the fire, through cunning, deceit and treachery. It is said, the Inkas have died out, but you live, the last of the sons of the sun, and the time will come, when you will punish the Spaniards and reconquer your Empire."

Fundort: Internet: Karl May, Das Vermächtnis des Inka, Projekt Gutenberg: http://gutenberg.spiegel.de

Later, we will hear more from the background of El Casco and his men: t it is said, that some 300 years ago a spanish Galleon stranded nearby. It had come from the New World and had a golden treasure and also idols from the Aztecs on board. The sailors vanished with all the goods and tales started about bloodthirsty and grim rites of ungodly men hidden in the mountains.

(Ahhhh! GOLD.)

But El Casco is not Sharpes worst obligation: Just to make Sharpes life a little bit more difficult, Wellingtons cousins, the beautiful young Ellie and her mother, disobeyed the General and attached themselves to Sharpes mission. It doesn't really help, that Ayres is also a member of the group.

(Puuuh. Females. Fine for Sharpe. But - what about the Gold?)

"Wagen mußt du und flüchtig erbeuten,
Hinter uns schon durch die Nacht hör ichs schreiten,
Schwing auf mein Roß dich nur schnell
Und küß noch im Flug mich, wildschönes Kind,
Geschwind,
Denn der Tod ist ein rascher Gesell
."

aus dem Gedicht: "Der Soldat"
von Joseph von Eichendorff, deutscher Dichter, 1788 - 1857

When a French patrouille crosses the way of the English, it comes to a fight and also the two women have to prove themselves.Ellie shoots a young French soldier and is soooo desolated afterwords, that Sharpe really HAS to do something about it, and he stands like a man in this contest.

Yes, Odysseus is right, "...women have a way of complicating things..."

(And: still no gold :( )

Schläft ein Lied in allen Dingen
die da träumen fort und fort,
und die Welt hebt an zu singen,
Triffst Du nur das Zauberwort.

Joseph von Eichendorff

Sleeps a song in all these things, that are dreaming on and on and the world is one that sings, if you meet the charmin' word.

But now short before everybody despairs, including Sharpe, English and French soldiers, women, visitors, watchers cast and crew, we do become a nicely set end: Ellie is captured from El Casco and in true romantic style becomes the damsel in distress par excellence: Binded and drugged she lies in a cave before the stone idols of grim Aztec gods, ready to be sacrificed, when Richard Sharpe rescues her in the last moment...

...and what does he find when looking after that a little bit around?

Yes. Here it is in the very end: the Treasure of Gold, everybody waited so long for! That is the truly charmed and charming end in best wild romantic fantastic style...

You can get the Films

They ran on German TV, and now, at long last, they will come out also in Germany on DVD, since 8. November 2007

Pictures:

Background-Picture Screencapture from "Sharpes Gold" from www.full-of-beans.net. Many more pictures.

 

  update 3. März 2007 + + + upload rg/18. Februar 2006
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