many joined the ranks out of patriotism; instead , like Sharpe, they
had taken the King's shilling because hunger or desperation had forced
them into uniform, but they were good soldiers. They came from the gutters
of Britain where a man survived by savagery rather than from cleverness.
They were brawlers and bastards, alley-fighters with nothing to lose
but tuppence a day."
"SHARPES TIGER" - Buch, Autor: Bernard Cornwell -- rg/17. März 2005
Richard Sharpe, Major
- Sean Bean
Scharfschützen - Das Banner des Blutes -- Sharpes
There is this scene in one of the Sharpe-Films: Rifleman Harris (played by Jason Salkey), in sloppy uniform, redcurled and with glasses on his nose, reads so intensively in a book, that he isn't at all aware, that the passing by pretty "lass" is bringing the baddie out of the room with a pistol in her hands. Should I have to choose from all films, I've ever seen, 10 Top-Favorite-Scenes, then this one would be for sure amongst it.
Ah yes, the bookworms! And it is true: You can be so filled with enthusiasm by a book, that you forget everything around you. And there are authors, who know how to write so gripping, that you can't get away from the book. Bernard Cornwell is in my opinion such an author, who describes in an unimitable english fashion the time of the Napoleonic Wars in his now 20 Sharpe-Books. His hero is the underdog Richard Sharpe, a little private, who, during and with the help of the war, succeeds in climbing in the English Army-hierachy to the rank of a Major.
The adventures of the Major Sharpe are bestsellers in England and at the beginning of the 90s two of the books, "Sharpes Rifles" and "Sharpes Eagle", were made into TV-films in feature film length. These two first parts were immediately so successful, that following them from 1993 to 1996 another 12 films were made. At the end, every child on the British Islands did know the faces and names of the actors, especially from Sean Bean, who turned out to be the ideal cast for the brave Major of low birth, often rough methods und a very own codex of honour.
In the same way as the books the Sharpe-Films are in the best sense "english". That starts already with the selection of the many good actors. Major Sharpe leads the 95th Rifles, a Sharpeshooters unit, who during the war becomes badly decimated and finally is combined with the South Essex Regiment.
The sharpeshooters around Sharpe, who use especially far-ranging and precise guns, the "rifles", understand themselves as a special, chosen group of men, and in the original English version, they are also called "Chosen Men"
In the books, Cornwell could write, regarding Sharpes unit, simply of the 95th Rifles, but in the Films, it became necessary, to give the Riflemen faces - and what faces! Where in German Television productions you sometimes even have problems in dividing between the hero and his main adversary, like it happened to me only a short while ago in a Pilcher-Film, the English effortlessly set up a whole phalanx of highly individual, interesting characters down to the smallest supporting part.
And who, like me, asks himself more often then not in Hollywood movies at the end the question: And where was the story? Will almost weep out of happiness with the Sharpe-Films, because here is everything: Professionally done action plus a good story plus a hero, who is immensely interesting, handsome, versatile and been played by an excellent actor plus a selected group of Quality actors in the supporting parts -and that 14fold multiplied!
Additionally to that comes a perspective from below, that you could nearly call subversive: These unwilling heroes are simple soldiers, who at last are not portrayed as brainless idiots or pitiable canon fodder. In the contrary: Sharpe and his "Chosen Men" show superior intellect, they even may go against an order and they know how to revenge themselves to incompetent officers.
When did we experience the last time such a bold and rebellious view? You have to go back nearly to Charlie Chaplin and his legendary "Shoulder Arms" to find something comparable.
The films were, after the first two, filmed in series of 3, and there was one year available for the production for every series.
In the first three years the main shooting was done, out of cost reasons, on the Crimea in the Ukraine. But the often breathetaking landscape stood in a crass contrast to the decaying beton cities, who showed still all the charme of their bygone communistic past.
For cast and crew the dreary, comfortless lodgings and the bad life conditions became the biggest challenge during the filming. Jason Salkey "Rifleman Harris", who since "Sharpes Gold" had his video camera with him, made about this time impressive documentations in the form of Video diaries.
|Wo gibt's die Bücher/Books?||As Original English editions available, can best be ordered from an English deliverer, for example from www.amazon.co.uk|
|Wo gibt's die Filme?|
|Wo gibt's die Harris Diaries?||
Can best be ordered directly from Jason Salkey as Video or DVD from his website www.riflemanharris.co.uk
Jason Salkey put a lot of work and effort into these self-productions, so please, only buy directly from him. He is commenting in all the Diaries with his clear and good understandable "Rifleman Harris" voice.
|Bildherkunft||background-picture: screencapture from "Harris Diaries 4"|
|update: rg/1. November 2007 -- upload: rg/17. März 2005|
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