Friday, 10 July 2009

The Sovereign's Servant

The Swedes are coming!

Having seen this 2007 Russian film trailed on the Wars of Louis Quatorze blog I decided to order the international version (which has French and English subtitles) direct from the manufacturer I have to say that I wasn't that confident of it arriving from Russia but it appeared in just over a week.


There is some discussion on IMDB about it not being very historically accurate, the uniforms being too clean and the languages other than Russian (Swedish, French, Polish, Ukrainian) being mangled (the actors learnt it phonetically) but as I don't speak any of those (except French and that sounds OK) I didn't really notice. Also I'm not bothered about whether it was a historic re-enactment of Poltava or not. This is because it had Swedish and Russian GNW armies hammering it out in big budget widescreen and when are you ever likely to see that again?

Court in a trap

The film itself is about two French aristocrats who, having fought a duel over a woman, are sent by a disapproving Louis XIV to observe the Swedish and Russian armies just before Poltava.

Our hero

Our hero is an Orlando Bloom-a-like who treks across Poland to meet up with the Russians; encountering Polish partisans, dastardly Swedes (very much the villains) and a Russian soldier who befriends him. It all climaxes at a pretty well done Poltava (although the redoubts are a bit Sharpe like).

Swedes sir, thousands of em!

Other than getting me to want to paint some more GNW figures, naturally, the film, because of its Russian slant has got me more enthused about painting a Russian Army.

Charge! They look just like the Musketeer minatures figures!

I had been so biased towards the Swedes that I just didn't care much about the Russians but now that has changed and I can't wait to get going on the pikemen (none in the film) which I ordered from Musketeer a month ago. So I think I will take these on holiday with me next month.

Musketeer Miniatures; we need Russian command figures! Now!

I'd certainly recommend The Sovereign's Servant. It's beautifully filmed, there are hundreds (rather than dozens, a la Sharpe) of extras in the battle scenes and some of the background women are breathtaking as only Russian women can be. I was giving a lecture in Smolny, the St Petersburg city hall, a couple of years ago, and a bell rang and all the city secretaries came out for lunch. It was like Milan fashion week; I've never seen so many beautiful women in one place at one time (and I've been to a model's party at Milan Fashion Week!)

Katie Holmes-a-like heroine smirks at Louis XIV

It's gory without overdoing it (blood but no guts, a few hangings and a beheading) and there are a few (not enough, given the quality of the actresses!) glimpses of partial female nudity (which I know worries some non-Europeans).

I want this ship!

There is also a lovely eighteenth century sailing ship in it which was a bonus as far as I am concerned.

I really enjoyed this film, despite the historical inaccuracies (although they got some things right; like Charles XII getting a foot wound just before the battle) and think that it will be a long time before we ever see another film set in the Great Northern War.


  1. Nice review of the film. I'm OK on nudity in movies (don't believe all of the stereotypes about Americans). Maybe in five more years we will get the next GNW figure from Musketeer. I'm holding out until he has a complete range. Then I'll buy hundreds.

    I'll second what you say about the women in Milan. Unbelievably attractive women there.

  2. Very well done indeed. Those who worry about a little nudity must really marvel that there are over six billion people on the planet. I ofter ponder just how that happened...

  3. Fantastic!

    I have enjoyed the clips on You Tube and elsewhere from this film.

    Marketing for such films needs to change ... find gamers like us and we will eat it up!

  4. Do you know why the movie would be unavailable for sale now? I want to order it for my friend for Christmas and I can't find it anywhere. I know this is old but maybe you can help me!

  5. I think you can still get it from the Russian site which I linked to in my post. Never seen it for sale anywhere else either.