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"Napoleon : The film" Topic

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Rosenberg17 Nov 2023 9:41 p.m. PST

Article in today's Guardian Newspaper (UK) about how the French regard the film and Napoleon himself. Haven't attached it but you can google it or search for it on the Guardian's website.

Oliver Schmidt18 Nov 2023 1:19 a.m. PST



gboue200118 Nov 2023 3:11 a.m. PST

I don't know how the Guardian can publish some fake news about how the French regard the film. This article is to be refuted in many ways. Its only shows how Brits are assuming French feelings.
Strange to see that French historians are publishing (in french papers) quite arsh comment on this hollywoodian way to deal with Napoleon.

42flanker18 Nov 2023 4:13 a.m. PST

Under the circumstances, I do think Joaquin might have done up his tie.

Fred Mills18 Nov 2023 1:08 p.m. PST

As per the trailer, looking forward to Napoleon's epic cavalry charges, sword in hand, and the marvellous ruse at Austerlitz with the concealed artillery and the whole Austrians-on-thin-ice thing. Wasn't the man's life epic and action-packed enough not to be messed about?

Scott's dissing of historians and historical accuracy in a recent interview was marvellously entertaining, but also a bit pathetic. But then who's the idiot? One of us will be counting stacks of money this Christmas, so I guess the joke is on the other one of us who will be seeing the film anyway, and with bells on, and would even if Napoleon were depicted winning Trafalgar in a trireme and a clown suit, or escaping across the Berezina on a flying dragon smoking cigars with the Terminator.

As for the French being pleased, goodness me what joy this brings, and especially so, it seems, to chaps who'll be dressing up as hussars and such for movie nights. An intriguing but odd little focus for 'The Guardian' to have taken. Carry on, The Corporal!

Artilleryman18 Nov 2023 1:21 p.m. PST

Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of the film, I think the Emperor would be pleased at all the fuss he is still causing.

Georg Buechner18 Nov 2023 2:01 p.m. PST

How great a Napoleonic film could be that could just be centred on the berezina crossing – Dunkirkesque but even more chaotic

Or leipzig and there could be so much drama between Characters, soldiers and civilians. Has there at least been a good novel with this setting?

There is a novel I am reading The Battle of Wagram by Gilles LaPouge, which has the interesting premise based on a true incident where as a result of a royal marriage Prince Albert of Saxe-Teschen became the colonel proprietor of two opposing cavalry regiments, who made it a point of charging each other – it's kind of reminiscent of Scott's earlier film The Duelists
- make a film of this someone please

It seems like anything is possible nowadays but so much money has just been wasted on increasingly forgettable marvel films

Ridley Scott seemed to be more interested in some kind of historical accuracy and deep character study with The Duellists,
That said, I do how this film can be generally successful and hopefully kickstart other films set in the period – wasn't Spielberg going to do a Napoleonic series? He might have the vision for something more accurate

ConnaughtRanger18 Nov 2023 2:23 p.m. PST

The mighty French Film Industry is more than capable of making its own global blockbuster version showing the "true" story of Bonaparte.

Lilian18 Nov 2023 2:58 p.m. PST

Better to not imagine the politically correct leftist post-68'tarde french industry making a film about Napoleon when you see the difference of treatment few months ago between two Historicals movies, one on the Vendée and another about the few so-called Senegalese cannon fodder having passed most of the Great War near the Riviera and Atlantic coast even remaining in Algeria rather than sacrified on Verdun Champagne and Somme replacing the forgotten Memory of 8 milions of French mobilised of which 1 400 000 dead with a ratio of mobilisation and losses higher than Senegalese

for the rest French History by any anglo-saxon movie is something like to ask to the Palestinians to do one about the History of Israël
and that is another example than foreign correspondants in Paris live in other galaxy than the French, each time I read their articles, despite they can be in Paris for 10 20 or 30 years, I have often the feeling they are victorian explorators describing for the very first time an amazonian or papuan tribe and totally unables to undertand them, they don't have the brain nor the mentalities nor the culture for that

contrary that suggests this correspondant

French historians, film clubs and Napoleonic re-enactment societies are embracing the film

what a joke!
for Thierry Lentz if I understand such boring movie it is nothing more than coucheries & baise of telenovela alternating with some battlescenes, all that for that

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Nov 2023 3:15 p.m. PST

Fred, I have suspicions of the film based on it being Ridley Scott, and on the trailers, but I would not let his comments in interviews weigh too heavily. Scott has a history of speaking to interviewers without weighing his words which dates back at least to Blade Runner.

Nine pound round18 Nov 2023 3:34 p.m. PST

I understand what a "soixante-huitarde" is and what it means, but I would caution you that in the Anglophone world (or at least the American part of it) your rendering of it as "68-tarde" sends a subtly different but perhaps far more insulting message than a simple numerical abbreviation of the original French phrase.

But for what it's worth, from a certain perspective it's brilliantly funny and I greatly enjoyed it.

Artilleryman18 Nov 2023 4:13 p.m. PST

Apparently, Spielberg is planning a big budget TV series on Napoleon based on Kubrick's research and script. I think it will be for HBO. I wonder if he will await the reception of Scott's film before he goes ahead. It is said that the poor commercial showing of Bondurchuk's 'Waterloo' scotched Kubrick's original plan for a Napoleon film. It might be interesting to see if history repeats itself.

Lilian18 Nov 2023 4:39 p.m. PST

"French historians, film clubs and Napoleonic re-enactment societies are embracing the film"
after Thierry Lentz, let's see Dimitri Casali's point of view

The dark side of Napoleon

The character of Napoleon is the cinematic myth par excellence. There have been more than 700 films in which the Emperor appeared on screen and 200 were dedicated to him. Unquestionably, he is among the greatest figures in the history of the 7th art, far ahead of all other characters. This abundance of films about Napoleon comes from his astonishing ability to convey the most varied ideologies and messages. However, it is true that what we see in Ridley Scott's film is a negative image of the Emperor with a multitude of historical errors. We perceive in the British director the usual Francophobia of the English towards France, always with this characteristic touch of jealousy (the director nevertheless owns a farmhouse in the Lubéron).
The film, very anti-French, is above all an Anglo-Saxon production, so it was made by Napoleon's worst enemies. In fact, Ridley Scott succeeded in transcribing the Black legend of Napoleon into the cinema. There was the golden legend of Abel Gance's masterpiece (1927). Make way for the dark side of the great man.

The director presents a very caricatured Napoleon, the tyrant, the Corsican ogre, a sullen boor, with a totally delusional death toll from the wars of the Empire (and the Revolution…). With women, the Emperor appears like the misogynist that he was (article 213 of the civil code, a woman must obey her husband, it is him). Finally, it is true that he was boorish, a real cad with women. Even if many also add that he had such charisma that he became very attractive.


Where are the great French historical films?

The real scandal would rather be to ask where are the French films capable of correctly dealing with the life of Napoleon? Not a single one since Abel Gance's Napoléon from 1927, has any French film really lived up to the myth. Where is the true epic and modern fresco on the life of Napoleon? We're still waiting for it. It's not Monsieur N by Antoine de Caunes (2003), an honest film about the death of Napoleon on Saint Helena that would be able to compete with Gance or Ridley Scott. The truth is that the French are incapable of dealing with their history in a serene and peaceful manner. "It is time to question the treatment of our own history" as the historian Pierre Bufacchi rightly reminds us. From Indigènes to Tirailleurs, almost all French historical films are charged with a solely guilt-inducing reading. There is only negative, criminalizing or victimization vision. Pierre Bufacchi is alarmed by "the management of French cinema and the allocation of subsidies" which are effectively exclusively reserved for gender films, tackling politically correct and compassionate themes. "Before the flames go out" on the abject Adama Traoré affair of Camélia Jordana benefited from nearly 1 million €uros of public money on a budget of 2.5 million, eloquent…

42flanker19 Nov 2023 12:05 a.m. PST

@Georg Buechner
,"wasn't Spielberg going to do a Napoleonic series? He might have the vision for something more accurate."

Like 'Saving Private Ryan,' for example?

42flanker19 Nov 2023 12:08 a.m. PST

FWIW, some interesting tit-bits in this interview.
Napoleon's Ridley Scott on critics and cinema 'bum ache'

marmont1814 Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Nov 2023 1:23 a.m. PST

Its a film not a documentary!

Artilleryman19 Nov 2023 1:40 a.m. PST

As mentioned elsewhere, Spielberg is planning an HBO mini series using Kubrick's Napoleon script and research.

Fred Mills19 Nov 2023 4:56 a.m. PST

I own the limited edition book/resource guide that Kubrick's estate produced based on his research. It was, to put it mildly, prodigious. But that wasn't the film so we'll never know how it might have turned out, with the Irish army (or was it the Romanians?), on a reasonable per diem, subbing for all those fusiliers, Cossacks, and grenadiers. A TV series by Mr Spielberg could be interesting, whenever it happens, but for now we have RS and the forthcoming epic.

It'll be grand, and I've five mates lined up to see it with me. We call it an "evening of gluttony and senseless violence", and we hit the pub before the film, and then grumble about accuracy, weapons depictions, and so forth afterwards. While, already, we don't care whether Marie Antoinette had short hair or long, or none, at her time of death, Austerlitz seems a pointlessly conducted plotline and other snippets read as own-goal type errors that do nothing save detract from accuracy.

But….. we haven't seen it yet, we will anyway and with gusto, and every excuse to buy, paint, push, and generally embrace more lead in one's steadily shortening life is greatly to be welcomed!

GeorgBuchner19 Nov 2023 5:36 a.m. PST

@42 flanker – yes i know Saving Private Ryan has a host of inaccuracies but Spielberg has done many other historical dramas seemingly like Schindlers List and wasnt he involved with Band of Brothers?

yes, Napoleon is a film we know, its not a documentary, but that is a bit of strawman argument – it is not either/or and if you are going to make a film on such figure it seems a bit of let down if something like Austerlitz is depicted as though they watched a play-through of the Austerlitz battle in the pc game Imperial Glory and thats it

And isnt it just nicer when little historicla details can shine through that shows some research was done?

700 films with napoleon in it and 200 about him? really?
I would love to know all these films IMDB only lists 97 and some of these computer games and others a documentaries – (though odd results as Bill and Teds Excellent Advenutre is not there, no nor infact Waterloo)

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2023 9:57 a.m. PST

Lilian, I suspect Dimitri Casali expects too much--not just of French cinema, but of film. A single event or decision--a few days or at most a few years--can be treated in 2-4 hours. A man's life, if the man is at all interesting, is just too much. It's worse if those creating and viewing the drama are still dealing with the aftermath of men and events. Let a producer and director create a great film about Bonaparte's decision to become Emperor--or about his decision to BE French, and not the Washington of Corsica. You could make perhaps two dozen films, each about some aspect of Bonaparte's life, all interesting, and without any need to have a consistent "take" on the man. Most of them would tempt me more than this one.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2023 11:43 a.m. PST

Every RS film benefits from the director's cut version, released years later. Kingdom of Heaven was transformed and suddenly made sense.

But a life of Napoleon, even in a four hour version? Yer kidding.

But will I go and see it? Oh fer sure, at least once on a big screen, however much I cringe.

ConnaughtRanger19 Nov 2023 12:27 p.m. PST

Don't bother going to see it. Save your hard-earned money for all the other "Napoleonic"-era films released this year/decade/half-century. It's a feature film for mass entertainment. Even the fanboys and the realists on this highly esteemed site can't agree about General Bonaparte. How's a vastly experienced, hugely capable film Director going to manage?

GeorgBuchner19 Nov 2023 2:24 p.m. PST

lol i am gonna go see it – one can do both things both criticise and enjoy films and also i want this film to do well so that i might at least inspire other similar films – dont want to see the possibility of Kubricks vision being shelved again

42flanker19 Nov 2023 11:10 p.m. PST

All that aside, I enjoy how the Grauniad, out of consideration  for their readers, had to render Napoleon's 'bicorne' as
"[two pointed] hat."
(Setting aside, of course, the fact that it wasn't…)

Oliver Schmidt21 Nov 2023 8:39 a.m. PST

Nice comparisons:

YouTube link

Lilian22 Nov 2023 2:20 a.m. PST

"French historians, film clubs and Napoleonic re-enactment societies are embracing the film"

historical errors, Corsican tyrant, anti-France story, stereotypes… These historians not really excited by Ridley Scott's Napoleon

"Enraged Corsican tyrant"
The film has barely been released in private screenings or previews when the reviews are already pouring in. Biographer of Napoleon, Patrice Gueniffey, in the magazine Le Point, attacked the film as a rewriting of history "very anti-French and very pro-British".

A criticism also came from across the Channel since the British historian Andrew Roberts regretted seeing Napoleon portrayed as "a proto-Hitler", "a vision as tired as it is absurd". Which would reproduce an "old Anglo-American historical stereotype of an angry Corsican tyrant" which forgets the Napoleon who built in particular "the institutions of the Enlightenment, many of which still persist today".

For him, Ridley Scott fell for the "mad dictator" narrative put forward by "so many post-war English-speaking historians, according to which Napoleon was essentially only a prototype of Adolf Hitler"

no need to translate the titles chosen for others articles in the newspapers
Le Figaro (right) « Ni révolutionnaire ni Impérial »
Libération (left) «Napoléon» de Ridley Scott, le crash de l'empereur
Les Echos (economical) « Napoléon » : Ridley Scott, la fuite en avant

others titles "Waterloo" "morne plaine"

14Bore22 Nov 2023 4:40 a.m. PST

J want to see it, and only ever play Royalists on the game table.
Sunday is the plan.

Nine pound round22 Nov 2023 4:56 a.m. PST

Without Napoleon, we would have no battles to game and no figures to paint.

Except Deadhead, who would still be working his way through the Madison du Roi.

gboue200122 Nov 2023 9:44 a.m. PST

Have seen the movie (for free thanks to a friend working in Cinema industry): 2h30 of absolute nullity, Phoenix ( a good actor anyway) is all along wondering what the hell he is doing here, battles looking like "Lords of The Rings" Orks against Elves. French tricolors waving like in a world cup final soccer game :-)))

Movie which is to History what a Macdonald Burger is to gastronomy. One good point , for the historical research on uniforms.

I must admit that having had Tulard as colllege professor, having given lectures for the Souvenir Napoléonien and written books or articles on military napoleonic subjects, maybe my expectations had been too high.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2023 12:17 p.m. PST

"Except Deadhead, who would still be working his way through the Madison du Roi." from Nine Pound Round.

No, without Boney these units would not have existed. Sad person I am, I am only interested in the ephemeral (nice word that) units created after the Premier Restauration de Louis XVIII (1814-15). Totally useless as soldiers but incredible uniforms (just see in La Musee de l'Armee, Les Invalides). Sergei B showed the Black Musketeers for 5-6 seconds in "the" film and since that day, I have been fascinated. Only image I have ever seen of their trumpeter, anywhere.

Not one single one of La Maison (oddly considering the foreign reps in attendance) on the only real battle of the Napoleonic Wars as;

1. They all deserted before Oscar Welles crossed the Belgian Border
2. Wellington absolutely refused any role for Royalist troops in his Allied Army
3. They were rubbish

ConnaughtRanger22 Nov 2023 12:29 p.m. PST

"Without Napoleon, we would have no battles to game and no figures to paint."
The Brits can always find someone to fight. We only keep going back to the French because we want a bit of light relief.

14Bore26 Nov 2023 4:41 a.m. PST

Still would hope younger people might get a interest in the Napoleonic era just as I did from War and Peace and Waterloo at a young age.

arthur181526 Nov 2023 6:39 a.m. PST

But the War and Peace and Waterloo films, for all their faults, bore a far greater resemblance to reality than this one does.
Saw it yesterday and was appalled. It seems as if Ridley Scott either did very little or no research into the battles of the Pyramids, Austerlitz, Borodino and Waterloo; or deliberately chose to depict them in the way he did because he believes the audience will know no better (he has contempt for them) or thinks that his reputation allows him to do what he likes.
I'm no great admirer of Boney, but the man deserves better than this!

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2023 8:02 a.m. PST

14 Bore your hope for the younger people is admirable but "Captain Napoleon-Man" would have been a better title for marketing.

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