Friday, June 3, 2016

Alexandre Dumas novel La Tulipe Noire

In the history of adaptations being done "in name only", the Alexandre Dumas novel called La Tulipe Noire (The Black Tulip) sparks an interesting chain.

The original novel is not what we most stereotypically associate with Dumas, even for those of us who are familiar with more then just his big two.  It is neither a Swashbuckler or a Revenge Fantasy.  It is also not set during the French Revolution but about a century before, and it doesn't seem to feature a masked vigilante or any other actiony elements.  It basically seems from the description like the modern definition of a romance novel.

In 1964 a French-Italian-Spanish film was produced with the same name.  It's plot is not actually based on the novel at all, but definitely seems like a homage to Dumas over all legacy.  It is set during the French Revolution, and involved a masked Vigilante called The Black Tulip fighting on behalf of the peasantry against the Nobles.

Alexandre Dumas did write a novel about a Vigilante operating during the French Revolution, in Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge.  A Novel most well known for being a key inspiration for The Scarlet Pimpernel, and for the Prequels Dumas wrote for it that are more well known for their villains then heroes.  But the thing is both the Horse Knight and the Pimpernel were more operating on the Royalist side.  Ironically however The Black Tulip's politics more reflect Dumas own views, he was not a Royalist in-spite of how many Royalist heroes he wrote.

Dumas was not the only influence on this film, it's Zorro connection is clear, in fact the lead actor went on to play Zorro.  And the Twin aspect interestingly enough makes me think of Paul Feval's Le Fils du Diable (The Three Red Knights) which was a masked vigilante swashbuckling novel that involved triplets.

This film went on to inspire an Anime, the full title of which is La Tulipe Noire: La Seine no Hoshi, which tends to just be called by the subtitle, because the character refereed to there is the real main character.  It predates The Rose of Versailles as an Anime set during the French Revolution.  At the beginning a male Masked Vigilante called The Black Tulip is already active, but it is the young girl who decides to become one herself the story follows.  And once again this time the vigilantes are on the rebel side.

This Black Tulip has a different real name then in the movie, since I haven't watched all of either I don't know if their canons can be reconcilable.

This Anime is super rare, I have gotten to view only the first episode.  I'm pretty sure there is no official Sub much less a Dub.  Once I can view all of it, I may write my own Crossover Fan Fiction with the main character.  I think someone should consider doing an MCU style shared universe bringing the various fictional characters of the French Revolution together, the classic ones are all Public Domain so the copyright wrangling would just have to be with certain Anime studios in Japan and whoever owns the above film which could easily have become one of those ambiguous ones.

As a final anecdote, in the Pokemon made for TV movie Mewtwo Returns (a direct sequel to Mewtwo Strikes Back) the character known as Domino is also known as The Black Tulip, I wonder now if a direct homage was intended?

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