Antoine de Caunes – Monsieur N. (2003)

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A Fascinating Story, Sifting through Legend and Fact about Napoleon’s Last Days
Author: gradyharp from United States

Director Antoine de Caunes has adapted Rene Mansor’s fine screenplay concerning the enigma that still exists as to the final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte into a film that relates the period of history from 1816 to 1840 during which time the bifurcated responses of the British and French to the legend of Napoleon initiated the scandal that still piques our interest.

Opening in 1816 Napoleon (the brilliant Philippe Torreton) is imprisoned on the island of St. Helena along with his most trusted supporters and various citizens who elected to follow him into exile – with an eye on Napoleon’s fortune when he dies. There is a new British Governor appointed, Hudson Lowe (Richard E. Grant), who is steely and determined to prevent Napoleon’s escape and yes, even protect the British government from the costly extended prison expenditures a prolonged exile will produce. Lowe appoints Basil Heathcote (Jay Rodan) to sit in watch of the Emperor/General only to come under the spell of the mysterious Napoleon and the spell of a young girl Betsy Balcombe (Siobhan Hewlett) who is in love with Napoleon. Others among Napoleon’s party include the Montholons (Stephane Freiss and Elsa Zylberstein) the latter of whom Napoleon keeps as his mistress and impregnates, Cipriani (Bruno Putzulu) his butler and half brother, Ali (Igor Skreblin) his bodyguard, Marshal Bertand (Roschdy Zem) his aide de camp, among others. Continue reading