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Conquest (1937)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 871 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 4 critic

A polish countess becomes Napoleon Bonaparte's mistress at the urging of Polish leaders, who feel she might influence him to make Poland independent.

Directors:

, (uncredited)
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Title: Conquest (1937)

Conquest (1937) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Tallyrand
Alan Marshal ...
Capt. d'Ornano
Henry Stephenson ...
Count Anastas Walewski
...
Paul Lachinski (as Leif Erikson)
...
Maria Ouspenskaya ...
Countess Pelagia Walewska
C. Henry Gordon ...
Prince Poniatowski
Claude Gillingwater ...
Stephan (Marie's servant)
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Dying soldier
George Houston ...
Grand Marshal George Duroc
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Raymond Butler ...
Minor Role
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Storyline

After a brief informal meeting two months earlier when they were impressed with each other, Countess Marie Walewska formally meets Napoleon Bonaparte at a ball in Warsaw. When Napoleon notes her husband is three times her age, and as he is taken with her charms, he unsuccessfully tries to seduce her. She ignores his frequent letters and flowers until a few grim Polish leaders led by Senator Malachowski urge her to give into his desires as a personal sacrifice in order to save Poland. She goes to him despite the humiliation of her husband, who leaves for Rome to annul their marriage. They are extremely happy for a while; Napoleon divorces childless Empress Josephine and Marie eventually becomes pregnant. She is about to tell Napoleon about her baby when he tells her he decided to marry Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. He explains it will be a political marriage to insure his future son could rule securely with Hapsburg blood in him. It will not affect their relationship, he says, ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 October 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Maria Walewska  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,732,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,141,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The lavish ballroom set where Napoleon dances with Marie Walewska is actually identical to that used in Maytime (1937) - the Jeanette McDonald /Nelson Eddy operetta. It has simply been redressed and given a different floor covering and shot from a different angle. See more »

Quotes

Countess Pelagia Walewska: Who are you?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: I am Napoleon!
Countess Pelagia Walewska: Napoleon? Napoleon who?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Hmm? Bonaparte!
Countess Pelagia Walewska: Napoleon Bonaparte? What kind of name is that? What nationality are you?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Corsican by birth. French by adoption. Emperor by achievement.
Countess Pelagia Walewska: So, you are an Emperor, are you? What are you Emperor of?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Emperor of France, madame.
Countess Pelagia Walewska: Hee, hee, hee. So you are Emperor of France. And my very good friend, His Majesty, King Louis Sixteenth abdicated in your honor, I suppose?
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte: Well, he didn't know it at the time but in a sense he did, madame.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in It Ain't Half Hot Mum: Class of 1945 (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Opus 74, 'Pathétique' (1893)
(uncredited)
Second movement, Allegro con grazia
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Love versus Power.
31 May 2004 | by (Cyberia) – See all my reviews

This has to be one of the most intelligent movies exploring the theme of power and its corrupting effects upon love. Napoleon (admirably played by Charles Boyer) is not shown as a complete monster or idealist, but as a man who gradually loses his humanity as he becomes consumed with dreams of universal power. Even at the end, he rejects a woman's love in order to become a legend, exiled alone in St. Helena.

Greta Garbo does a really stirring job as the woman (Countess Marie Walewska) who genuinely loves him just for being a human being, and is distressed to see him corrupted by increasing dreams of worldwide domination, founding a new dynasty, etc. It is remarkable how she manages to avoid romantic clichés and deal in direct and honest fashion. In this respect, the movie seems remarkably modern.

I really recommend this film to anyone interested in human relationships, not just French history. Garbo, as always, is as intelligent and humane as she is sexy, and has many interesting things to say. I still reckon her best performance is in Queen Christina, still this is not far short of it. You can feel the decades melting away just listening to her.


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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