- TV Mini Series
- 6h 20min
A masterful soldier, tactician and statesmen, Napoleon Bonaparte's courage and love for his country sees him rise from an unpaid general consumed with ambition to the most powerful man in Eu... Read allA masterful soldier, tactician and statesmen, Napoleon Bonaparte's courage and love for his country sees him rise from an unpaid general consumed with ambition to the most powerful man in Europe, then his fall, and exileA masterful soldier, tactician and statesmen, Napoleon Bonaparte's courage and love for his country sees him rise from an unpaid general consumed with ambition to the most powerful man in Europe, then his fall, and exile
On first viewing I was left a little cold. I thought that at last a substantial amount of time had been allocated to this, perhaps the greatest of all individual subjects. However, if there is one thing that any expert on the subject will tell you, it is that there is no way that you can even begin to condense this subject into 60 hours, let alone 6. The worst mistake that this film makes is attempting to replicate the battles themselves. The camera angles pan across large expanses revealing (at best) eight or nine hundred extras. All this whilst regular references are made to 20,000 losses on each side (Austerlitz, Eylau, Essling and especially Waterloo). Sometimes, it is almost laughable and cheapens the rest of the film. The makers would have been much better off by excluding any military action and just leaving it to innuendo after all, Borodino is just referred to by Caulencourt when in Moscow conversing with Murat.. Thank God they didn't try to replicate that terrible battle! So, the plus points: Napoleon: At first I thought that Clavier was miles off the mark. If, like me you have seen and were bowled over by Rod Steiger's rendition in Waterloo then this will get some getting used to. After all, Napoleon is a red-blooded Corsican genius, capable of flying off the handle at any time, exhausting his counterparts and friends alike. Not in this version. Yet, Clavier has one saving grace. He introduces a measured, human approach that we know Napoleon had to have had from time to time. Almost schizophrenic some might say (Megalomania is the preferred terminology). I don't prefer his interpretation of Napoleon's to Steiger, but it is warmer if not necessarily more Corsican. If we could introduce this to Steiger's approach you may have the perfect Napoleon.
The relationship between Napoleon and Josephine is also one of the better points of this series. Clavier's in-love out-of-love relationship is perfectly handled without the usual mushiness. Here is a relationship based on love, intensity, necessity and ultimately friendship and loss.
Finally, Caulencourt is dealt with in some depth, as is Fauche, Murat and Talleyrand. But where is Berthier, Bessieres, Augereau, Davout and Ney (who suddenly appears towards the end despite his Russian campaign heroics)? Holes? Yes. But unless we get someone with $500,000,000 willing to approach this subject with the endeavour it deserves then we are left with this kind of product. So overall, not too bad. Vive l'Emperor!
- Dec 29, 2008