If you don’t know who Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema is then you probably aren’t Dutch because he is a bit of a hero of WWII in the Netherlands. However, there is a good chance that you have heard of the actor Rutger Hauer and the director Paul Verhoeven. Hauer is the replicant that attacks Harrison Ford in Blade Runner and the poor SOB that had commies over for dinner in The Osterman Weekend. Verhoeven is the man who brought us the masterpieces Starship Troopers, Showgirls, and Hollow Man. But before these two got out of Holland they made a couple of films together including this swashbuckler through WWII Holland.
Not much to say here. Erik is entering the University of Leiden. The war starts. He joins the Resistance and seeing as he is only the 49th person to get out of Holland, the queen takes notice. He bumbles about for awhile. Drops some bombs, despite being blind as a bat, and then he goes home as the aide-de-campe to Queen Wilhelmina of the House of Orange (hence the title).
Although the plot summary is short, the film is not. It comes in at about two and a half hours. It’s fun, but it was in need of money. Not because what is shown isn’t up to snuff, but because the lack of money meant lack of action and that means that while it’s entertaining we can’t help but wonder what exactly did this man do? At least his buddy in the film, played by the evil doctor from The Fugitive (Jeroen Krabbé), commits the first bicycle ride by shooting in film. Erik tangos with Alex, the Dutch Nazi, he drops some bombs, and walks from place to place occasionally dodging a bullet or bomb.
I watched this film twice and it is hardly the pure patriotic piece it appears the first time through. In fact, there is a sardonic touch to the entire film that you find in Verhoeven’s other films. If you have never seen a Dutch film before then this isn’t a bad place to start.