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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > Biography > French Revolution > War > Romance > British TV Mini-Series > Napoleon & Love (1974/Acorn Media DVD)

Napoleon & Love (1974/Acorn Media DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C-     Episodes: B-



The story of Napoleon has so many aspects to it and no one has been able to nail the history well, despite some interesting attempts including Able Gance’s controversial 1927 silent classic Napoleon.  Stanley Kubrick almost did until his project fell apart and he moved onto the underrated Barry Lyndon in 1975.  Though he has also been a sort of joke in even pop culture, Rod Steiger played him in the 1971 feature film Waterloo, but it did so bad that it even killed Kubrick’s project.  Still, the subject continues to fascinate and a TV mini-series called Napoleon & Love was made in 1974 on British TV and focuses on the women in his life.


Ian Holm plays the legendary military leader before his rise to success, first meeting Josephine (Billie Whitelaw) and runs nine hour-long shows.  Holm does not try to be too French and is an underrated actor who actually does a decent job in the role.  Soon, you believe he is (or could be) the real man and the rest of the series falls into place.  Starting at age 25 when he is a general, this is not bad throughout and holds up pretty well.  The money is on the screen and looks good.


The cast also helps and also includes Ronald Hines, Peter Bowles, Peter Jeffrey, Edward de Souza, T.P. McKenna, Catherine Schell, Tony Anholt, Adrienne Corri and even Tim Curry just before he made Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It is a consistently smart and well-written piece in line with the last golden period of British TV, so it is nice opt have it on DVD finally.  Those who go out of their way to see it will not be disappointed.


The case warns of source limits and the 1.33 X 1 image is a bit soft and limited throughout, despite some good color from whatever source they used from the original professional PAL analog taping.  Flaws include video noise, video banding, PAL cross color and even some tape damage.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also a few generations down, but they have tried to fix this to some extent.  Extras include text cast filmographies and a historical events timeline, but that is all.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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