News – EN – Three things to know about… The Adventures of Baron de Münchausen


Terry Gilliam’s film, released in 1989, is in the spotlight tonight at “Place au cinéma”, presented by Dominique Besnehard, on France 5

The Adventures of Baron Münchausen features an old man who, in the 18th century, in the middle of a play retracing the epic of this famous baron, interrupts the performance, claiming to be this one and seeking therefore to restore a truth that he considers distorted It is also and above all the highly anticipated film based on Brazil by Terry Gilliam which has as its hero a German officer in the pay of the Russian army who really existed (he died at 76 years old on February 22, 1797) and whose fictionalized account of his exploits by authors Rudolf Erich Raspe and Gottfried August Bürger made him one of the most popular heroes of German literature In the manner of what may have happened with Cyrano de Bergerac in France Before Gilliam, Georges Méliès was the first to bring these adventures to the big screen in 1911, followed by the German Josef Von Baky in 1943, the Czech Karel Zeman with Le Baron de Crac in 1962 and Jean Image with two animated feature films in 1978 and 1984: The Adventures of Baron de Münchausen and The Secret of the Selenites And the idea came to Gilliam to deliver his version after his producer Ray Cooper gave him a copy of Raspe’s book (Baron Munchausen’s narrative of his Marvelous Travels and Campagns in Russia) illustrated by Gustave Doré A few days later, he began adapting it, excited by what he was going to be able to tell through this epic tale: the destruction of the imagination by the bureaucracy. A subject that fascinates him

When embarking on this project, Gilliam then had no idea of ​​the series of galleys he was going to face It all started with a somewhat hectic cast where, for a time, Marlon Brando was considered for a role to be played by Oliver Reed and where Peter O’Toole, the hero of Lawrence of Arabia was his first choice to play the title role before he opted for John Neville, a theater actor who had not acted for the cinema for almost 30 years But the worst was to come Estimated at 23.5 million dollars, the budget will soar to over 46 million Blame it on an air strike that delays the start of filming by preventing the costumes from arriving on time Or a series of costly mistakes by the decoration team who, having forgotten to bring in cannons, decided at the last minute to have them built … real ones for an astronomical sum The overrun is such that the filming stops and the producers, through the insurance company they have appointed, even try to seize Terry Gilliam’s property to reimburse themselves And when everything resumes, drastic cuts force certain scenes to be radically changed which, although they were to bring together thousands of extras, often turn out face-to-face! Faced with such astronomical sums spent, the only salvation could have come from theatrical entries With only $ 8 million in worldwide receipts, mass was said, confirmed by a zero point at the Oscars where he was only nominated in technical categories (decor, costumes, make-up, visual effects) This first failure of his career will be for him like Captain Haddock’s sticking plaster He will never regain the confidence of producers with an unmanageable reputation that has stuck with him ever since

With this film, Terry Gilliam offers her first landmark role to a very young 9-year-old actress who has already been filming for three years in her native Canada: Sarah Polley The experience was not easy, the actress feeling several times in physical and emotional danger in the face of an unprepared pyrotechnic effects and other stunts. In 2005, she even recounted this painful memory in an article for the Toronto Star, explaining that it disgusted and forever removed her from any blockbuster, while insisting that Gilliam had been adorable to her. The latter apologized to her, assuring her that he had never seen the feeling of panic that this adventure could have generated in her.

“Place au cinéma”, presented by Dominique Besnehard, on France 5, this evening pays tribute to Jean-Claude Carrière with the film by Louis Malle which he co-wrote

Claude Miller’s first film is in the spotlight tonight at “Place au cinéma”, presented by Dominique Besnehard, on France 5

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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

News – EN – Three things to know about… The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
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