Country : France
Medium : Black and white
Duration : 100'
Video : Canal+ Vidéo
Production : Serge Sandberg / Impéria Films / Cinéas
Scenario : Sacha Guitry and Christian-Jaque
Screenplay : Sacha Guitry
Music : Jean Françaix
Director of photography : Jules Kruger
Plot : The story of the seven pearls of the English royal crown leads Jean Martin, the film's narrator, to go back in time and to see the great events of history at first hand. The story runs that dating from the famous meeting of François I and Henry VIII on the Field of the Cloth of Gold the pearls had many different owners but were never all together at one time. The plot has many twists.
Cast : Jean-Louis Barrault (Bonaparte) ; Émile Drain (Napoleon) ; Jacqueline Delubac (Josephine / Françoise) ; Sacha Guitry (Barras / Napoleon III / François Ier / Jean Martin) ; Pizani (Talleyrand) ; Huguette Duflos (Queen Hortense) ; Raimu (The Industrialist from the Midi) ; Raymonde Allain (Eugénie en 1865) ; Marguerite Moreno (Eugénie en 1914) ; Yvette Pienne (Queen Victoria) ; Ermete Zacconi (Clement VII) ; Lyn Harding (Henri VIII) ; Cécile Sorel (A courtisane) ; Renée Saint-Cyr (Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne) ; Simone Renant (Madame du Barry) ; Pauline Carton (Chamber maid) ; Arletty (The Queen of Abysinia) ; René Dalio (The Queen's minister) ; Claude Dauphin (The Italian prisoner) ; Engelman (The pearl thief)
Extract : « Napoleon. - Why have you come here ?
Hortense. - Because after having given up my mother's diamonds I found in my box this pearl which the Empress valued highly. I offer to you. Perhaps one say you might need it.
Napoleon. - I give it to you. You should give it to your son when he marries. He always has such a morose air about him. You will reign perhaps one day. Should I desire it? Is he intelligent ?
Hortense. - I don't know.
Napoleon. - But whether my son reigns or not, I do not wish Louis to be Napoleon II.
Hortense. - No ?
Napoleon. - No, No. Never! He will be Napoleon III ! »
Review : Under an apparently simplistic plot lies a film of charm. Although the attention to historical detail is not 100 percent, the lightness of tone is a delight. As was often the case for Guitry, Jean-Louis Barrault and Emile Drain lead the cast as Bonaparte and Napoleon. And the script is a jewel. They don't write them like this any more !