It’s been a while since the last Motion Picture Motions post, so imagine my delight – the joy, the ecstacy, the jubilation, even – when on rewatching the Sunday evening telly adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s Peninsular War romp (I believe ‘romp’ is the epithet mandated by law for such films) Sharpe’s Rifles I spotted a brief but nonetheless notable incidence of nut-busting brawl-initiated retching. Joy, oh joy.
Picture the scene: East London bad boy-turned-soldier Richard Sharpe (played by noted Cockney actor Sean ‘Raspberry Jam‘ Bean with the exuberant effusiveness of a randy gamekeeper) has saved the life of General Wellesley when dastardly French cavalry attack whilst the future Duke of Wellington walks his dog. For this, Sharpe – a common Serjeant in the 95th Rifles – is rewarded with a field commission to Lieutenant, a unit to command, and tasked with A Very Important Mission Behind French Lines.
And obviously, as (i) he is an officer but no gentleman, (ii) an outsider in a battle-weary, combat-bonded company, and (iii) the only one to know about the Very Important Mission Behind French Lines, he quickly pisses off both his new superior (egad! A commoner given rank!) and his new subordinates (feck! He thinks he’s better than us!)… Which, naturally, leads to a bit of physical, five-knuckled banter with rogueish Irish Chosen Man, Private Patrick Harper, the alpha male in the motley band of seasoned riflemen Sharpe must lead.
And so it is that after some in no way homoerotic bouncing off the adobe in a Portugese barn, friend Harper takes moment to bend over and express. Sharpe – demonstrating his lack of class, naturally – then swoops in short order with a devastating haymaker, which skittles his bloodied Fenian foe into some handily stacked prop barrels.
It’s the start of a beautiful relationship.