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 (Nebout), who has
borne his child, but the jealous, ruthless Gonzague (Luchini), his cousin, literally stabs
him in the back. Lagardere and the young infant girl barely escape to join a troupe of
Like the Count of Monte Cristo, Lagardere waits 16 years until Nevers' daughter Aurore
(Gillain) is a gorgeous young heroine with plenty of fight before pursuing revenge against
the slayer of his friend. Gonzague now rules the Rue Quincampoix (a
budding stock market) 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."
(Read full review)
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
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."
"There's terrific chemistry between Perez and Auteuil..."
"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."
"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
The Hollywood Reporter:
"Paul Feval's swashbuckler is brought gloriously to cinematic life in the hearty,
adventure En Garde... A great cast, thrilling fight scenes and chivalric
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
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."
"Wildly exciting as well as very funny.... starring the dream team of French leading
"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
"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."
To view the trailer via QuickTime, click on
the photo below
Daniel Auteuil.............................Lagardere Fabrice
Luchini...........................Gonzague Vincent Perez.....................Duke of
Nevers Marie Gillain.....................................Aurore Yann
Nebout..................................Blanche Philippe Noiret.............Philippe d'
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
Premiered in France on 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
Available for rental without subtitles through videofrance.com and