Napoleon and Love (1974)
Director: Derek Bennett, Reginald Collin, Jonathan Alwyn.
Starring: Ian Holm (Napoleon), Billie Whitelaw (Josephine), Peter Bowles (Capt. Murat), Ronald Hines (Berthier), Peter Jeffrey (Talleyrand), Sorcha Cusack (Hortense), Edward de Souza (Joseph Bonaparte), Veronica Lang (Mme. de Remusat), John White (Constant), Peter Blythe (Duroc), Tim Curry (Eugene), Janina Faye (Caroline), Catherine Schell (Marie Walewska), T.P. McKenna (Barras), Christopher Neame (Capt. Junot), John Welsh (Corvisart), Wendy Allnutt (Madame Tallien), Tony Anholt (Capt. Charles), Jeffrey Celebi (Roustan), Gary Waldhorn (Caulaincourt), Susan Wooldridge (Marie-Louise).
love life of Napoleon
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire miniseries.
Part One. Rose. (Rose is Josephine.)
Part I. Marseille 1795. Napoleon tells his brother and sister-in-law that he is a brigadier general. Yes, says Joseph, but an unemployed brigadier general. Napoleon is upset because he wanted to marry the sister of his sister-in-law, but he was turned down. He needs to prove himself to everyone. He says he must go to Paris because there at least he will have a chance to make good. But he still wants to marry Desiree. He tells her that he has to go to Paris for they will have a rebellion there soon and he can put it down. After all, he did win the Siege of Toulon. He tells Desiree: "The key to every victory is the proper handling of the artillery."
Napoleon goes to Paris. There he attends a ball give by Citizen Barras. Paul Barras wants to talk to the impressive artillery officer and he asks him a number of questions. Napoleon says he won't dance because he never learned how. He's posted to Brittany, but has asked for two months sick leave. Napoleon does not want to miss the rebellion. Barras and Napoleon are disturbed by two young women who come over to flirt with Barras. Barras does get a chance to tell Napoleon that he should stay in Paris and keep in touch with him, because his opportunity will happen. He also mentions that here in Paris women are politics.
A woman from Corsica comes over to talk with Bonaparte. She asks him how he is doing and he says he lives on the promises of Paul Barras. The older woman tells him that he can dine with her and her children because she almost never goes out.
Desiree asks Joseph about how Napoleon is doing. Napoleon will be put in charge of the military mission to Turkey. He says trouble could be his chance.
Captain Junot and Napoleon go to see Barras. Barras says there's some 20,000 rebels causing a ruckus. He appoints Napoleon to command the artillery. Napoleon tells Captain Murat to hurry and bring the artillery and ammunition to the Tuileries.
Napoleon arrives at the Tuileries. Everyone around him is shocked when he gives the command to load the artillery with grape shot. Those around him say that many will be hurt or killed. One man says that their orders are not to fire unless the rebels fire first. Napoleon says: "No!" (He becomes a hero by firing the artillery and thus quelling the rebellion.)
Part II. Italy 1796. Napoleon writes a letter to Josephine. He refers to her as "my love, my life".
Back in France Josephine says that Napoleon is a strange man. She wants to get his letters, but she wants letters that are filled with gossip. And she wishes Napoleon could learn to be more amusing. Captain Charles comes in with Terez who show off her new, very curly wig.
Napoleon talks to Marmont that he has been away from France but has done splendidly well. He says he took the Piedmont in four weeks and Lombard in three. He believes is in his own good luck. He even says: "I am fortune's favorite." And look what he did at the Bridge at Lodi. He took it where so many others had failed. The Governor of Milan wants to meet with Napoleon to give him the key to the city. Napoleon tells a secretary to tell the Directors "to send me my wife".
Back in France Gen. Murat speaks with Barras about the fact that he has orders from Napoleon to fetch Madame Bonaparte to him in Italy. Josephine is there and she asks Murat to come for supper tomorrow. When she learns that she is to go to Italy, Josephine is emphatic: "I will not follow an army." Murat says proudly that in less than two months Napoleon has smashed half the Austrian army. Josephine responds: "I will not go!"
Napoleon is not going to like what headquarters is preparing for him. They want to split the command in Italy between Napoleon and Kellerman. Kellerman will have half the army and will stay in the north, while Napoleon will take the other half and head south to Rome and other southern destinations. And about Josephine. Barras says that Josephine's going or not going all depends: will Napoleon move faster if Josephine is with him or is not with him?
When Napoleon hears of the plan, he becomes very agitated and says: "I cannot agree to serve with him (Kellerman)." He says there must be a single commander-in chief. In fact, he feels so strongly about it that he says he will resign his post. He now turns to the subject of Josephine. He suddenly gets a premonition that his wife is ill. He explains: "I'm Corsican. We have second sight." He says she's either ill or unfaithful.
Jospehine flirts with Gen. Murat from Gascony. She says: "I adore brave men." She says every woman is Paris is at his feet and he will become spoiled. Murat says that Napoleon wants him back in Italy. Josephine says Napoleon may be his commander-in-chief, but she is Napoleon's commander-in-chief. Josephine goes farther and says she wants Murat to stay in Paris as long as he possibly can. Murat starts grabbing her and she has to tell him that he must be gentle with her, because she is not very well. In fact, she's pregnant.
Marmont has a letter from Murat. He says that Josephine is pregnant. Napoleon says he just knows she's going to give him a son.
Barras tells Josephine that it is not wise to dance so much with Captain Charles. She wants to know why and he says that her brother-in-law is here and he does write to Napoleon. Joseph shows up and says hello to Josephine. She warmly greets him. Barras says that Col. Junot is one of France's new heroes.
Barras tells Josephine that the Directory has arranged her visit to Italy. Her husband is discontent. Josephine says: "I want to stay here."
Josephine is going with a fairly large number of people. She asks: "Who shall I travel with, Joseph?" She asks Col. Junot who he wants to travel with and he says with Josephine's maid. So Josephine says she will travel with Captain Charles. She then tells her friend Terez that she must come. In fact: "Everyone must come -- all my friends."
Meanwhile, Napoleon is busy making sure that everything is ready for Josephine's arrival.
On the trip Josephine does a lot of flirting with Captain Charles. At night they stay at an inn. Junot sneaks into the maid's room, while Charles goes into Josephine's room. The next day Josephine tells Captain Charles that after today she must not travel with him, because they will be getting close to their destination and her husband. She tells him that her husband is madly jealous. Charles just says, in that case, they will have to be "madly careful".
Part III. 1798 Paris. Napoleon says to Josephine: "Why didn't you tell me?" Why didn't she tell him she ran up a bill of 300,000 francs. Josephine says: "I wanted the house to be worthy of you." There is a knock on the door. It's Joseph Bonaparte. He tells his brother that Talleyrand wants to see him.
Before Napoleon goes to Talleyrand he asks his wife to promise him to never do this king of spending again. Josephine says yes, as long as Napoleon continues to love her. He says that she is his reason for living.
Napoleon goes to see Talleyrand. Talleyrand tells him that he will be Napoleon's escort to the reception in his honor. He is going to be introducing Napoleon to the audience. Napoleon tells him to just introduce him as citizen Bonaparte. The two men talk about invading England. Bonaparte says he will defeat England by going to Egypt. Talleyrand jokes with Napoleon saying that the farther away he gets from France, the better the Directors like it.
Napoleon goes back to Josephine. He finds some new jewels in her jewel box. He demands to know where she got these jewels. Napoleon asks her if she has a lover. She says: "Yes, . . . you." Josephine soothes things over with her husband.
Monsieur Charles comes to see Josephine. She tells him that Napoleon is away until tomorrow. They will go to the theater. She says now she feels so free. Josephine lets it be known that Napoleon is a bore. And his idea of making love is throwing her upon the bed and then jumping on top of her.
Josephine says that she wants Charles to tell the military contractors the she needs 50,000 francs. Tell Bodar (?) that she has written to Italy, but he is not to use the letters until she tells him to. Charles tells Josephine to find out where Napoleon is going next. So Josephine goes over to Barras to find out where Napoleon is going. She asks him directly if he is going to Egypt? Barras asks her why does she want to know? Is it for Charles? And if it's for Charles, she should remember that the Bodar connection is not legal. Josephine tells Barras that Bodar pays him too. Barras says that doesn't matter. Everyone knows he's corrupt. Josephine now turns on the charm referring to Barras as her past and future lover. Barras says if Napoleon is going to Egypt, he better be leaving soon, because the English will be moving in fast.
Later with Charles, Josephine and he ask Napoleon how long will he be in Egypt? He tells them either 6 months or 6 years depending on how the fighting goes.
In Egypt Junot comes into headquarters exhausted. Berthier, Napoleon's chief of staff, tells him that they will be fighting a battle tomorrow. Junot says he just wants to complain just how mucked up this expedition has been. Berthier says that Napoleon had reckoned on living off the land, but that has not proved possible.
Napoleon comes in. He tells the two men that tomorrow they will beat the Mamalukes and be in Cairo in two or three days. All Egypt will be theirs. Then they will send for their wives to civilize their lives. Junot starts talking about how it is unfair for a soldier to marry. They are gone for so much time that it's not really fair for the woman or the man. So he personally has never fallen in love. He starts talking about how little time Napoleon has spent with Josephine. He goes on: "Naturally, she starts . . ." Junot realizes he has let the cat out of the bag and tries to tell Napoleon to forget what he said. But Napoleon asks Junot to tell him the truth about Josephine. Junot says no. Napoleon asks Junot if he loves him? Junot says yes. Napoleon demands then that he tell him the truth. Was it Charles? Junot says every night on the trip to Italy Charles came in and out of Josephine's bedroom at the inns. And Charles has continued to have her in Paris too. He says everyone knows. Napoleon asks about Barras and Junot says that Josephine was his mistress before Napoleon and has continued the relationship with her since then.
Part Two. Josephine.
Egyptian prostitutes are brought in for Napoleon. He looks them over but says they just won't do. So the prostitutes and their pimp are sent away. What Napoleon really wants is a thin woman -- a French woman. Napoleon goes to a restaurant with Eugene (Napoleon's step-son) and Murat. They see a pretty blond French woman eating with a man. Napoleon sends Murat over to see who these people are. Meanwhile, Napoleon tells Eugene that while his mother is the most charming woman he knows, he no longer sees her as his wife. Eugene hopes that the two can patch up the relationship.
Murat comes over with Lt. and Mrs. Foures. Mrs. Foures is called Pauline. Everyone sits down for drinks and talk. Very soon after this meeting Lt. Foures is given an important assignment. He is to carry urgent dispatches to Alexandria. From there he will go to Italy and then overland to France. And he leaves now.
After Lt. Foures has gone, Murat, Junot and Napoleon have Paulilne over to dinner. Napoleon is very quiet. After awhile Murat spills coffee on Pauline's dress. They send Pauline into a bedroom to clean her dress. She takes the dress off. She then notices that Napoleon is standing by the closed bedroom door. He tells her he fell in love with her at Tivoli Gardens. She doesn't really seem to care about her husband. She says: ". . . a commander-in-chief is more important than a lieutenant." And she assures Napoleon that she can love him. Bonaparte says she's adorable. They kiss.
Napoleon also says that she is funny. She says sometimes she is quite funny, but she is being practical. After all Napoleon can promote her husband to soften the blow to him.
Lt. Foures is back in Cairo. Berthier asks him why is he in Cairo? Foures says that their ship was captured by the British. Then why did the British let him go? Foures says he had to give his parole. In other words, he had to promise the English he would not fight against them again. Berthier is not happy about this promise, but he tells Foures that he will be posted to upper Egypt where there are no British.
Josephine tells Barras that she wants to divorce Napoleon. She says she loves Charles. Barras urges her to be practical. She has no money. Josephine says Napoleon can pay for her debts. Barras says that's not likely if she divorces Napoleon. He tells her to at least wait for awhile. The Directory is falling apart and a different government will replace it. And he needs a man like Napoleon to provide the muscle to get this accomplished. He also tells her that Charles does not want her to divorce Napoleon. Josephine does not believe that. She thinks Charles loves her for herself.
Charles arrives. Josephine tells him that Barras has been advising her to divorce Napoleon. Charles is astounded. He says that would be absolute madness. He adds: "I mean we don't want to kill the goose." Josephine is so upset at this revelation that she slaps him. Charles says he thought she understood the nature of their relationship.
Josephine and Pauline are in the bedroom. Pauline is not pregnant, but she says they will keep on trying to get her pregnant. Napoleon agrees. Then he has to tell her that he has to go away for awhile. He would take her with him, but the journey is dangerous. Pauline bets that he is going to France. Before Napoleon leaves, Pauline asks him to have sex with her one more time. Napoleon agrees.
Part Three. Pauline.
Napoleon is with his staff in his home in Paris. He tells his men that this must be a divorce. But Josephine is not home. The maid says that she went to meet him (Napoleon) on the road. Her daughter Hortense went with her. In her coach Josephine tells her daughter that she must get to Napeole before anyone else gets to him. She is a million francs in debt.
Napoleon speaks with Talleyrand. NHe talks about divorcing Josephine, but Talleyrand doesn't really want that. He says: "We're planning a coup d'etat." He wants Napoleon to wait until he becomes the ruler of France before he divorces Josephine.
Josephine and Hortense arrive back home. The maid tells her that Napoleon is in the bedroom, but the door is locked. He wants Josephine to live at Malmaison. Josephine knocks on the bedroom door and asks Napoleon to please let her come in. She says she wants to explain. Josephine is sure that his brother has been telling stories about her that just aren't true. Napoleon remains silent. Josephine gets more desperate and says: "Napoleon, I can't bear it if you won't speak to me." She asks him to come to the door and at least call her Josephine.
Josephine starts to cry. She says: "I'm on my knees to you." She tells him she loves him.
Josephine is making no headway with Napoleon and Hortense is very upset to see her mother crying and begging. So she now talks with Napoleon. Hortense knocks on the door and tells Napoleon that he is killing Josephine. She calls him father (as Napoleon had asked her to) and tells him that he is a good man. Hortense continues this way until Napoleon comes to the door. Josephine hugs him but he doesn't respond. He tells Josephine: "I can never forgive you. You have killed my heart."
Hortense asks that father please be kind to mother. Josephine says: "I'm dying. I'm dying." Napoleon says he loved her more than any woman has been love. He says he can't love anyone anymore, while Josephine has found others to love. Josephine cries and says she is weak. "I'm no good by myself. You should not have left me alone so much." Josephine then says she will go to Malmaison and he will never see her again. All she asks for before she leaves is a kiss from him.
Talleyrand tells Barras to sign this statement. It's a resignation from all public life. To enforce his request, he tells Barras to look out the window where he will see Napoleon's cavalry in formation. Talleyrand says also that Napoleon would be pleased to have to kill Barras seeing as what has happened. Barras signs.
Junot comes to see Napoleon. He says that he has brought Pauline with him. Napoleon tells Junot to tell Pauline that he will definitely provide for her, but he cannot ever see her again.
Part Four. Georgina.
Part I. At 11 p.m. Napoleon's valet comes in to tell Napoleon that Mademoiselle Duchinwas (?) is here. The valet tells the woman that Napoleon has some work to finish first. Later the valet reminds Napoleon about the Mademoiselle, who is still waiting. Napoleon orders the valet to tell her to take her clothes off. The valet goes out to the waiting room and asks the woman to be so good as to get ready for Napoleon. He takes her to the bedroom. At 2:30 a.m. the valet comes in and reminds Napoleon about the woman. He tells the valet: "Tell her to go home."
The acting teacher that Josephine knows well says that she has a new protégée. She is 16 years old and is named Mademoiselle George. Her real named is Margaret Josephine. There's another actress, Duchinwas, but she has support from some backer and usually gets the jobs. So the teacher wants Josephine to put in a good word with the first counsul (Napoleon). Josephine is not so sure, but the teacher just knows Josephine can have an impact. Josephine turns to Margaret Josephine and asks he is she would like to meet the first consul? The young actress answer no, because she would get too scared meeting the great man.
Napoleon and Josephine go to see Mademoiselle George in a play. Napoleon likes what he sees. Back home Napoleon says he has to work late. Josephine wants him to stay with her and perhaps have sex in order to have a child. Her doctor gave her some new medicine. But since Josephine has not been having her periods, it's not likely that she can get pregnant. Napoleon tells her that on the nights he works late, he should just stay upstairs for the night. Josephine protests that she likes her husband coming into the room late at night. She makes him promise that he won't sleep up there.
Napoleon's valet goes to see Mademoiselle George. He tells her that Napoleon wants her to visit him. The valet then tells her that he will fetch her at 8 p.m.
The next night the valet takes Mademoiselle George up through the hidden stairs to Napoleon's quarters. There is a Mamaluke up there with him. The Mamaluke makes sure that anyone trying to harm Napoleon will be turned around or killed. The valet puts Margaret in the bedroom. Very quickly Napoleon comes into the room. He asks her where she got her veil? From Prince Sapier. Where did she get her shawl? From Prince Sapier. This makes Napoleon very upset. He takes off her veil and her shawl. Then he takes her ring, even though that's not from Prince Sapier. He calls his valet in to replace the things he took from the actress with the same things, but ones coming from Napoleon. He says to Margaret: "You must have nothing but what comes from me." Another thing he demands is that she must never lie to him. Napoleon gives Margaret Josephine a new name. He will call her Georgina.
Napoleon comes back late to the bedroom he shares with Josephine. She asks him: "Was she pretty?" Napoleon tells her that since she is going to take this matter in this way, she will sleep in her own room here and he will sleep in his room elsewhere. This just upsets Josephine further.
Mademoiselle George is backstage in her dressing room. Her teacher and mentor comes in to tell her not to look at the audience and not to look at one particular person, namely Napoleon. The teacher also tells Margaret that she will apologize to her fellow actors with her in Act V. Margaret says she will apologize to them.
Georgina goes to see Napoleon. He tells her that there's a rumor that she is his mistress, but that he doesn't really care what people say about this. Georgina says that his wife Josephine is pretty. She also asks if Josephine liked her performance? Napoleon says he doesn't discuss Georgina with his wife. Then he says that he wants her to practice the scenes in Act V to make her performance even better. He goes to his library, climbs up the moveable platform and gets the book with the play in it. Georgina tells him that she won't do it. Napoleon says that he is the ruler of France and she will do this. Georgina calls him a bully and then starts moving his platform around to shake him up. Napoleon decides not to practice the scenes in Act V as Georgina is acting foolishly pushing him around on the platform.
Josephine tells her lady-in-waiting that she knows that the young actress is with her husband now. She says she is going to go up and confront the both of them. The lady-in-waiting tells her not to do this. This is not the way to handle the situation. The lady-in-waiting adds that Josephine does a lot to create the situation herself by the way she reacts to it. She reminds Josephine that she is the First Lady of France. Josephine thinks about it and then says: "I'm going to get rid of her and you're coming with me."
Napoleon says that he would like the title of "emperor" just as in the Roman empire. Talleyrand asks if that title is not a little grandiose? Not for Napoleon. Napoleon complains about problems with his family over which he is having a hard time controlling. Joseph Bonaparte comes in to talk to Napoleon. Talleyrand goes into a corner to give them at least a hint of privacy. Joseph says the whole family wants to know what titles they will have, so they can make plans for the future. He says as he is the older brother and "as head of the family" he was asked to find out. This reference to Joseph as head of the family absolutely infuriates Napoleon. He shouts that Joseph is not the head of "my" family. And he will not discuss titles at this time.
Napoleon has a kind of picnic lunch with Georgina. Georgina asks him for a pair of scissors because she wants a lock of his head. Napoleon says she can't have any of his hair because he is already losing his hair too quickly without letting people cut out pieces of it as keepsakes. She gets her way as she calls over the valet and he gives her his pair of scissors. After she gets a little hair from Napoleon he tells her that they should together make a child. Georgina is intrigued by the idea.
Napoleon goes to speak with Josephine. He says they have been married for eight years. Because of her infidelity, he says he is now incapable of loving. He says: "Women have become meaningless to me." And from time to time he needs an amusement, a momentary distraction. Josephine objects: "But I am your wife." Napoleon becomes furious again. He shouts: "You weren't my wife, you were a whore. I kept you to get a child." He will no longer be an emperor with an "old, barren whore".
Hortense comes in to see her mother. She has talked to Napoleon and he says that he is going to divorce his wife. Josephine cries and Hortense asks her not to cry. They can both divorce and they'll go live at Malmaison. Josephine turns to Claire, her lady-in-waiting, and asks her to advise her. Claire says she should take the high road and agree to the divorce. And she should be highly accepting of anything Napoleon asks of her.
Napoleon tells Josephine that he will provide for her richly. He, after all, wants her to be happy. Josephine uses her new strategy. She tells him to arrange everything the way that he wants. She will not resist him. And she tells him that she accepts the fact that he doesn't love her. And now: "You must do whatever you want."
Murat comes to see Georgina. He tells her that Napoleon is very cross with her because she did not come when he wanted her the other night. Georgina says she had the feeling that she was just "mucking up" his marriage to Josephine. Murat tells her that Napoleon wants to see her on Friday night. And this time they want Georgina to show up because "it is important to him". With these last words, Georgina becomes very pleased and flattered. She will definitely show up.
Napoleon gets mad at Joseph and one of his sisters. The sisters have taken the position that they should at least have equal rights with Hortense. The sisters want to be princesses and highnesses. Joseph goes a bit too far by saying the family wants the divorce from that woman (Josephine). The family just cannot agree to have Josephine become Empress. Napoleon is furious and says that Josephine might just become empress.
Napoleon tells Georgina that he needs a son as an heir. He mentions that he has pulled off a remarkable feat because the Pope himself will come to his coronation as emperor. And, while the Pope is visiting, Napoleon himself will have to be respectable. He must be a moral man and he needs Josephine to be charming to his guests. "She will be empress for a time." He adds that she deserves to be empress for a time.
Josephine does a little politicking too. She tells the Pope that she has a terrible secret. They were married in the eyes of the law, but they are not married in the eyes of the church. Napoleon tells others that Josephine has pulled off her own trick. They will be married. They marry.
Georgina worries about her future with Napoleon. She says that if she loses him for a time, it's most like she will lose him forever. She wants to go to Russia for awhile to see if she can have any luck with the son of the Tsar, who is said to be handsome. She adds that they have a French theater there.
Napoleon tells Josephine that he will place the emperor's crown on his own head in the coronation ceremony. And, after that, he will place the empress's crown on Josephine. Napoleon is so happy with this new agreeable Josephine that he gets ideas. He tells her: "My dear, it is, in a sense, our wedding night." They go over to the bed.
Part Five. Eleonore.
Part I. Napoleon goes over Josephine's spending with Berthier. In the past year she has purchased 136 dresses, 87 hats, 520 pairs of shoes and many other items. These items have been bought, but not paid for. Napoleon tells Berthier to knock off 25% percent on each bill and then pay the bills.
Napoleon tells Josephine that he has dismissed the thought of divorce. "I need an heir, a successor." Her doctor has told him that she was deceiving him with false hopes about a child. Josephine cries and says that these were true hopes to her. Suppose -- just suppose, says Napoleon, that Josephine dresses to appear pregnant, while another woman has his child. Josephine remains outwardly calm and says: "I always say yes." Napoleon says: "Thank you, my dear."
When Claire and Josephine are alone, Josephine tells her: "Claire, he has a new mistress. I must find out who she is."
At a party Napoleon is with Eleonore a lot. Josephine is watching them closely and Murat and his wife notice this. Murat goes over to Eleonore and tells her that Josephine is watching her. Eleonore protests that she's not having an affair with Napoleon Bonaparte. Eleonore is the wife of one of Napoleon's consulars. Napoleon plays cards with two women and they need a fourth player. He suggests that they get Eleonore as the fourth player. They invite her over.
At night Napoleon sneaks out of his room and quietly walks down to the bedroom of Eleonore. He goes in and closes the door behind him. In the morning Napoleon and Eleonore are sleeping. A maid comes in to tell them it is already 6 a.m. Napoleon comments: "I must get back as fast as I can." As Napoleon leaves the room he notices that someone is watching him from behind a curtain. He opens the curtain and there stands a pretty servant of Josephine. He can't do much now about the servant because he is in a hurry.
Back home Napoleon asks the named of the maid who is if of dark complexion. Her name is Francoise. Napoleon tells his valet to bring this woman to him. He then goes to talk with Talleyrand and Berthier. Talleyrand thinks that Napoleon is going to invade Austria, but the emperor says it's a matter of "if" he goes to war against Austria. Talleyrand says simply: "You'll win." But then other nations will unite to fight France. Berthier informs Napoleon that he has 400,000 soldiers. The emperor says: "I shall not go to war with Austria."
After the meeting, Napoleon goes to speak with Francoise. He tells her flat out that she spied on him. Francoise says all she did was what the empress told her to do. Napoleon asks what she concludes from watching his behavior? The young woman says: "I wasn't told to draw conclusions." Tonight Mary Ann will be on watch. The valet leaves. It is obvious that Napoleon is planning to have sex with Francoise. He tells her in different ways that he is not subject to any rules. He is not just an ordinary man. And if Francoise should chose to mention anything about this to Josephine, he will tell the empress what she did to him. He then shoves Francoise onto the bed in the room and virtually dives on top of her.
Part II. Napoleon is in bed with Eleonore. They kiss. She tells Napoleon that she believes it's his decision if she is to be his secret love. So they both must keep this secret. Napoleon wants to justify his behavior and asks "why can't I have what I need at the end of the day?" He now plays the "suppose" game with Eleonore. Just suppose that Eleonore becomes pregnant. Eleonore doesn't like the idea saying that both spouses would be suspicious. In short, she says: "It's not good for me." And she has heard that Josephine has been crying and saying things like "I am no longer young" and "the emperor doesn't love me". Napoleon says about Josephine: "Poor Woman."
Napoleon comes to see Josephine. He asks her if she remembers the suppose situation that he outlined? Well, "I decided it is not a good idea." Then he says that this news should cheer Josephine up. She says that she hopes that he also will decide to be pleased.
Eleonore tells Napoleon that so far the emperor has wanted her, but she is tried of living this double life. She wants to be able to show people her pride in being the mistress of Napoleon. She wants him to make a decision about what the situation shall be. She adds: "I do think I could help you."
Napoleon tells Josephine that he knows he has been moody and irritable, but he has great problems on his mind. He goes on to say that he has thought of another woman. He says he wants to take Eleonore for his mistress and she will try to help him. Therefore, Eleonore should retire from the court. Moreover, he wants Josephine to tell her this, instead of him having to do it.
Josephine speaks with Eleonore telling her that she needs a rest from overwork. Eleonore says she is not tired, but Josephine insists that she is exhausted. She finishes with: "Be so good as to leave in the morning."
Napoleon asks Berthier if Eleonore is gone? Yes. Napoleon seems somewhat relieved.
An old school friend of Caroline Bonaparte Murat, Eleonore Danuelle, asks Caroline if she can find a job for her? Caroline will help her, but Caroline has something else in mind. She talks to her husband and tells him that this woman would be very suitable for Napoleon. She has her husband talk with the lady. Later he tells his wife that he agrees that the woman is suitable.
Part III. Danuelle goes to see Napoleon. He tells his valet to give her a glass of wine. Napoleon says he understands that Caroline explained the job to her. The best way to handle this is for her to have a house not too far away. She says that she's married, but wants a divorce. Napoleon says: "I want us to talk freely." With that accomplished, Napoleon asks her to come with him. Eleonore knows what is about to happen and takes a gulp of wine. They go into his bedroom and he says: "Shall we?"
Murat pays a visit to Eleonore. She shows him the house and then sitd down on a couch. She says she has been in the house for two weeks and Napoleon has only come to see her here two times. The two kiss, but Eleonore refuses to go any further than that. Murat is disappointed.
Caroline goes to complain to her brother that Eleonore feels neglected. Napoleon says the problem is that there is no real bond between them. Caroline says that Eleanore is pregnant.
Napoleon checks with the head of police. The man has a list of callers to Eleonore's house. Napoleon is very bothered about the fairly numerous visits from Murat. He goes over to Eleonore's house where he tells her that he is delighted that she is pregnant and apologizes for not seeing her more often. Then Napoleon starts becoming angry and confronts Eleonore about the many visits of Murat. He now wonders if the child is really his. Eleonore tells him the child is his, because she has not had sex with Murat. Eleonore now counterattacks saying that Napoleon does not listen to her. She says Murat is entertaining, "but he's not the emperor". Again she insists that the child is his. Napoleon tells her that he has waited for this pregnancy for ten years to prove that he can produce an heir.
Napoleon tells Bertheir that they will be away when the baby is born. He wants his aide to make sure the baby is registered properly. And for the father put in "absent".
Part 6. Marie Walewska.
Part I. Poland, 1807. At a formal ball the Emperor is presented. The dancers bow or curtsy to Napoleon. Napoleon is described as the greatest hero of our time and as the liberator of Poland. In the audience is Talleyrand and Murat. Count Melahovsky (?) talks with Napoleon, who says he wants an army of 20,000 Poles to help him with the Russians. After all, Russia still has half of the Polish land.
While talking with influential people, Napoleon sees a beautiful woman, Marie Walewska, across the way. He learns that Marie is married. Napoleon says that he wants to meet Marie, specifically. The count brings Marie over to Napoleon. She is wearing an all white gown and Napoleon comments that white does not go well on white. Marie remains silent. Napoleon comments on her not answering his comment. She finally speaks and says that until Poland is free, she will not wear colors. They talk a bit about politics. He tells her: "I don't want to be lectured on politics." He asks questions and finds out she is 20 years old, has been married for two years and has a son, Antoine. Marie says that she hardly ever sees her husband. Napoleon asks why did she marry a man 50 years older than her? She replies that her husband is from a wealthy, well-known family, while her own family of origin is not so grand. Napoleon tells her: "We shall meet again."
The maid tells Marie that Duroc is here with a message from the Emperor. Maries tells her servant to tell Duroc that she is not dressed to receive visitors. Marie's friend tells Marie that she can't say to that to the marshal of the emperor. The maid returns with a note for Marie. The marshal is waiting for an answer. Marie takes the letter and reads it, but she tells her maid to tell the marshal that there is no answer.
Napoleon is furious that Marie gave him the brush-off. He writes another note to her. He tells Duroc to make sure Marie reads the letter in front of him. Duroc goes back to Marie's place. Again the answer is that there is no answer. She asks Duroc why does he have to run minor errands like this for the emperor? Duroc says that Napoleon is the greatest man on earth and he is proud to do these little errands for him. Marie tells Duroc to tell Napoleon: "I worship God more than I admire the greatest man on earth."
Marie is hoping that's over, but she suddenly gets a visit from two important Polish politicians: Count Melahovski and Count Józef Poniatowski. Their main message is that Marie has gravely offended the emperor. They want to know why. Rather than go into details, Marie says she shall apologize to the emperor. This is what they wanted, but she should also be charming to the emperor.
Marie talks with her husband about going to see Napoleon. She asks: "Are you not offended?" Her husband tells her he has seen Poland go through so many political changes. He has seen their Poland torn apart, split, divided. Many of his friends died fighting for Poland. They made that sacrifice gladly for Poland. He continues: "Are you not willing to make your sacrifice?" Later the two counts tell Marie that she can change the course of history for Napoleon will decide the fate of Poland. After all, Marie married out of a sense of duty to her family, not for love. If she refuses to entertain Napoleon, then she will have done nothing for her beloved Poland.
Part II. The valet escorts Marie in to see Napoleon. He wants to know why didn't she answer his letters? She starts crying and the emperor asks her to please don't cry. He kisses her cheek several times. He is love crazy. He speaks of a weight on his heart. She asks Napoleon: "How could I come without sadness?" This upsets the emperor and he asks her if she just sees him as some misfortune that has happened to her? She replies that she cannot return his love.
Napoleon tells her to take off her cloak. She is dressed all in black. He asks Marie if she loves her 70 year old husband? She says she married so young, at 18. Napoleon speaks of her as his Polish wife. Then he says that he has never loved before. Marie says that's not true. Napoleon hesitates and says that with Marie this is the second time for love. He once loved Josephine, but he died of jealousy. Josephine turned his heart to stone and since then he has felt nothing is real until now. He says that she could come to love him.
Marie now speaks very frankly: "I am told to ge to bed with you by the leaders of my country. I will go to bed with you, but I will not deceive you." She does not love him. Hearing the enchanted word "bed", Napoleon has her come to his bedroom.
Talleyrand comes to see Napoleon. The emperor asks him what do women want? Talleyrand says: "A free and independent Poland." Napoleon asks Talleyrand temporarily to govern Poland for him. Part of the job will be to raise troops. Then he adds: "And get me Marie Walewska."
Talleyrand goes to speak to Marie. He says that the emperor is not a diplomat. He is too quick to say things that come from his heart, not his head. He talks politics with Marie telling her that England is the biggest enemy for them. France could make an alliance with Russia, but that would mean that Russia would be able to keep Poland. He favors this, but the emperor seems to agree with Marie's position. This impresses Marie.
Marie goes to see Napoleon. When she takes her cloak off, Napoleon is so happy to see her wearing colors for him. He even thanks her. She answers: "Whatever pleases you." She also says if she is going to do this, it's going to be all the way. He will be her only love and she will not see her husband nor her child again.
Part III. Napoleon writes a letter to his brother Joseph, who is King of Naples. He complains about the monies outgoing to France. Napoleon says that he is busy fighting the Russians and other peoples in the area. He starts to leave his office when a Marshal Land demands to see him. Napoleon says he will see him at another time, but the marshal demands that be allowed to talk to him now. He asks Napoleon whi, in his written account of the battle, did he give the main glory to Murat? Murat only came in at very nearly the end of the battle. Her refers to Murat as "that circus-rider with his pantomime clothes". Could it be because Murat is a brother-in-law of Napoleon? And he wants to know if Napoleon is going to make Murat the governor of Poland? Napoleon gets very angry and says that the marshal can go back to France. Just then the conversation ends with the arrival of Marie Walewska. Napoleon goes over to and kisses the woman hard on the lips.
Napoleon comes in saying it was a rough battle. The Russians did retreat, but it was hard fighting. Marie says that Murat has told her that he will be made the King of Poland. Is it true? No and Napoleon is angry at the thought that Murat made up the rumor. Marie says that one of the great Plish nationalist leaders would make a good king of Poland.
Prince Murat comes to see Napoleon. Napoleon tries to remain calm and says what he has to say in a nicer way than usual. He says there is a rumor that Murat is to become king of Poland. He asks Murat to please discourage the rumor. "That's all." Murat starts to leave, but stops and turns back to Napoleon, who now shouts: "That is all!" Murat leaves the room and closes the door behind him. He asks Berthier and another man who spread this rumor that he is to be king of Poland? The men say that Murat started it. Murat denies that categorally.
Napoleon speaks with Marie. He is going off to battle again. He says that Constant says Marie is an angel and he feels that he himself is more angelic these days. Napoleon tells Marie that she knows it is impossible for him to legally marry her. She adds that now she loves Napoleon. Napoleon says and now he loves Marie. Marie says she will be happy with whatever they have. She gives him a ring with a strand of her hair wound around it. He puts it on his right pinky finger.
Talleyrand comes to talk with Marie. He says Napoleon has won his great victory. And now the emperor has peace. But the reason why he has come to see Marie is that he wants to offer her his very humble apology. He deceived Marie into thinking that he supported an alliance with Russia. In short, he says: "I sacrificed you." He agrees with Marie that Poland should be independent. But now the Tsar and Napoleon have agreed that Russia can keep her land in Poland and what they call the Duchy of Warsaw will be the only part of a separate Poland. Talleyrand says that Napoleon "conceives of Europe as one vast estate with himself as landlord and his family as the bailiffs." Napoleon's ambition will go on and on, but from now forward Talleyrand says: ". . . I am against him." He apologizes again to Marie, but she tells him that he has done no harm to her life. After all, she is the Polish wife of the greatest man on earth.
Part Seven. Maria-Luisa.
Part I. 1808 Paris. Napoleon wonders if he is capable of having a boy. Eleonore Danuelle has a son, but is he his child? He has known Marie Walewska for a year. He worries about an heir to the French throne. Fouche reports into Napoleon. Napoleon informs him that he is not divorcing Empress Josephine.
Fouche goes to speak to the empress. He tells her that Napoleon and France needs an heir. And it is in her power to help in this process, if she would be willing to make the great sacrifice. Let Napoleon have a son by another. After Fouche leaves, Josephine calls for Claire to come in. She tells Claire: "Napoleon want to divorce me.!" Talleyrand and Josephine talk later. They observe that Napoleon is in a good mood. And, finally, Josephine speaks directly with Napoleon. She tells him that Fouche ordered her to divorce the emperor. Napoleon gets angry, because he said no such thing, but it might be necessary to produce an heir to the French throne. Seeing that she can't do much about this, she says: "If something is to be done, I'll do it." But she wants everyone to know exactly why she is so sad.
Napoleon tells others that he has decided on Catherine, the sister of the Tsar of Russia, to be his wife. A good point is brought up. Will Napoleon be able to withstand a rebuff from the Tsar of Russia? Napoleon feels that this would be impossible, for he is the emperor of almost all of Europe.
Hortense comes in to see her mother. Josephine asks her to talk to Napoleon on her behalf. She is certain Napoleon will listen to her. Hortense goes to Napoleon and tells him that her mother asked her to come see the emperor. The emperor tells Hortense that there are two big rumors going around about him. One is that the emperor is impotent. The other is that he has bedded both his three sisters and Hortense. He then speaks of his love for Josephine. He also mentions that Talleyrand can only delay the divorce. He cannot prevent it.
Part II. Napoleon is feeling very good.
Talleyrand says that the Prince of Mecklenburg is very close to the Tsar's mother. Talleyrand says that he will encourage Caulaincourt.. The man is here in order to find out the truth of Napoleon's potency/impotency. He is going to encourage the man to speak to Josephine. Meanwhile, the negotiations about Catherine of Russia go on.
Josephine pretends that she knows all about the prospective marriage coming up. Caulaincourt says the rumors are that the emperor would not be able to make a successful marriage. Josephine tells him that she expected to have babies with Napoleon, but she just has to go on living with disappointment. She says the problem is that his semen is like water.
The Tsar has decided that Catherine will marry the Duke of Oldenberg. Napoleon is told and he is furious. He says that there is a traitor among his people. So he calls in his staff. He tells them that he took them from nothing and made them a king, a prince, a duke. "All glory springs from me. I am France. I am the French Empire." He complains that he has been hearing criticisms of and doubts about his actions. Talleyrand arrives late for the meeting as Napoleon is telling everyone that none of them will be his successor. Then he turns his wrath on Talleyrand. He tells the man that he is the emperor's creation and "Do not presume to think otherwise." Napoleon believes that Talleyrand is betraying him for the man doesn't even know what loyalty is.
Napoleon says that Talleyrand has been doing his best to drive him away from Russia and toward Austria, but he has decided to go to war against Austria. He gets really carrieg away and says that Talleyrand wants to see him dead, but Talley is nothing but "a lump of dung in silk stockings." Napoleon stomps out of the meeting. Talleyrand tells the whole room: "What a pity such a great man should be so ill-bred."
Napoleon speaks with Marie Walewska. She tells Napoleon that she is pregnant. She then asks: "Are you glad?" Napoleon starts crying. "My darling, oh, my darling." This calls for champagne. When Josephine hears the news, she says: "I'm lost. The Polish woman is pregnant."
Part III. Napoleon speaks with Josephine telling her: "I have loved you." Josephine says that she wants to stay married to Napoleon. She gets a little melodramatic when she meets resistance saying to the emperor: "Do you want to kill me?" She then swoons. She tells Napoleon's valet to go get Hortense for her. Gullible Napoleon says: "Poor woman, I have broken her heart." Josephine's son and daughter make their appearances. Her son Eugene reminds his mother that she is still an empress. They are going to take Josephine to Malmaison.
Murat tells Napoleon that the Tsar will agree to the marriage of Anna and him, instead of to Catherine. Murat thinks this is fine, but Napoleon asks his marshal: "Are all women the same to you, Murat?" He adds: "This is the saddest day of my life."
Napoleon speaks to his extended family. He tells them that the divorce from Josephine has been solely dictated by political necessity. She will, however, keep the title of empress. Josephine starts to read a statement prepared for her. She reads that she has no hope of having any more children. It is her pleasure, then, to give "the greatest proof of love and devotion" to Napoleon and grant him a divorce. She has trouble reading the whole declaration, so Berthier reads the rest of the document for her. Napoleon signs the declaration of divorce and now Josephine signs.
It is time for Josephine to leave Malmaison, but she tells her son and daughter that she will not leave before Napoleon comes to say goodbye to her. "He must come to say goodbye." Her son tells her that she is no longer Napoleon's wife. Napoleon shows up. Josephine cries saying she can't leave Malmaison. Napoleon tells her that he will always be her friend and Josephine says to him: "Don't forget me."
Talleyrand says that the Austrian Maria-Louisa is the great niece of former Queen Marie Antoinette. Napoleon will be marrying into the Habsburg family. Napoleon can't marry the Russian Anna, because her mother says that Anna is too young. And the Tsar still thinks that Napoleon is incapable of having a child. Yes, they have heard of the pregnancy of Marie Walewska, but seeing as the woman is Polish, she may have had sex with other men. Napoleon says to tell the Emperor of Austria that he will marry his daughter, the Archduchess Maria-Louisa.
Part Eight. Louise.
Part I. Paris 1810. Berthier tells Napoleon that Maria-Louisa is beautiful. Eugene says that Josephine is still at Malmaison. Napoleon calls over to Duroc. He has an errand for him. Napoleon tells the man that Josephine was supposed to have moved out on the 25th of March. She was supposed to go to the Chateau de Navarre, which is a bit farther from Paris than Malmaison. He wants Duroc to tell Josephine to move out.
Napoleon has made Eugene the viceroy of Italy and now Hortense is Queen Hortense. Duroc tells Josephine that the emperor commands her to move to Navarre today.
Napoleon asks a captain who has seen Maria-Louisa very recent what she looks like? From the poor description provided by the captain, Napoleon concludes she is "obviously plain". The emperor is so impatient to meet his bride that he decides to take a carriage out to meet her. They stop at an Inn to await the carriage.
Maria-Louisa has a cold and she asks Caroline where are they now? Caroline is not sure where they are. The coach arrives and Napoleon quickly hops into the carriage. He is shocked at how pretty his bride is and says to her: "You're beautiful." He calls her Louise. When she corrects him, he tells her: "One name's enough." He is so pleased that he keeps on kissing her again and again.
Napoleon and Louise have dinner together. Louise tells him that she had memorized a very formal speech she was to deliver to the emperor, but now it's not necessary to recite it. Outside the room there is another room where the highly placed Frenchmen are gathered. Berthier tells Talleyrand that Louise is simple, natural. Talleyrand wonders if simplicity will serve for the emperor. Napoleon decides to send everyone home. He wants to go to bed with his beautiful bride.
In the bedroom Napoleon asks her about the contents of her formal speech. One of the items stressed is that she will obey the emperor in all things. Napoleon says that they will be married in three day and then attend a religious ceremony concerning the marriage. He also says that he has already signed an agreement to marry her and it is a binding contract. So, he tells her: "Get into bed!" But Napoleon feels that the room is too cold. He wants a fire, but Louise refuses his request. She says a fire and closed windows are very unhealthy for a person. And this accounts for Napoleon having an unhealthy complexion. Napoleon has to agree to what she wants. He then starts putting out the candles, but Louise objects that she is afraid of the dark. Napoleon will agree only to having one candle lit and she has to give in. Everything is ready, so Napoleon jumps on his bride.
Part II. Napoleon is very happy with Louise. The woman is sweet, simple and docile. On her request, the two have sex again in the same night. The next day he asks about the health of his bride. The doctor says that Louise takes too many hot baths. Napoleon will speak to her about this, but when he does she insists that she must have her baths. Napoleon explains why this is not good for her as a prospective mother and she finally agrees to no baths until she is pregnant.
Napoleon suggests that they go to Malmaison and have a nice walk in the mansion's very pretty garden. Louise knows that Josephine was living at Malmaison and she doesn't want to go. She is so upset that Napoleon tells her that if she doesn't want to, she doesn't have to meet Josephine ever. Louise cheers up.
Louise is introduced to the important people of France. She does not say much and when she talks, she usually just says: "I am charmed to see you."
Fifteen cardinals refuse to come to Napoleon's marriage. They take the stand that the marriage is not legitimate. When Josephine learns of this, she says the reason for it is that Napoleon is still married to her. And anyway, Napoleon can't give Louise a child. The people refer to Louise as "the Austrian woman". Therefore, Napoleon will be coming back to be to Josephine.
A message arrives for Josephine. She is devastated to learn that Louise is pregnant. And if it's a boy, he will become the King of Rome.
Napoleon says that the boy will be called Napoleon Francis Charles Joseph. But when he meets with his wife, she says that Alexander will be the name for her son. One problem is that Marie Walewska's son is also named Alexander. Nevertheless, Napoleon says he loves Louise and likes that she is simple, truthful and virtuous.
The birth pangs of Louise have begun. Napoleon goes in to see her. She is not doing well at all. She complains that it hurts so much and that she thinks she is going to die. She screams and Napoleon asks the doctor is this normal? The doctor says her problem is that she is unaccustomed to pain. Louise, however, is able to sleep and the doctor advises Napoleon to do the same.
Later the doctor comes out to say that Louise's water broke too soon and the baby is coming out feet first. He wants to know if the question comes up, should he save the mother or the child? Napoleon is shocked at the question, but the doctor says it's a decision that he himself cannot make for the emperor. Meanwhile, Louise says: "I am an empress. Must I die because I am an empress?"
Napoleon comes out of the birthing room and says that it's over. The mother is saved and the child is saved. He asks that 101 guns be fired in salute for his new son.
Part III. Louise tells Napoleon that she wants to have more sex with him. He tells her that he has to work. After all, he has a war in Spain going on. He tells her that he absolutely must go. Her doctor will see to her. He also tells her that he will call on her this evening.
Napoleon asks her doctor what's wrong with her? She suffers from hypochondria.
Napoleon says he is going to make one last expedition: to Russia! There is only one emperor in Europe, but the Tsar thinks there are two. He wants to prove the Tsar wrong. He will gather an army of half a million men in Germany and march from there to eliminate Russia as a power. Talleyrand, of course, does not approve of the expedition. He says in confidence to some others that his hope is to confine the emperor's folly within its present limits.
Josephine wants to visit the baby King of Rome. Napoleon mentions this to Louise, but the wife absolutely refuses Josephine's request. She tells Napoleon to come to bed with her.
Josephine waits in a small building on the estate of Malmaison. Madame de Montesquieu comes up pushing a baby carriage. She brings the baby into the building and shows the baby to Josephine. Josephine says that the boy has his father's eyes and mouth. She holds the King of Rome for awhile. Napoleon comes into the building. Josephine tells Napoleon, thank you. Napoleon tells her that Louise knows nothing of this meeting. His wife is jealous of Josephine. Josephine now asks to meet Louise. Napoleon replies: "Never!"
Louise is younger than Hortense. And Josephine, according to Napoleon, is still beautiful. Napoleon believes, if Louise sees how pretty Josephine still is, she would surely have her rival sent to America. Napoleon says that if Josephine could have produced a male heir for him, he would never have divorced her. Then he asks her a favor. She is still spending too much money and he pays her bills. Josephine protests: "You have always paid my debts." She then says: "Thank you for not changing."
Napoleon describes his desire. He wants a single Europe with a single master. Eugene says that he wants to fight alongside Napoleon. Berthier raises an objection. The French soldiers they have now are children. Napoleon doesn't care. Napoleon answers: "Gentlemen, I have an empire. All that is needed is one last blow -- one great victory."
Napoleon tells Louise that he may be gone from her for six months. Louise insists that he be away for not more than two months. She says she just wishes that he was not so happy about going off to war. Napoleon says after this expedition their son, the King of Rome, "would only have to stretch out his arms and the world will be his."
Part Nine. The End of Love.
Part I. Paris 1813. Count Metternich from Austria walks down the hall to come and speak with Napoleon. A soldier standing in the hall tells him: "Don't let him make you forget that Europe needs peace." Napoleon is in a rather feisty mood. He tells Metternich to tell the Emperor of Austria that he knocked him off his throne three times. Metternich talks about peace and Napoleon says that he too wants a lasting peace in Europe. And yet, says Metternich, he is fighting Russia, Prussia and England at this very moment. Napoleon talks about his victories, such as the Battle of Lutzen in which he won against the Prussians. He also threw the Russians back in battle. Insolently, he asks if Austria wants to take its turn against him? Of course, Metternich says no. He says that in order to have a lasting peace Napoleon must give up Germany and Poland. This infuriates Napoleon who responds with: "It's and outrage!" Metternich reminds Napoleon that he lost his army in Russia. Napoleon says he lost 300,000 men, but Metternich says it was more like 500,000.
Napoleon explains the difference between him and Metternich. He says he was brought up on the battlefield and in battle soldiers die. He goes on to say he he doesn't care if he loses a million men in battle, as long as he wins in the end. Metternich tells the emperor that he would like to hear Napoleon say that to his troops now. Of course, Napoleon refuses to do any such thing. The old soldier just will not accept peace under Metternich's terms.
Napoleon leaves the room. He sees Talleyrand in the hall and repeats his charge that Tallyrand wants Napoleon to die on the battlefield. He goes up to the diplomat and tells him that he knows what he is plotting. Tallyrand plays innocent as always.
Napoleon doesn't seem connected to reality. He says he will push the Allies out of France. But with what men? He tells Louise that he is leaving and that she will be in charge. His brother Joseph will be here to help her. Louise says she would prefer to have Murat help her because she likes him. Napoleon tells her that Murat has joined the Austrian forces. This surprises Louise who doesn't think it's fair to her husband to have so many of his close associates abandoning him.
Before Napoleon leaves, Louise asks him to make her pregnant. She wants another child. Napoleon, however, is too busy for that. Louise asks him when will she see him again and Napoleon says: "Darling, that is God's secret."
Part II. Napoleon needs 200,000 troops. He completely rejects the idea that to have a lasting peace France will go back to its borders before Napoleon started expanding them so much. Berthier advises him to make peace, but Napoleon says he will only do that after victory. Berthier asks: "What victory?" and how? Napoleon has a flight of fantasy saying that this will be the last great battle: the Battle of France. A big problem is that the French believe they have fought long enough for Napoleon.
The Allied armies will be arriving in two or three days. Talleyrand urges Louise to stay in Paris, but Joseph says that Napoleon's order is for Louise to flee the oncoming troops. Therefore, Louise has to leave. The empress will leave tomorrow with her child and all her staff.
The Allies want to set up a provisional government in France led by Talleyrand. The Tsar takes the position that Napoleon must abdicate. Talleyrand discusses this matter with Napoleon, who says that he tried to get himself killed in battle. He signs the abdication statement.
Josephine receives a letter from Napoleon. Naively, she is happy that Napoleon has been "given" the Isle of Elba.
Napoleon tries to negotiate for Louise to get more than just the Isle of Palma. But the great emperor does not have the backing to negotiate with the Allies. And as far as Louise is concerned, she "will obey whoever gives her the firmest orders."
Emperor Francis of Austria speaks with his daughter Louise. She tries to get her father to give her the region of Tuscany where she wouldn't be so far from Napoleon. Her father rejects the idea. Louise pleads with him: "You mustn't be cruel to him. I love him." Dad replies: "We are merciful in allowing him to live." After all, Napoleon had no trouble grabbing many European thrones without a care for where the monarchs would go. In fact, says dad, he wanted every throne.
Louise says she will go to live with Napoleon on Elba. She pleads with her doctor for his backing of this position, but the doctor says that she needs rest and tranquility in Austria. The hot sun of Elba would kill Louise. Dad is grateful to the doctor for being so truthful. He turns to Louise and tells her: "I do not propose to let you die."
Napoleon thinks about his present situation. He says that Berthier and the others have gone. They are all dead or are traitors. He especially misses Berthier at his side. And he knows that the Emperor of Austria is taking Louise and the baby to Austria.
Josephine almost flirts with Talleyrand and Metternich. The men are impressed how pretty she still is. The Tsar arrives. He has met Josephine before and tells her he's pleased to see her again. They go outside to talk. The Tsar says that at Tillsit he thought Napoleon and he were friends. But it was not to be. He asks her if she would still like to be with Napoleon, even on Elba? Josephine says yes.
Josephine is very ill. She tries to get up out of bed because the King of Prussia is coming today and she wants to greet him. Her son tells her she is ill, but she is determined to receive her guest. Josephine, however, gets worse and now she can't get out of bed. At this time Napoleon has been on Elba for three weeks. Her death bed is now surrounded by influential people. In her sleep she speaks of Napoleon and then she dies.
Part III. Napoleon speaks with Hortense. He says he should have died at Waterloo. But then he catches himself and says very determined: "No, I should have won." He thinks he would have won if he had his old team with him. If he had Murat, he would have had a successful cavalry charge against the enemy. But he didn't have Murat, so the charge was a bust. He tells Hortense that Berthier has committed suicide. He philosophizes that: "I was not born to die on an Isle like Elba." Hortense tells Napoleon that he must be careful for the Prussian Bloucher has sworn he will shoot Napoleon on sight.
Marie Walewska comes to see Napoleon. She says she loves Napoleon and wants him to come with him into exile. Napoleon rejects the idea. He says he has become a solitary hermit these days. He then compliments her: "Marie, you are the only utterly faithful woman in the world." And now that her husband is dead, Napoleon orders her to marry again. Napoleon leaves the room.
Napoleon and Hortense talk together. He says he is very sad about the death of Josephine and that he really did love her. He adds: "Well, she is dead and I have done with love. It's time to go." He tells Hortense that he doesn't know where he will wind up. It could be America, England or to exile on some island. He gives to Hortense a ring her mother gave him on their wedding day. He then leaves.
My wife and I both enjoyed the film. I think it provides a lot of interesting information about Napoleon not covered in many of the more straight-forward film biographies of the once emperor of France. I knew Napoleon had mistresses, but I had no idea he had so many. And this film gives you a much better idea of Josephine and her feelings in all this. The film also makes it known just how overly ambitious Napoleon was, wanting to unite all continental Europe under his control. He was indeed a great general, but he had too much overconfidence in himself and in France. And it brought him to a tragic end.
Ian Holm was very good as Napoleon (a role he would play again in another film). Billie Whitelaw (Josephine) was also good.
The film does not go into detail about the historical accomplishments of Napoleon, so the viewer will enjoy the film more if he or she will review the story of Napoleon. For instance, the film skips covering Napoleon's defeat in Russia. All of a sudden we learn that Napoleon is back from his defeat in Russia. The same applies to the Battle of Waterloo. But if you watch a couple of Napoleon films, the viewer will already know what happened and can stay up with the film.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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