Stand and Deliver: The Cinematic Representation of the Gentleman Highwayman in Plunkett & Macleane (1999)
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This chapter analyzes the historical data pertaining to noted examples of noble roguery Plunkett and MacLaine and its fictionalization in Jake Scott’s historical action film Plunkett & Macleane (1999). Paying particular attention to Scott’s use of aesthetic and narrative excess and stricture to highlight not only the jurisdictions or targets of a Gentleman Highwayman, but also the pitfalls he may succumb to such as finery, gambling, and prostitution, this paper explores the relationship between roguery and upward mobility in the eighteenth century. With Maclaine’s pretenses at affluence and affinity for putting on the airs of the gentry, and Plunkett’s training and knowledge as an apothecary, this paper also seeks to explore the relationship between criminality in the period and the pairing of Plunkett and Maclaine’s individual skill sets and class backgrounds as the foundation not only of their success, but the performative aspect of the ethos of the Gentleman Highwayman more broadly.
KeywordsPlunkett Macleane Gentleman Highwayman Eighteenth century
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