David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

ave atque vale: George MacDonald Fraser

George MacDonald Fraser has died. Author of the Flashman books, one of the all-time greatest historical novel series: the premise was that Harry Flashman, the bully of TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL DAYS, became a great hero of the British empire by scheming, lying, swiving, and shtupping his way to the top, despite being a cheat, a liar, and an utter coward. The series was absolutely wonderful, though for me the first book, with Flashy's adventures in the Afghan War, still stands high. (A close second: ROYAL FLASH, Fraser's brilliant spoof of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, in which Flashy not only stands in for royalty in a wedding, but on the wedding night as well. That was actually made into a film with Malcolm McDowell, as I recall.)

Fraser also wrote other wonderful things: he wrote the screenplays for the delightful Richard-Lester directed Musketeer films, with Michael York as D'Artagnan -- hey, *I* loved 'em -- and for my favorite Roger Moore 007 picture, OCTOPUSSY. But my vote for his least-appreciated work: THE PYRATES. A gloriously hysterical swashbuckling comedy written by a guy who has clearly loved and enjoyed far too many adventure novels, pirate movies, and rollicking films of all kinds, to the point that you can pretty much see the actors he's mentally cast in the roles (including, awesomely, Pam Grier); I will bet money it's on Terry Pratchett's bookshelf, because it's in that similar vein of utter insanity.

Fraser was 82, and a class act. God bless him; I'll always remember him fondly.
Tags: obituary

  • Newtown: a tactical assessment

    I'm going to talk about the Newtown, Connecticut murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in two posts. This is the first one. In this one, I'll talk…

  • belated Aurora post

    At the midnight premiere of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES in Aurora, Colorado, a theater patron exited the theater through the emergency door and went to his…

  • the Breivik trial

    Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in 2011, has gone on trial. The information that'll come out as the case is presented…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 1 comment