The year is 1816, and NAPOLEON, held prisoner by the British on the island of St. Helena, is telling the young English girl BETSY his life story. His meteoric rise to military prominence ... See full summary »
From 1769 to 1821, Napoléon Bonaparte's life, loves and exceptional destiny but as seen through the eyes of Talleyrand, the cynic and ironic politician, who once was the Emperor of France's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
With a rousing Carl Davis score, this presentation of 'Waterloo', a film by Karl Grune about the last hurrah of Napoleon, is a fascinating companion to the Abel Gance epic 'Napoleon' for which he also supplied an excellent and wide-ranging musical accompaniment.
'Waterloo' presents a tale of several people involved in the final battle, Napoleon and Wellington, of course, but also the Austrian general Blutcher (who is seen as a ladies' man - his scene with a flirty Countess about halfway through the film is priceless; as are his touching scenes with his plain wife who he imagines to be a young and nubile girl when they get romantic) and some people within his regiment.
There's spies and flappers, misunderstandings, lost documents, intrigue, humour, and battle scenes which use lots of extras to portray what really happened in Napoleon's last rush for power. Napoleon himself is not as you would picture him if you had seen the earlier Gance film; here he is a bit of a bruiser in a cocked hat. There's also some very scary bagpipers amongst the English/Scottish rank and file.
Not simply a film of war, 'Waterloo' is a story of people, of lovers, of lost opportunities. It deserves to be more widely seen and appreciated, especially with this fine new score.
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