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"Ridley Scott's "Napoleon" ..." Topic

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GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2022 9:02 p.m. PST

Ridley Scott's "Napoleon" …

YouTube link

raylev323 Nov 2022 10:03 p.m. PST

Damn…beat me to it. It doesn't show a lot about the movie but lots of action sequences. If you know about Waterloo, you'll recognize some of what' going on.

BillyNM23 Nov 2022 11:36 p.m. PST

Aside from the opening sequence of Napoleon paddling in the sea, everything was a clip from the films Waterloo and The Duellists. December is clearly NOT 2022.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 3:49 a.m. PST

Yep, the summary also says it includes film from "Exile". ; )

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 4:08 a.m. PST

A bit of a disappointment. As has been said, a mash up from other films, albeit good ones. I thought the Ridley Scott film was about Napoleon's rise to power from commander in Italy to First Consul and not his whole life? Either way, it looks like we still have to wait a bit.

Redcurrant24 Nov 2022 4:12 a.m. PST

I am looking forward to seeing this movie, but the clips shown are many, many years old, apart from Napoleon on the beach.

I think it will be best seen on a large screen.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 4:34 a.m. PST

Bleh. Movies have gotten this far before without ever being finished. If "Exile" provided the wading scenes, every bit of film in that trailer was from another movie. They're talking about "six major battle sequences" but I can't find any reference to any of them actually being filmed, or what they used or planned to use for soldiers.

End of next year, maybe? More likely, someone pulls the plug, we get a few leaked scenes--probably from the coronation--and endless years of TMP posts telling us how great it would have been. Think Orson Welles' last years.

Von Trinkenessen24 Nov 2022 5:26 a.m. PST

You still can't beat Abel Gance's Napoleon for the early life. I was at the premiere in Leicester square for the reconstructed film in the early 1980's. Live orchestra conducted by Carl Davis.
Sat two rows in front of the entire Monty Python team amongst loads of film and tv people.

Mr Elmo24 Nov 2022 6:22 a.m. PST

I have problems with this: I didn't see any people of color.

advocate24 Nov 2022 6:31 a.m. PST

Why would you even say that, Elmo?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 7:52 a.m. PST

Because it's 2022, advocate. Remember the carping over Dunkirk?

In this instance Josephine, being a creole, must be played by a person of color who identifies as a woman, General Dumas must be present in every headquarters scene--and must always be right--and all battle sequences must include either the Pioniers Noire or whatever number infantry regiment they were in Neapolitan service.

Did I miss anything?

JMcCarroll24 Nov 2022 8:24 a.m. PST

Mr Elmo spot on!

Duc de Brouilly24 Nov 2022 9:12 a.m. PST

I realise that Robert P is speaking in jest (Mr Elmo too I suspect) but, of course, as far as Josephine is concerned, 'Creole' is used in the sense of being a French settler in the West Indies, not a person of colour or of mixed race. An understandable mistake, perhaps.

42flanker24 Nov 2022 9:36 a.m. PST

"Mamelooks. Thousands of them!"

Grattan54 Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 9:45 a.m. PST

There were a couple of scenes from the Duel as well. Many of the battle scenes appear very similar to Waterloo as well.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 11:42 a.m. PST

You guys realize this isn't an official trailer right? That the film is still in production? This is just some YouTuber stringing together old clips in order to get views and likes.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 11:54 a.m. PST

I think l'enfant perdu or les enfants perdus has it right, but that's probably enough French grammar for today.

Mr Elmo24 Nov 2022 12:03 p.m. PST

Josephine, being a creole, must be played by a person of color

I will be hoping for Zendaya💕. Angela Bassett did voodoo quite well in AHS

marmont1814 Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 1:31 p.m. PST

creole is someone born in the caribbean of european heritage, or latterly of mixed heritge European and African, so colour isnt an issue a good actress is

14Bore24 Nov 2022 3:56 p.m. PST

End British squares and French cavalry looks to be from Waterloo movie, just watched it this summer.

dantheman24 Nov 2022 7:28 p.m. PST

As a wargamer I am hoping for the best. Media and film often influence the imagination of kids. We need a good film to rekindle a younger crowd.

Ridley Scott makes good historical dramas, but his most recent ones haven't done well.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2022 7:31 p.m. PST

Thanks, Enfants. How do I tell an official trailer, by the way?

But yes, I understand at least some of the subtleties of "creole." (I also understand some of the racial games played. See for instance Hannibal and Cleopatra, who were every bit as African as any Boer farmer.)

But there's an old song called "Josephine" playing on that ambiguity. Anyone else remember? Only the third time Youtube has failed me. Female singer, I think black. Something about "undulating hips?"

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2022 7:18 a.m. PST

The obvious way is to see if the YT channel is either the studio's or an industry site like Rotten Tomatoes, KinoCheck, etc. Also, look for "official trailer"; there are legal consequences for misrepresenting that.

In the trailer itself, the lack of an MPAA rating thingy is usually a giveaway, as are the title cards for the five to ten different production companies involved in the film.

In this specific case, the alarm bells should have been that Ridley Scott (or any serious director) would never, ever, ever, ever, ever use footage from someone else's movie. Ever. The days of war movies reusing stock footage and archival combat footage died with disco.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2022 9:25 a.m. PST

Disco's dead? Why don't people tell me these things?

The "serious director" thing is also unfamiliar. The more I see of modern movie-making, the more I think they're all kidding.

ConnaughtRanger25 Nov 2022 11:52 a.m. PST

"HEART 70s" permanently on the car audio – Disco's not dead in this house.
Scott always makes great looking films but he'll never please (at least) half the people on this forum. I can forgive him almost anything for "The Duellists".

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2022 1:28 p.m. PST

I enjoyed The Duellists, and I was impressed by Blade Runner. But I find myself remembering that "when old directors die, they become cameramen."

Remember Barry Lyndon? Nice source of clips, but not a movie. If we get a Scott Napoleon--no bets--that's about what I'd expect.

And you can't threaten a man with the death of disco who is still mourning the breakup of the Kingston Trio and the Limeliters.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2022 3:44 p.m. PST

1. Your interpretations of "died with disco" are too literal. Of course people still enjoy it. My point (remember the context) is that, just as the music industry essentially stopped producing disco records in '79, so too did war movies stop reusing footage.

2. I think The Duellists is overrated, mainly due to Keitel and Carradine being mediocre actors at best. I would recommend checking out another early work by Scott, called Alien.

3. Barry Lyndon is a masterpiece, and I don't even like Kubrick that much.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2022 11:26 p.m. PST

Very disappointing.

42flanker26 Nov 2022 2:10 p.m. PST

@ enfants perdus "Your interpretations of "died with disco" are too literal"

Actually, I think it's possible that your interpretation of his interpretations of "died with disco" were too literal. Actually.

ConnaughtRanger26 Nov 2022 2:51 p.m. PST

"Keitel and Carradine being mediocre actors at best." Unfortunately, for a "British" film to get funding, you need American "stars" – even if they couldn't act their way out of a paper bag.

Zephyr126 Nov 2022 5:09 p.m. PST

"Did I miss anything?"

Napoleon dining with his Time Bandits generals. That alone checks off quite a few "diversity" boxes… ;-)

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2022 1:15 p.m. PST

Apparently, Ridley Scott wanted Micheal York and Oliver Reed for the leads in the Duellists. I still think that it is a great film as is but that casting would have added a lot more.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2022 5:06 p.m. PST

"I have problems with this: I didn't see any people of color"

Why does everything have to be political?

Gazzola04 Dec 2022 5:57 a.m. PST


Micheal York and Oliver Reed. Nah! Would have been far too stereotyped. LOL

It is a great Napoleonic/historical film as it stands. But that's just my opinion, of course.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2022 5:19 a.m. PST

With you there Gazzola.

Gazzola06 Dec 2022 5:42 a.m. PST

I am everywhere Artilleryman, everywhere! LOL

4th Cuirassier15 Dec 2022 4:47 a.m. PST

I have to say that speaking as a former fan of Sir Didley Squott, I'm not optimistic.

Didley's first half-dozen movies were stupendous. The Duellists was a great riff on a Joseph Conrad story and I loooooove Joseph Conrad. Alien is simply unsurpassed. Blade Runner took a mediocre PKD novel, blurred it with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and produced a rumination on whether there is a defining characteristic of humanity. Blade Runner could not be remade in any other idiom than sci-fi. You can reshoot samurai movies as westerns, and you can remake 633 Squadron in space, but you could never have a non-sci-fi version of Blade Runner.

Someone To Watch Over Me was basically Ridley Scott Does Interiors, in which as always he made his leading lady look fabulous (see also Sean Young resembling a doll in BR). Black Rain was also superb: katana-wielding yakuza on motorbikes. What's not to like?

It was already starting to go a bit wobbly though. I have no idea what he was thinking when he made Legend. 1492 looked and sounded beautiful but was a stinker with some severe miscasting. White Squall and GI Jane were unwatchable stinkers. The real disaster was Gladiator, which was rubbish from frame one when you saw the height of the corn, planted equally spaced in parallel rows by a seed drill. By the time we get to Prometheus he's vandalising his own work.

In hindsight it is clear Didley doesn't really understand his films. He gets how to make them look great, but they are frequently idiotic, and some of the early masterpieces only narrowly avoided being completely undermined by his ridiculous ideas. In Alien, for example, he originally wanted to have a Martian crewman on board, with blue macaroni hair. At the end, he wanted the Alien to imitate Ripley's voice and fly the shuttle. He eventually wrecked the entire franchise by making the alien a human creation, so that the title Alien is retrospectively inaccurate; there's nothing alien about this alien at all, the universe isn't vast and terrifyingly strange, it's just a little local problem. The joy of Blade Runner was the ambiguity in whether Deckard himself might be a replicant. Didley's Final Cut removed the ambiguity entirely and made it clear that he is.

He's packed them in and made a lot of money but any film about Napoleon from this man is going to be an utter, utter stinker.

Lilian15 Dec 2022 8:41 a.m. PST

the main problem with such movie as usual will be that is French history or anything French by the prismus and good care of the anglo-saxons authors movie makers etc, it is something like Israël seen by the Arab World or Papua or African tribes by first victorian explorers, it can be sure that you will have a good 15 to 18/20 on the déjà-vu Inspector Clouseau's Scale-oh-là-là-c'est-magnifique-c'est-la-vie-champagne-baguette-croissant-Paris-Riviera-Normandy-voulez-vous-coucher-avec-moi measuring the degree of nonsense xenophobia lack of knowledge and others clichés about this country…

Au pas de Charge15 Dec 2022 5:09 p.m. PST

"Sacré bleu" is the way Americans usually pretend they speak French.

Something Ive never heard any Francophone say, ever.

Gazzola24 Dec 2022 3:27 p.m. PST


Did you edit your post because I though you originally wrote 'Where you there Gazzola?' If you did not edit your post then ignore my reply post as I obviously must have misread it. LOL!

Lilian25 Dec 2022 6:14 a.m. PST

Sacré bleu! [sakray] it is not a cuss word, meaning only a "hell of blue", a surprise caused by an amazing painting color, bruise or cheese, France national Rugby or Football team player
but indeed it will be quite hard to hear the outdated oath sacrebleu, in one word [sakr], given it is something more literary than used in modern everyday language, rather a chance with Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac in the Paris and La Nouvelle Orléans of the 18th 19th century by Anne Rice or Victor Hugo with Diantre Bigre Palsambleu Fichtre Tudieu and others devalued curse words in the benchmark french-speaking oaths & daily swear words stock market index but the real or so-called word of Cambronne is still very popular and timelesse among the Top 3

Wolfhag30 Dec 2022 6:48 p.m. PST

I didn't see any people of color.

You need to get some rose-colored glasses. It solves color blindness.


wtjcom Supporting Member of TMP30 Dec 2022 9:13 p.m. PST

As noted earlier, the OP link is to a junk channel re-hashing old movie clips. Unfortunately… here is a quote of Scott from early 2021:

"He came out of nowhere to rule everything – but all the while he was waging a romantic war with his adulterous wife Josephine. He conquered the world to try to win her love, and when he couldn't, he conquered it to destroy her and destroyed himself in the process."

Sounds like a bad start to me. I'm preparing myself to be satisfied if all of the officers are wearing their bicornes upright and not pushed onto the back of their heads.

jammy four Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Apr 2023 1:56 a.m. PST

Just spotted a release date of 22nd November 2023…… Uk Cinemas and general release,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Lilian06 Apr 2023 1:43 p.m. PST

not sure they didn't find enough flags to cover the scenes with French soldiers…

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Apr 2023 10:02 p.m. PST

Ridley Scott, Joaquin Phoenix team for ‘Napoleon' war movie



4th Cuirassier08 Apr 2023 4:19 a.m. PST

"We notice you are using an adblocker". Guilty as charged.

As for the film. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

It's going to be Pearl Harbor with horses.

I wonder if Marie-Josephe-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie will be played with authentically black teeth? She smiled with her mouth shut so you couldn't see them. Came of chewing sugar cane as a kid, apparently. At least they matched her hair.

I bet Sir Didley's Josephine is a blonde.

Fun fact: Josephine was 6 years older than Napoleon and the marriage lasted 6 years.

If the film were called Three Brunettes and a Corsican I might go and see it as a light comedy. Unfortunately, Sid James is no longer alive to play the Corsican.

ChaosMan17 Apr 2023 7:56 a.m. PST

Seeing more references to the Ridley Scott movie as being produced for AppleTV+, so not to the big screens?

Also looks like Spielberg is back at trying to bring Kubrick's Napoleon script to life. Being planned as a 7-part mini series for HBO according to an article 2 months old. Been trying to make that since 1968.

ChaosMan17 Apr 2023 8:03 a.m. PST


Link above

4th Cuirassier25 Apr 2023 10:14 a.m. PST

My prediction of an inaccurately blonde Josephine looks to have been borne out. Vanessa Kirby is indeed a blonde.


Hollywood's Waterloo: Ridley Scott and the battle to make a good Napoleon film

Despite many attempts, there's never been a successful movie about the French emperor. Can Ridley Scott's forthcoming epic lift the curse?

By Alexander Larman

25 April 2023 • 1:50pm

Given that Ridley Scott's new film about the life of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the year's most anticipated releases, it has seemed strange that there has been so little revealed about it. The only details we had were the initial announcement of the casting of Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon and Vanessa Kirby as his wife Josephine and that it will focus on the Emperor's rise to power and subsequent fall, along with his all-consuming relationship with Josephine.

Practically all that was known about it was its release date – November 24 – and that, as funded by Apple Studios, its now 85-year old director has been granted an apparently unlimited budget to bring the saga of Napoleon to life, joining Scott's other large-scale turkeys such as Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Exodus: Gods and Kings. However, things have now changed dramatically. The first footage of the film was revealed at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on April 24, a major trade event for cinemas and exhibitioners. And, judging by the footage that Scott and Sony Pictures Chairman Tom Rothman – who will be distributing Napoleon in cinemas with what he calls "a robust theatrical window" before it comes to Apple's streaming service – presented at CinemaCon, it looks as if Scott has produced a late period masterpiece.

The excerpt shown was a thunderous battle scene in which Napoleon lures the combined forces of the Russian and Austrian armies into a trap before laying waste to them on a frozen lake. As Phoenix's Emperor declares "Let them think they have the high ground", the scale and ferocity of the onscreen carnage led the industry title Deadline to declare that "next to other notable big battle pics like Braveheart and 1917, Napoleon stands apart", and for another film publication Variety to say: "It's real cast-of-thousands stuff that must have cost a pretty penny."

Rothman's confidence in partnering with Apple on what has been rumoured to be a substantial undertaking was in full evidence, when he declared that Scott "can do things cinematically that few, if any, filmmakers half his age can do", and that he "does it on a scale not seen in years". For once, this does not seem like marketing hype: as Rothman commented of the "old school, big screen" picture to the exhibitors, "We trust you will all give maximum support to this film." He also noted that Scott has never won an Oscar for Best Director, and the clear implication was – changing demographics of the Academy aside – if this film doesn't do it, nothing will.

Back into the fray: a scene from Ridley Scott's Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix in the title role CREDIT: KEVIN BAKER

If Napoleon is the critical and commercial hit that it is expected to be, then it will overcome the curse of previous accounts of the Emperor's adventures on film. After the first, triumphant filmed version of his early life, simply entitled Napoleon and directed by Abel Gance in 1927, there have been numerous attempts to bring the Emperor's story to cinemas. All have either failed commercially or floundered within pre-production hell.

Most of his appearances in film have either been in comic cameo roles, such as in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Time Bandits, or in bit parts in other stories such as War and Peace or the Marquis de Sade drama Quills. He exists mostly in cinema as an iconic caricature, bicorne hat firmly in place. The only major film made about his life in the past half-century was Sergei Bondarchuk's Waterloo, an epic Italian-USSR co-production that starred the American actor Rod Steiger as Napoleon and Christopher Plummer as his nemesis the Duke of Wellington. As the title suggests, the film dealt almost exclusively with the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and cost a massive £12.00 GBP million (around £120.00 GBP million today), making it one of the most expensive films ever made.

A costume test for the doomed film, as seen in the Taschen book Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made

Not only did it attract scathing reviews upon release criticising its incoherence and lack of human interest (Roger Ebert wrote that "the leading characters turn out scarcely more human than [the] extras"), but it was a massive box office failure, making only £1.00 GBP million. The man who was most irritated by its disastrous reception was the great Stanley Kubrick, fresh from his success with 2001: A Space Odyssey. That film had been a significant financial hit for MGM Studios, and so Kubrick had approached them with his plans for a film about Napoleon's life, which would have been the first major picture since Gance's, to have starred either Jack Nicholson or David Hemmings in the lead. Unfortunately, while the previous head of MGM, Robert O'Brien, had admired Kubrick's visionary work, his successor Louis F Polk Jr was a more financially-minded figure who began cancelling the production of any films that might not be guaranteed smash hits. According to Kubrick's biographer Filippo Ulivieri, author of the book Kubrick Unmade, the director despaired at the changing of the guard. As he put it, "The lights went out in Hollywood." Unfortunately, at the end of 1969, the project collapsed as the studio citing budgetary concerns, although Kubrick had already pared the script down in order to keep costs at what he saw as a manageable level – after all, the director's idea of "affordable" was distinctly different from a Hollywood bean-counter's.

Snoozy: Rod Steiger as Napoleon in Sergei Bondarchuk's Waterloo (1970) CREDIT: Bettmann

Nonetheless, the director refused to abandon the idea of filming his cherished project. In 1971, he wrote a letter to the studio, shortly after delivering them A Clockwork Orange, in which he stated that "It's impossible to tell you what I'm going to do except to say that I expect to make the best movie ever made." Ulivieri calls this "rather boastful intention" an atypical piece of hubris, and questions if the letter was ever sent in this form. "Kubrick was always very confident in his ability to make good films, but this phrase does sound uncharacteristically ostentatious. I think he was trying to push [them] using all his persuasion and clout. It seems almost a desperate attempt, as if he was already feeling that his chances to win [them] over were slim." After A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick turned to an adaptation of Thackeray's novel Barry Lyndon. It was set partially during the Seven Years War and therefore allowed him to use a good amount of the research that he had engaged in for his Napoleon project, both in terms of the military details and the technical requirements. But after Lyndon was unsuccessful at the box office – as Deadline commented in their news story, "Let's just say that [the CinemaCon footage shown] would make Kubrick jealous" – the filmmaker moved away from lavish period pieces, although he briefly considered resurrecting Napoleon in the early Eighties as a twenty-episode television series that would star Al Pacino.

Elusive: Albert Dieudonne as Napoleon in Abel Gance's Napoleon CREDIT: APL Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

Since Kubrick's death, there has been persistent talk that the Napoleon project will somehow be resurrected. Steven Spielberg, who brought Kubrick's other great unmade film A.I: Artificial Intelligence to the screen in 2001, began to develop a miniseries based on the original Napoleon screenplay in 2013, with the initial intention that he would direct it himself. In February this year, Spielberg declared at the Berlin Film Festival that "With the cooperation of Christiane Kubrick and Jan Harlan, we're mounting a large production for HBO based on Stanley's original script for Napoleon. We are working on Napoleon as a seven-part limited series." There has been no mention of who the director will be – No Time To Die's Cary Fukanaga was at one time suggested, but his name has been absent from recent publicity – and, in any case, if the Scott film is a success, it might seem an almost redundant endeavour, unless its focus is to be substantially different.

The Emperor himself might have appreciated the grand cosmic irony that, after a century in which it proved all but impossible to capture his life on film, two major projects are competing to offer the definitive account. Still, we shall see in November with Scott's much-anticipated epic whether ‘the curse of Napoleon" has been lifted – or whether, two centuries on from his death, he remains as elusive a subject as ever.

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