Help support TMP

"MOVIE: Waterloo Question" Topic

35 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Media Message Board

Action Log

19 Aug 2020 6:23 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "MOVIE: Waterloo Question-" to "MOVIE: Waterloo Question"Removed from Napoleonic Discussion board
  • Changed starttime from
    26 Jul 2020 5:51 a.m. PST
    26 Jul 2020 5:51 a.m. PSTRemoved from General Historical Discussion boardCrossposted to Napoleonic Media board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Top-Rated Ruleset

Featured Showcase Article

The Amazing Worlds of Grenadier

The fascinating history of one of the hobby's major manufacturers.

Current Poll

Featured Book Review

1,683 hits since 26 Jul 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

VinceScrim26 Jul 2020 5:51 a.m. PST

For those that have seen the Waterloo movie starring Rod Steiger from 1970.
Why does Napoleon get angry after hearing his aide mention something about a Priest and his mass, after Napoleon hears the church bells ringing and asked "What is that?"
Then he says "Well, he won't have much of a congregation".
He thinks upon it then bangs the table and leaves.
This question has been driving me nuts since 1987.
Why does he get mad?

USAFpilot26 Jul 2020 5:59 a.m. PST

It's been awhile since I've seen the film. My guess is that he was mad at something else and this was a delayed response on his part. Wasn't he frustrated that his artillery took so long to get in position. He knew that time was not on his side.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 6:23 a.m. PST

I agree. I think that the restless night and the culmination of all the problems with the negative news he had just been given about the ground finally got to him. I always feel sorry for his staff that they felt that had to abandon their breakfast.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 6:43 a.m. PST

There is so much in the script that makes no sense eg "Good Beans Wellington etc" or Ponsonby talking to Uxbridge about his father's death at the hands of lancers (a relatively recent introduction to the French army and his father was safely at home anyway)

"I made one mistake, I should have burnt Berlin". Well I cannot see that endearing him to old Blucher. At least the breakfast scene does mention Plancenoit.

bgbboogie26 Jul 2020 7:37 a.m. PST

Look at YOUTUBE cut scenes are now available….including the charge of the Household Brigade.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 8:10 a.m. PST

I just wonder if anyone has ever thought about a re-make??? In the world of CGI it could be epic – if done right with the right actors??

PaulB26 Jul 2020 8:20 a.m. PST

Bgb how do I find them? I typed Waterloo cut scenes on YouTube but it only came up with the full movie

Chalfant26 Jul 2020 9:07 a.m. PST

My take on this has always been, its part of a series of small elements in the film demonstrating that Napoleon was very ill, not young, and under enormous pressure.

I talk with some of my club about this, in 1815, the only major personality that acts like himself is Blucher. Wellington was suffering too, based on personal anecdotes, and recorded comments…. and though the Allies won the battle, a lot of these leaders were at the limits of their mental and emotional endurance. But, that is (Wellington) not portrayed in this film.

I still enjoy the film, though it jumps about too much, and some scenes are so small focused it disrupts the flow of the story line.


gisbygeo26 Jul 2020 9:59 a.m. PST

I assumed it was a sign that it was later than he wanted – Mass is starting and his army should have been farther along in deployment

VinceScrim26 Jul 2020 10:06 a.m. PST

WOW! I never expected so many responses!
Could anyone make out what his Aide said?
Something like "The priest implores he won't give up his mass"?
Something like that?

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 11:47 a.m. PST

I never thought that it he was mad about the response that he received; instead, I think it was his reaction at feeling ill that day. I have often reacted similarly when I feel physically ill on a day when I have unavoidable obligations that I have to meet. It's an understandable reaction when one considers that Napoleon was about to lead his army in one of the greatest battles of his life, but did not feel physically up to the task. My guess is, his rush to leave breakfast had as much to do with physical necessity as it did with an emotional response.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 11:54 a.m. PST

I hate to disappoint, but the YouTube thing is overstated. It does not have one second of lost film. It takes a few breaks to introduce printed text from the original script that was cut from the film and lost for ever. That was not unusual back then, film is not easily stored and is actually quite dangerous. OK, if you have won Oscars, you will find scenes for L of Arabia, but if your film has bombed, as Waterloo did……

However there is now a BluRay release at long last. I am awaiting it, but doubt it will beat the BBC broadcast in Ultra HD (and yes, it does make a difference compared with VHS or DVDs)

"Zee priest at Plancenoit will not give up his mass", from his ADC La Bedoyere, who was later executed. The French actor died earlier this year as I recall.

PaulB26 Jul 2020 12:11 p.m. PST

On Amazon it talks about Waterloo IMPRINT Blu-ray. Does anyone know what that means?

PaulB26 Jul 2020 1:17 p.m. PST

I've found out Imprint is just an Australian firm, it's not a special new edition of the film. I've already got the Blu-ray version from Germany which you can watch in English for half the price so I won't bother.

RudyNelson26 Jul 2020 1:50 p.m. PST

I have a VHS copy in my collection.
I agree that he was referring to the late hour and the attack had not yet began in earnest.
Another thought was that he thought the British allies would continue to retreat but had decided to stop and hold the ground which Napoleon had hope to continue a pursuit.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 2:23 p.m. PST

The last thing Napoleon wanted was a successful retreat by the Anglo-Allied Army. He was totally counting on catching them before Brussels and also making sure that the Prussians continued to fall back on their supply lines towards the East (which of course they did not).

Do you still have a VHS player then? Wow, mine has long gone to the local rubbish tip. I am awaiting my BluRay in the postal system

RudyNelson26 Jul 2020 7:07 p.m. PST

I have a player that does both VHS and DVD disks.

VinceScrim27 Jul 2020 4:25 a.m. PST

I have the uncut full version which includes all the scenes that were cut out.
I also have War and Peace by Sergei Bondarchuk, uncut full version on DVD BlueRay which was released and restored by Criterion Films.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2020 9:50 a.m. PST

I have the latter W&P and, for a 5 disk DVD (not BluRay) the film quality is awful.

If you really have any version of Waterloo over 132 minutes then you have a treasure of international importance, that has been sought for years. There was a Nigerian chap who claimed to have such and, if I was prepared to invest enough money, he would go into mass production…or so he insisted.

VinceScrim27 Jul 2020 9:54 a.m. PST

The War and Peace movie was restored DVD/Blue Ray version by Criterion has awesome quality.
My Waterloo movie is the 128 minute Import version.
I paid over $70 USD for it on Amazon 8 years ago, but you can now get it for $32 USD on Amazon but only 3 left!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2020 9:55 a.m. PST

I have it on order and eagerly await it. BBC played it in HD and I saved it. A major improvement on any DVD version.

gamershs27 Jul 2020 8:06 p.m. PST

I have the Russian version of War and Peace and it is an awesome movie. As I remember there are 5+ audio dubbings of the movie and 15+ written language sub scripted for the movie.

I have a copy of Waterloo also and it is great.

ConnaughtRanger28 Jul 2020 3:21 a.m. PST

Just received my copy of the [imprint] blu-ray (via Amazon). It's described as "2 hrs 13 mins approx"; the only extras are a theatrical trailer and a piece by the film historian Sheldon Hall. The picture quality is, in my non-expert opinion, superb – crisper than anything I have seen before (my memory doesn't run to the picture quality in the Leeds' Odeon in 1970!)

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 4:27 a.m. PST

Mine came in the post this morning. settle down tonight with a couple of Brewdogs and see how it looks.

I thought the image quality on the War Peace DVD release was very disappointing. But, if you want to see old Sergei at his most self indulgent, do try his Quiet Flows the Don also on Disk now. It is mind numbing, mind you Mikhail Sholokov's Book was little better.

Nick Pasha28 Jul 2020 6:16 a.m. PST

The original version of the movie was four hours long and included scenes of Ligny and the Prussian attack on the French right. The movie was cut to 124 minutes, the russians say they have the 132 minute version. Decades ago NBC ran the original movie over 2 nights and titled it Napoleon and Wellington. It had the deleted scenes. I remember watching it as a teen. Have not seen it since.

42flanker28 Jul 2020 6:22 a.m. PST

"mind you Mikhail Sholokov's Book was little better."

Well, fair play to old Shokolov, his cossacks got me through an endless Winter of Discontent in Wythenshawe.

VinceScrim28 Jul 2020 8:09 a.m. PST

Nick, when NBC aired in the early 70s I recall the NBCX trailer saying something "a mammoth undertaking" or something like that as the trailer panned over the battlefield.
Man, that image is what got me started in my interest in Napoleonics.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 1:56 p.m. PST

Sholokov, bless him. That was an ideal book if you have days and days with nothing to do. I spent minutes thinking you meant Bickershawe, not Wythenshawe. First time the G Dead played in the UK, after three days of rain, in a field outside Preston. They were poor, it was awful, I loved it.

The BluRay is good (far better than any DVD) but not as good as the BBC HD broadcast. I kept playing scenes from both tonight ( I really do need to get a life and get out more). Colour (however you spell it) is better in the BBC version. Compare Louis XVIII's rig as he leaves the Tuilleries. It has a green tinge on the disk/disc. It is grey/blue (as shown by every painter) on the BBC version. Trust me, only a total nerd would notice. There is not one second of added content though.

If we did find a missing 30 minutes, I will guarantee you we would say it (well 90% of it) added nothing and needed cutting. What would I give for the 10% though. The march down to Hougomont, the flank attack on the Scots Greys, the French cavalry attack on the squares (until the helicopter madness), the spectacle of French columns attacking (a small fraction of the real thing of course) this film has sequences we will never see again.

But it keeps telling me what could have been done with the facilities Serbei B was granted.

ConnaughtRanger28 Jul 2020 3:24 p.m. PST

In films of that vintage, the upgrading to HD standard often seems to have some colour issues – as with "Zulu", I find many of the reds in "Waterloo" look "too red" but in both cases that may just have been costume choices. I still think this four-day looks tremendous.

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Jul 2020 9:55 a.m. PST

The first film version of Waterloo was filmed in the silent era, in fields outside a small village in Northamptonshire called Irthlingborough. Thousands of extras from local shoe factories formed the foot, the 12th Lancers from Weedon Barracks provided the cavalry, local knackers yard supplied the dead horses. Shot inside a week, in the cinemas about a month later.

They didn't hang around in them days.

(Alas the full film is now lost to us. I wrote about it in my recent book on Battlefields of Northamptonshire)

ConnaughtRanger08 Aug 2020 2:56 p.m. PST

Just a quick update to say the Sheldon Hall piece on the new Imprint blu-ray is excellent – lots of fascinating detail on the background to the film (original leads Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole following their work on "Beckett"?). And, in my very humble opinion, the picture quality is superb.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP09 Aug 2020 3:49 a.m. PST

Just went back to my Blu-Ray. The German version, no interview alas. Theatrical trailer and the film posters are the only "Bonus" content. Great image quality though

Allan F Mountford10 Aug 2020 5:43 a.m. PST

Waterloo in Irthlingborough:


ConnaughtRanger10 Aug 2020 1:34 p.m. PST

Following the recommendation above I ordered the Criterion Blu-ray of Bondarchuk's "War and Peace". As promised, the picture quality is absolutely superb. The scale of the battle scenes is breathtaking.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.