6.9/10
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34 user 48 critic

The Emperor's New Clothes (2001)

During Napoleon's exile on St. Helena, some loyalists hire a look-alike to swap places with the deposed Emperor. While the impostor lives in luxury on the island, the real Napoleon returns to Paris in order to retake the throne.

Director:

Alan Taylor

Writers:

Simon Leys (novel), Kevin Molony (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Holm ... Napoleon Bonaparte / Sergeant Eugene Lenormand
Iben Hjejle ... Nicole 'Pumpkin' Truchaut
Tim McInnerny ... Dr. Lambert
Tom Watson Tom Watson ... Gerard
Nigel Terry ... Montholon
Hugh Bonneville ... Bertrand
Murray Melvin ... Antommarchi
Eddie Marsan ... Louis Marchand
Clive Russell ... Sergeant Justin Bommel
Bob Mason Bob Mason ... Captain Nicholls
Trevor Cooper ... Leaud
Chris Langham ... Maurice
Russell Dixon Russell Dixon ... Dr. Quinton
George Harris ... Papa Nicholas
Niall O'Brien Niall O'Brien ... Bosun
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Storyline

Napoleon, exiled, devises a plan to retake the throne. He'll swap places with commoner Sergeant Eugene Lenormand, sneak into Paris, then Lenormand will reveal himself and Napoleon will regain his throne. Things don't go at all well. First, the journey proves to be more difficult than expected, but more disastrously, Lenormand enjoys himself too much to reveal the deception. Napoleon adjusts somewhat uneasily to the life of a commoner while waiting, while Lenormand gorges on rich food. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The world's most powerful man is about to fight his greatest battle... between love and glory.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief language | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the historical Napoléon Bonaparte never had the opportunity to say "They have changed my battlefield", it is reported that the Duke of Wellington, said exactly that when he revisited the place after the huge Dutch memorial mound was erected there. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Napoleon Bonaparte: No, that's not it. That's not right. Let me tell you what really happened...
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Connections

References Love and Death (1975) See more »

User Reviews

This is good old-fashioned romance, history, and fiction all in one small but unforgettable film, a bit like the subject himself.
12 July 2002 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

In 1821, on St. Helena, Napoleon loyalists switch the emperor with a look-alike ship hand and send the little tyrant secretly off to Paris to revive the Old Order. I love improbable movies like `The Emperor's New Clothes,' especially the docudramas that feed our lust to know the insides of great figures.

You may not know Ian Holm's Napoleon that well because Holm concentrates more on the mannerisms than the script. Yet the best lines are good, such as when the emperor, disguised as a seaman, boards a ship and says, "A position above decks would have been more appropriate.' Or when his love interest, Pumpkin, responds after he tells her his true identity: "You're not Napoleon! I hate Napoleon! He has filled France with widows and orphans! He took my husband. I won't let him take you." There are truths there to make a revolution.

Our hero tries his hand at selling melons, marshalling his crew with his great leadership rhetoric, and wins the love of Pumpkin, her son, and himself after 6 years of humiliating, loveless exile.

When the film opens with the young son showing colored slides of the emperor's life on a primitive projector, you can feel the romance and the warmth for the rest of the film. When you wake with Napoleon on ship to see a stunning sunrise, you know Alessio Gelsini Torresi is a cinematographer worth watching.

This sweet film, softly extolling the grandeur of simple love, takes it final cue from Candide, where that weary traveler laid his weary heart in his garden. This Napoleon had said, "I place my trust in only two things: my will and the love of the people of France." He finds now a redemptive will to survive and, without egotism or violence, a love of one person to satisfy an empire.

This is good old-fashioned romance, history, and fiction all in one small but unforgettable film, a bit like the subject himself.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Italy | UK | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 2001 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Emperor's New Clothes See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,474, 16 June 2002

Gross USA:

$661,903

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,236,182
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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