Friday, October 23, 2009
When I was a kid on a family vacation in Denmark in the '70s, we made the obligatory visit to Legoland. Among the many wonders of the world rendered in Lego, there was Mount Rushmore and more astonishingly, in the shadows beneath it, hordes of blond, blue-eyed Danish kids, done up in full Apache war bonnets, roasting rolls over a campfire. What a sight.
The French have their own fascination with the American West, incarnated by, among others, Lucky Luke, the cowboy who can draw his gun faster than his own shadow. Lucky Luke, with his talking horse Jolly Jumper, is the star of a series of cartoon books that first made their appearance in the 1950s and they are a huge hit among the French and Belgians of the postwar generation and since, as successful as the series better known to Americans, Tin Tin and Asterix. This week, the cowboy comes to life on the big screen in live action. Played by French hunk, Jean Dujardin, Lucky Luke is joined in his cinematic adventures by friends Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, and Jesse James. History be damned. There's nothing like a shootout, the vanquish of evil, and a cowboy riding off into the sunset. Even if he is speaking French.