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Quiz : The major reforms of the Consulate and the Empire (August 2010)
Press review : Silent London: "How to beat the Napoléon blues" (article on Abel Gance's Napoléon)
Interview : Alexander Mikaberidze on Russian Voices of the Napoleonic Wars
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CINEMA

 1920-1940

  •  REMONTONS LES CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES (Let's go down the Champs-Elysées), by Sacha Guitry - 1938

 

Country : France

 Medium : Black and white

 Duration : 97'

 Video : Canal+ Vidéo - 1993

 Production : Cinéas (Serge Sandberg)

 Scenario : Sacha Guitry

 Screenplay : Sacha Guitry

 Music : Adolphe Borchard

 Director of photography : Jean Bachelet assisted by Raymond Voinquel

 Plot : In a classroom, a teacher decides to try to interest his difficult pupils by teaching not the history of France but tales of the Champs-Elysées. He tells of how this was the exact place where Louis XIII decided the death of Concino Concini; of how it was that at the head of this grand avenue a great statue was erected in honour of the much-beloved Louis XV; of how Bonaparte prepared his Brumaire coup d'état in the side-streets of this avenue; and of how, during his investiture, Napoleon III came down the Champs-Elysées to receive the acclamation of a jubilant crowd.

 Cast : Louis Allibert (Bonaparte) ; Émile Drain (Napoleon I) ; Madeleine Foujane (Marie-Louise) ; Philippe Richard (Louis XVIII) ; Sacha Guitry (Napoleon III et Louis XV) ; Raymonde Allain (Eugénie) ; Pierre Juvenet (The Duc de Morny) ; Lucien Baroux ; Jeanne Marken ; Jacqueline Delubac ; Jean Périer ; Jeanne Boitel ; Mila Parély ; Lisette Lanvin

 Extract : « Napoleon. - But that· Surely I'm mistaken ?
Bonaparte. - No you're not mistaken !
Napoleon. - What do you mean ? That that was me as a young man ?
Bonaparte. - What ? You mean that fat man there is me! I've never seen two human beings more different. Just think ! We weren't even able to love the same woman. I adored Josephine and you repudiated her. I know that things change as you get older, but that's just plain ridiculous.
Napoleon. - A general at twenty-eight ?
Bonaparte. - Was I always going to stay a corporal ?
Napoleon. - No, Emperor !
Bonaparte. - You're no Emperor.
Napoleon. - The day after my death I was to become Emperor forever. »

 Review : Using the five generations of men of the same family who worked the Champs-Elysées as a leitmotiv, Sacha Guitry presents the viewer with 90 minutes of light-hearted entertainment as he recounts the different stories concerning "the most beautiful avenue in the world". The scenario passes through many different epochs but remains captivating throughout. This is excellent theatrical cinema with some fine moments of cinematic imagination, notably the meeting between Bonaparte and Napoleon in the fog at the bottom of the Champs-Elysées !

 

 
 
 

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