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Thursday, December 25, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Louis XIV invites Molière to share his supper—an unfounded Romantic anecdote, illustrated in 1863 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Well, not actually. What we have here is a view of defense spending slightly at odds with my earlier post on Phoenix.

The movie Vatel (With Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth.) tells the semi-true story of a festival put on for the King of France a couple of hundred years ago. As some added detail to the story, there are three fops hanging around, eating the food, flirting with the girls, fussing about their clothes and in general being totally useless. Just what you would expect from fops.

But then some thugs attack one of the carts bringing supplies to the festival. This creates enough of a fuss, that the king (or the prince, somebody in charge) dispatches these three useless fops to deal with it. They drop their grapes and girls and walk out to the source of the problem, pull out their swords, and swish, swish, jab, and presto! Problem solved. Back to the girls and the grapes.

So while they are expensive to maintain, and apparently useless when all is well, when things go badly they are very nice to have around. In this case the problem was almost trivial, but even if it had been enormous, we would have expected the same kind of response: quick and to the point.

As for the rest of the movie: Vatel and Uma Thurman's character were supposedly falling in love in the movie, but it did not come through on the screen. When they kiss for the first time it is like a complete shock, I didn't see that coming at all. Tim Roth on the other hand, is at his smarmiest, and plays the nasty villain very well.

Update December 2016 replaced missing picture.

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