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Conquest (1937)

Approved | | Drama, History, Romance | 22 October 1937 (USA)
A Polish countess becomes Napoleon Bonaparte's mistress at the urging of Polish leaders, who feel she could influence him to make Poland independent.

Directors:

Clarence Brown, Gustav Machatý (uncredited)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Greta Garbo ... Countess Marie Walewska
Charles Boyer ... Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
Reginald Owen ... Tallyrand
Alan Marshal ... Capt. d'Ornano
Henry Stephenson ... Count Anastas Walewski
Leif Erickson ... Paul Lachinski (as Leif Erikson)
May Whitty ... Laetitia Bonaparte (as Dame May Whitty)
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
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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

Taglines:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Mightiest! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 October 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beloved See more »

Filming Locations:

Calabasas, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,732,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 Marie Walewska: You. Your throne is yourself and the love of the French people who gave it to you. Doesn't that make you happy?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Romance of Celluloid (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

1812 Overture
(uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
See more »

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User Reviews

 
When the film leaves Walewska behind to follow Napoleon, it drags.
12 July 1999 | by piapiaSee all my reviews

Ever since I first saw "Conquest" back in '38, I've been convinced that the first half of the film is a magnificent production, while the second half is terribly slow,as Clarence Brown's films always tended to be. The magnificent opening, with the cossacks invading the Walewski Palace, is typical of the best Clarence Brown, even if reminds you of Josef von Sternberg's "The Scarlet Empress". The trouble with the picture is that it starts telling the story or Marie Walewska, and in the middle leaves Walewska (and Garbo!) behind to tell us the political and military fall of Napoleon, which it does very badly. It is typical of this Garbo film, that its best scene omits her, and is a verbal duel between Charles Boyer and Maria Ouspenskaya. Garbo is magnificent, but Boyer was a more talented performer, and is the only actor ever to "steal" a picture from her. Magnificent production, a screen play that has no unity, and a direction that drags, conspire to make you admire Garbo, Boyer and Ouspenskaya during the first half, and sleep through the second.


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