A Sharpe Idea

November 8, 2008 - 2 Comments

by Jim Barnes

Some time ago, I began getting the Sharpe series from Netflix. If you are not familiar with this British production, it concerns the adventures (military and romantic) of Major Richard Sharpe, commander of the 95th (Rifle) Regiment of Foot in Wellington’s army during the Napoleonic wars. Sean Bean (Boromir in Lord of the Rings) stars along with a good supporting cast. Production values are generally very good with a fair amount of historical detail thrown into each episode. There is a goodly amount of camp life shown which should appeal to military reenactors in general and Napoleonic reenactors in particular. I am not terribly well versed in the era, but there doesn’t seem to be the sort of ‘dumbing down’ that Hollywood usually utilizes with historical subjects. Sharpe and his men, for instance, proudly wear the dark green uniforms of the real regiments rather than traditional British red.

The British army’s experience in the American Revolution taught them a lot about the value of sharpshooters using rifles as an adjunct to the main body of soldiers carrying smoothbore muskets. As a result experimental rifle companies were finally formed in 1800 and used thereafter. (Wikipedia) I even found a sutler who sells repros of the lethal Baker flintlock rifles used by these soldiers. Also, you can get the whole collection of DVDs at Amazon.

The show was filmed in the ninties and you occasionally get guest stars who show up for an episode or two, such as Elizabeth Hurley or Pete Postalwaite. Overall, the discs are very entertaining and I believe I am addicted. Hope the mail gets here soon!

Jim

Filed Under: Films, Reviews, Television

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Comments (2)

Neil Randolph

November 26th, 2008 at 6:17 pm    


Jim,

started this project a couple winters ago…trying to watch all the Sharpe movies. The thing that did bother me after a while was the lack of any large screen action, everything was scaled to take place with, at most, fifty or so troops. That and the incongrous rock guitar in the theme music. Still, it’s better than most and I liked the individual soldiers such as Sharpe, his sergeant, the crazy nemesis with the tick…think he played the dad in “In the name of the father” and, of course, Wellington.

Best of all, read the series where your imagination is able to bring the scenes up to the proper size and the writing conveys the camp life much better than the sometimes farby films.

Neil Randolph

Jim Barnes

November 30th, 2008 at 9:10 am    


Neil,

The crazy nemesis with the tick is Pete Post Postalwaite. You might also remember him as the big game hunter who wants to bag a T-Rex in ‘Jurassic Park II’.

Jim

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