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Waterloo (1970) Poster

(I) (1970)

Trivia

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Soldiers of the Red Army were used as extras to portray the British army. They panicked repeatedly and scattered during the filming of some of the cavalry charges. Attempts to reassure them by marking the closest approach of the horses with white tape similarly failed, and the scene was cut.
When filming Napoleon's abdication speech, producer Dino De Laurentiis ordered the cameraman not to load a new reel of film in order to save costs. The film ran out before Rod Steiger had finished delivering this highly emotional speech. The actor was not pleased.
The picture was a commercial failure at the theatrical box-office in 1970. Producer Dino De Laurentiis blamed the film's poor performance on the picture's lack of stars.
This film was produced at the same time that Stanley Kubrick was preparing a film on the life of Napoléon Bonaparte. When Waterloo (1970) failed at the box-office, Kubrick's backers bowed out and his Kubrick's "Napoleon" film was never made.
This historical war epic film was, at the time it was made, one of the most expensive pictures ever made.
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There has been a myth that a Russian version of this film ran for almost four hours. According to an article written by the film's editor and associate producer Richard C. Meyer, the longest cut is the 132 minute version. This has been confirmed by Vladimir Dostal, the film's First Assistant Director and later the head of Mosfilm in Moscow. Dostal says that they only have the 132m version in their vaults and no longer 4 hour version ever existed. The myth may derive from an earlier part of Meyer's article when he states that the rough cut was four hours long, which was not unusual for a film of this scope and scale, but after much discussion the present length was agreed on. He also says he, stupidly, didn't make a dupe of this rough cut, a usual process in post production. So this 'cut' will never see the light of day. It is clear from the cast list that many characters were cut. The film was planned as a Road Show release, but by 1970, the practice had lost favor with the studios. Columbia Pictures also shortened Cromwell (1970) for the same reason. Richard Heffer who plays a major featured role in the film says the script as filmed was much longer than the film that came out and that many of the cast had huge chunks of their roles deleted.
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Contrary to the popular misconception, its poor performance at the US box-office was not the reason that MGM cancelled their Stanley Kubrick Napoleon project. MGM and Kubrick announced that they had parted company amicably in January 1969, four months before this film went into production.
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Richard Burton was sought to play Napoléon Bonaparte which in the end was cast with Rod Steiger.
Actor Terence Alexander, who played Lord Uxbridge, has said that Russian intelligence organization the KGB were monitoring non-Russian cast members throughout the production.
According to the film's program, Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis had great difficulty raising finance for this enormously expensively budgeted historical war epic. This problem was resolved when De Laurentiis entered into negotiations with the Soviet Union during the late 1960's and an Italian-Russian co-production was able to be green-lit with co-operation from Russian Mosfilm, who financed over UK £4 million of the epic's £12+ million budget, which was about a third of the overall cost.
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Russian director Sergey Bondarchuk was hired based on the strength of his four Russian "War and Peace" epic pictures he had directed during the mid-1960s but Bondarchuk had not directed the English language War and Peace (1956) movie.
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When Dino De Laurentiis was pursuing John Huston to direct his Napoleonic epic, he had intended for Richard Burton to play Napoleon, and for Peter O'toole to star as Wellington.
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Robert Rietty said he had voiced 98 different characters, including Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton. His son Jonathan said that his father's unusual contribution to the film was the result of a technical problem or an accident that had made much of the original soundtrack unusable.
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"The first co-production between an American studio and what was then the Soviet Union" according to website 'The Spinning Image'.
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When the British offer surrender to the Old Guard, Vicomte de Cambronne supposedly said, "The Old Guard dies but never surrenders." Cambronne himself said afterwards that his reply was, "Merde," (shit) as was shown in the film. For years afterwards, the word "merde" was referred to by the French as "le mot de Cambronne" (Cambronne's word).
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Actor John Savident, who portrayed Muffling, was badly injured when he fell off his horse during shooting.
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Jack Hawkins, who played Lord Picton, had been suffering from cancer of the larynx to the extent that he had had his larynx surgically removed four years before the film was made. All his lines are dubbed with another actor's voice; you can see a few lip synch errors from time to time.
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This was the only English language film directed by Sergey Bondarchuk.
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Christopher Plummer would later reprise his role as the Duke of Wellington in Witness to Yesterday: The Duke of Wellington (1974).
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The picture's opening credits don't start until about the 12:37 minute mark.
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Though third billed in the film's credits and on movie posters and promo materials, actor Orson Welles only appears in the picture very briefly.
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A personal favourite of Peter Jackson.
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Footage of the film's depiction of the Battle of Waterloo would later be used in The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1981), which was presented and narrated by Orson Welles (King Louis XVIII).
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Opening credits: Napoleon Bonaparte, inspiring his own people with his military and political genius and his revolutionary fervor, became, within a few brief years, Emperor of the French and master of all Europe.

In 1812, after 15 years of victory, he met with disaster in the Russian Campaign. By 1813, defeated by the combined forces of Austria, Russia, Prussia and England at Leipzig, Napoleon was driven to the very gates of Paris - there to await his destiny.
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General Sir Thomas Picton (Jack Hawkins) is correctly shown dressed in a civilian coat and a top hat. Picton had















General Sir Thomas PIcton (Jack Hawkins) is correctly shown dressed in a civilian coat and a top hat. He'd travelled in hat. He had travelled in haste to reach the army and had arrived ahead of most of his luggage - including his uniforms.
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The movie was made and released about just over three years before the famous "Waterloo" song of the same name sung by ABBA was first recorded in late 1973. First released in the following year, the track went onto to win the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.
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The film's two top-billed lead stars, Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer, would later both appear about seven years later in Jesus of Nazareth (1977), as Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas respectively, thus being co-conspirators this time, rather than as being the antagonists Napoléon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington respectively in Waterloo (1970).
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A title card on the movie's English language trailer stated that this picture was "a film that will never be equaled for its spectacle and dramatic power".
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Virginia McKenna replaced Olivia De Havilland who dropped out at the last minute.
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A novelization of the movie and the film's screenplay was written by Frederick E. Smith and was first published in 1970 as a tie-in with the same year's theatrical debut of the movie.
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Sixteen days of the production shoot were lost with most of the delays due to inclement weather.
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Promotional artwork for the picture formed a cannon out of the last two "O" letters of the film's Waterloo (1970) title logo.
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At one stage, Dino De Laurentiis was looking to cast Peter Sellers as Napoleon, and Michael Caine as Wellington.
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The filming took place (over a period of more than six months) in 1969, the bi-centenary year of Napoleon's birth. In the same year, two other films featuring Napoleon as a character were also made - "Eagle In A Cage" (with Kenneth Haigh as Napoleon) and "Adventures Of Gerard", where Eli Wallach played the Emperor. All three films were box-office failures.
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The principal photography period for this picture ran for around twenty-eight weeks, which is about a fortnight over six months.
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According to actor Richard Heffer he worked on the film for six months.
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According to the article "Richard Burton top draw in British cinema" by Peter Waymark published in the London "Times" on 30th December 1971, this picture was the fifth most popular "reserve ticket" movie at the British box office during 1971.
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Playwright Jean Anouilh originally contributed to the screenplay.
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Many cast attendee's of the most densely packed (UK non-Award), celebrity event 'Save the Rose Theatre' campaigns, public PR day, May 1989. [See each artist entry]
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Italian censorship visa # 56670 delivered on 9-9-1970.
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Cameo 

Orson Welles: As King Louis XVIII.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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