Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Sharpe's Gold (TV)

In 1993, ITV broadcast a drama series called Sharpe. It was a TV adaptation of the novels, written by Bernard Cornwell.

Sharpe's Gold was written by Nigel Kneale and is a much looser adaptation, using only about 10 pages of the original novel. It was directed by Tom Clegg. The plot is  It is summer 1813. Lord Wellington (Hugh Fraser) is preparing to invade France from Spain after the winning the campaign on the Iberian peninsula.
Meanwhile, Major Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) gets into serious trouble when he tries unsuccessfully to save one of his riflemen, Skillicorn (Philip Dowd), from being executed by the zealous Lieutenant Ayres (Ian Shaw) for stealing a chicken. To maintain discipline in his army, Wellington makes Sharpe apologise to Ayres.
Bess Nugent (Rosaleen Linehan) and her daughter Ellie (Jayne Ashbourne), arrive unannounced from Ireland to visit their cousin, Wellington. They are there to search for Bess's husband, Will (Peter Eyre). Wellington however refuses to assist their foolhardy mission, demanding they go home. Sharpe and Ellie become attracted to each other.
Wellington assigns Sharpe the task of handing over 50 rifles in exchange for some British deserters caught by a feared Spanish guerrilla leader named El Casco (Abel Folk). The Provost Marshal insists that some of his men go along, so Sharpe is saddled with Ayres. Later, the two ladies catch up to Sharpe's detachment, forcing him to take them along for their protection. On the way, they repel an attack by French cavalry led by Lieutenant Barbier (Julian Sims). Ellie becomes distraught after having to shoot and kill a young Frenchman. When Sharpe tries to comfort her away from the others, they embrace.
The trade goes as planned. However, Ellie then discovers that one of the deserters has her father's pipe. When Sharpe refuses to begin a search, the Nugents ride off, forcing Sharpe to go after them. The riflemen spot Barbier's detachment and drive them off with a surprise attack.
The ladies encounter El Casco's men; Bess is killed and Ellie taken captive. When she is taken to El Casco's cave lair, she finds her father, though he has become deranged. Sharpe tracks them down with the help of Barbier, whose men were captured and had their hearts cut out while still alive by the partisans (who believe they are descendants of shipwrecked Aztecs). Sharpe attacks the Spaniards and rescues Ellie and her father. El Casco kills Ayres and wounds Sharpe, but is killed by Sergeant Harper (Daragh O'Malley). Back at camp, Will recovers his senses and thanks Sharpe.
The movie was broadcast in 1995 on ITV. The movie ran for 100 minutes and was released on VHS, later DVD.