While I continue to crawl my way through the Ford Madox Ford biography, I'm also digging back into Joseph Conrad and came across his short story The Duel.
I then recalled that an excellent film of it had been made in 1977, The Duellists. This was Ridley Scott's first movie and it's excellence gave a huge boost to his career.
The film is an excellent adaptation of a very Conradian tale - a rational, intelligent officer who inadvertently offends a hot-headed comrade and then is forced to fight duel after duel with him against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars.
The film moves efficiently through the timeline, which runs from 1800 to 1816, and the costuming and atmosphere is superb. The duels themselves are brilliantly choreographed.
It is also an example of using weapons to tell a story and the contrast between The Duellists and the decline and fall of lightsabers in Star Wars is pretty stark.
In short, it is a tight little movie of the kind that simply cannot be made today.