Sunday, September 16, 2012

Napoleon and Love - The Series

Napoleon and Love: The Complete SeriesNapoleon and Love: The Complete Series

From Gance's masterpiece, Napoléon (1927) to Bondarchuk's overblown Waterloo (1970), attempts to bring Napoleon to the screen have tended towards the grandiose. Instead, this nine-part 1974 Thames Television mini-series focusses on The Little Corporal's personal life, telling the story of Napoleon's rise through his relationships with women.

Whether in love or war, Ian Holm plays the diminutive general as virile and intense, and his small-talk with Joséphine (Billie Whitelaw) over the fine points of artillery positions still manages to smoulder.

We first encounter Napoleon as an unemployed general, 25 years young but already put out to pasture in Marseilles. Desperate to return to Paris, he courts Désirée Clary (Karen Dotrice) the daughter of a wealthy merchant, a union which he hopes will fund his return to politics. Clary's father has other ideas, but Napoleon's defence of the Palais des Tuileries earns him favour with political leader Paul Barras (T.P. McKenna), not to mention Barras' former mistress, a certain Joséphine de Beauharnais (Whitelaw).

With a great cast, a clever script and an outstanding central performance from Ian Holm, this is a quality TV series which is long overdue a release.

MovieMail on 29th May 2009 

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