La caméra explore le temps: Season 1, Episode 19

Le drame de Sainte-Hélène (24 Jun. 1961)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond Pellegrin ...
François Maistre ...
Jean-Pierre Kérien ...
Grand maréchal Bertrand
Roger Crouzet ...
Maurice Chevit ...
Jean Laroquette ...
Marchand
Claude Dasset ...
Robert Destain ...
Docteur Antommarchi
Léon Larive ...
L'abbé Buonavita
Anne-Marie Coffinet ...
Claire Maurier ...
Albine de Montholon
...
Jean Filliez ...
Colonel Remde
Philippe Mareuil ...
Lieutenant Poppleton
Guy Decomble ...
Docteur O'Meara
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24 June 1961 (France)  »

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His life began on an island and ended on another one.
7 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

This one of the best MTV works of the absorbing series by historians Alain Decaux and André Castelot:the last years of Napoleon ,prisoner on his island ,precisely after Cockburn was replaced by Hudson Lowe in 1816.

Obviously,this portrayal is not neutral ,for we see the ex-emperor as a an embittered man,suffering morally and physically (he suffered from a stomach ulcer and finally died (probably)of a stomach cancer -and not poisoned as serialized novels buffs claim.Not neutral,because if Napoleon wrote his code,imposed the Franc as a currency,made France the most powerful country in Europa,he was also a dreadful warrior ,and responsible for the death of thousands of Young men -see the documents about the draft.

The movie is a long duel between a captive and his jailer.The choice of the two actors is close to perfect:Raymond Pellegrin had already played the part of Napoleon in Guitry's film (1955)and would do it again in Delannoy's "Venus Imperiale"(1962).In the first half ,Pellegrin portrays a man who is still hoping for a return ,proud ,hard on his French companions who put on a show of a court,and are always at each other 's throats ,struggling for the emperor's legacies,and abandoning him one by one ,replaced by undistinguished persons.In the last half ,Napoleon's face is almost a death mask and Pellegrin shines in every minute he is on the screen :dictating his memoirs ,his captivity bringing back memories of his son and wife (the selfish Marie-Louise) and his dear Josephine ( his famous last words were supposedly "army" and "Josephine") Matching him every step of the way is Michel Bouquet's sensational Hudson Lowe :straight-faced,apparently suave but full of hatred and contempt .Napoleon is denied the title of emperor (he's only a general).With Lowe's arrival ("Cockburn was a true soldier"),the prisoner is constantly being snubbed or put down by his jailer.

A minor detail:Lowe should have an English accent .

Napoleon often complained about the climate and the inclement weather:this lost island was foggy ,humid .Note that we never get out of the house where he lives.


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