Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm reading Fleming's Washington's Secret War and I came across the chapter on the great fraud, "Lieutenant-General" Baron von Steuben. I can't for the life of me make out why this grand comedic figure has never been the subject of a slapstick movie. He's such a histrionic buffoon, that you'd think the big comedic actors would jump at a chance to play him. Is it his initial inability to speak English? You'd think it would have been a natural subject for the silent-film comedians, a pompous junior Prussian officer pretending to be a lieutenant-general & shaming all the officers of the Continental Army by lowering himself to drill troops like a common sergeant, all the while ranting profanely in three languages through a series of quickly-exhausted translators.

There's also that bit about him quickly rattling out a manual of arms overnight - I guess that's where Bujold got the "does this make me a space pirate?" scene from the Warrior's Apprentice.

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