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The chef d'ouevre of legendary French filmmaker Abel Gance, the 235-minute was supposed to have been the first installment in a multipart film study of the French military hero. Each of the film's set pieces is treated like a movie in itself: the opening pillow fights and snowball battles, staged while Napoleon is still a schoolboy (played by Russian youth Vladimir Roudenko), are choreographed on a scale worthy of D.W. Griffith. The plot proper begins with Napoleon's adult years. From home island of...more