The Grand Duel is an interesting movie. The story behind the movie doesn’t make it an instant grab your attention piece. But given the chance, it turns out to be a very well written story that will keep audiences watching just to find out the mystery of who really killed The Patriarch.
The story behind The Grand Duel starts off somewhat slow. Audiences are introduced to the story’s main characters early on. But the story offers very little the way of back story. Thankfully, the story doesn’t take long to pick up and finally establish the plot. The plot turns out to be very simple. It’s one that’s been countless times since and probably before. Philipp Wermeer is being taken in for the accusation of having killed “The Patriarch” of the Saxon family. He’s brought into a small town where he meets the ex-sheriff Clayton. Clayton actually helps Wermeer escape because he knows who really killed The Patriarch. Yes, it’s the classic innocent man accused of a crime story.
The story of an innocent man wrongly accused had likely been done many times before this movie, and has been done just as many times since. So what is it that makes The Grand Duel stand out in the crowd of such movies? What makes it stand out is that writer Ernesto Gastaldi somehow managed to fuse together the Western and Crime Drama genres to make a movie that will entertain both the action movie fans and those into mystery movies. The gunfights spread throughout the movie (including the final shootout) are more than enough to satiate the appetite of any action movie buff. While Wermeer’s journey to discover who had really killed the Patriarch and let him take the fall will appeal to anyone that’s a fan of mysteries and crime dramas.
The writing behind The Grand Duel is a big part of the movie’s success, despite its slow start. Thanks to the writing, the movie clocks in at just over an hour and a half. It wastes very little time on unnecessary extraneous material, opting instead to stay right on track with the story. Eventually, the story leads up to a twist that seems predictable only in hindsight. That alone is a sign of good writing. And that writing, mixed with a general Western backdrop is enough to bring in even more audiences. It will bring in fans of the Western genre, even though the story just happens to be set in the old west. It manages to seamlessly mix the Western, the Action, and the Crime Drama for a piece that while it may not be the most memorable classic flick, it is one that any true movie buff should see at least once.
Crime procedurals are among the most popular shows on television today, next to “reality television.” All four of the “Big Four” have their own share of crime dramas. NBC has at least one show remaining in the Law & Order franchise. CBS has NCIS and a handful of others. Even ABC and Fox have their shows, as do the cable networks. But what most audiences might not know is that PBS also has its own hit crime drama in the Inspector Morse series. The Inspector Morse series is just as gripping as any of the shows that are all over cable and “The Big Four.” And now, fans of Inspector Morse are getting a special new treat with a prequel to the series titled, “Endeavour.”
“Endeavour” will air on PBS this Saturday, July 1st. And then it will be available on both dvd and blu-ray July 24th. Whether one is new to the Inspector Morse franchise or a seasoned fan, “Endeavour” will pull audiences in and hold them through its entire ninety-minute run time. The movie opens with a young Constable Morse writing his resignation letter from his police department. He is going to turn it in until a young teenage girl goes missing. That missing persons case turns into a murder investigation that would become the biulding block of Morse’s career.
Morse starts investigating the girl’s murder. And the more he invesitgates, the bigger the web of deceit grows. Not only does Morse have to face off against suspects in the case, but also fellow members of the police force. One member of the force in particular would seemingly do everything in his power to keep Morse from making any progress on the case. And the reason why is later revealed. It plays its own role in the ultimate outcome of this well written mystery. The story has just enough twists, turns, and red herrings to keep even uninitiated audiences watching right up to the end without losing track of what’s going on along the way. When the person behind everything is revealed, it’s so shocking that no one will have even suspected said person. Even Morse himself didn’t suspect the criminal in question behind it all at first.
The Inspector Morse franchise may not be as popular as the crime dramas that populate network and cable television. Chances are that’s only because it’s on PBS. But if anything can be said of “Endeavour”, it’s that much more proof of the value of PBS. It proves that PBS’ programming can be (and in many cases is) as powerful and entertaining as anything on standard network and cable.