Travels with a Rogue

A small piece of the web dedicated to Gen. Mikhail Skobolev (the White General), toy soldiers (any period), history, politics and books circa. 1850-1900.

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Location: Frederick, Maryland, United States

There was an earlier day in my life when I had plenty of time and no money for my hobby, now I have money for my hobby and not so much time. I never stopped playing with toy soldiers "much to my mothers chagrin" exchanging the sandbox, green armymen and rocks for Donald Featherstone's book Wargames, AWI soldiers from the back of a comic book, dice and rulers. Those early games were great fun and very exciting. Eventually I graduated to more complicated systems, better miniatures, headaches, rule arguments and basically not a lot of fun. I thought about ditching the hobby altogether. I realized recently that I like a good game of toy soldiers. I like the look of toy soldiers and I like the way a simple game plays. I like the trusty d6.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Turkish Gambit on DVD

This is an epic set during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877. The movie is based upon a novel by Russian author Boris Akunin. I'll review the book on a later posting. The story is the second in the series of the adventures of Erast Petrovich Fandorin. Fandorin is an observational detective very similar to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Erast faces off against a spy, or network of spies, that are plotting the downfall of the Tsarist armies in Bulgaria. The central backdrop for the movie is the Siege of Plevna.

The uniforms are excellently researched and include multiple shots of rarities such as the Russian Gendarme. There are also numerous on-screen appearances by Cossacks, Turks, Bashi-Bazouks, Russians (winter and summer uniforms) and Romanians. While this is primarily a spy thriller there is some fantastic battle footage. The camerawork during the second assault on Plevna is inspired. In keeping with current movie trends the horrors of war are graphic. In fact the casual viewer might be a bit depressed at some of the characters who become casualties.

This film is entirely a Russian effort, filmed in Russia and Bulgaria. It was released in 2005 and performed very well in Russian theaters. The film is available in Russian or dubbed in Bulgarian, Turkish or French. There are no English dubbed or subtitled versions available that I'm aware of. Regardless, the action can be followed with just a little effort. Reading the book in advance of viewing is highly recommended! It doesn't spoil the movie--in fact you'll still be surprised by the ending. You will require a multi-region DVD player to view this film. It will not play on a standard American player, as we are region1, and this is a region 5 formatted DVD.

In addition to the fictional spy thriller, appearances are made by historical characters such as Gen. M. Skobolev (the White General himself), Osman Pasha and Tsar Alexander II. If you're interested in this historical period then the Turkish Gambit is a must see movie. If you have a passing interest in the wars and armies of the late 19th century, you should see this movie. If you're a fan of good old-fashioned spy thrillers (you got it) you need to see this movie. I found my copy on eBay.

You can view the theatrical trailer at:

I give the Turkish Gambit DVD 8 Krupps up! It just doesn't get any better then that!


Anonymous Nomad said...

Ah! Thank you for this recommendation. I had seen that the DVD was available, but was hesitant to get it due to the lack of subtitles. I'll follow your advice and read the book first :-)

January 02, 2010 2:42 PM  

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