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How correct IS Ridley Scott’s Napoleon? From Marie Antoinette’s hair to taking pictures the Pyramids with a cannon – consultants reveal movie’s made-up scenes after it riled French critics

How correct IS Ridley Scott’s Napoleon? From Marie Antoinette’s hair to taking pictures the Pyramids with a cannon – consultants reveal movie’s made-up scenes after it riled French critics


With its basic launch nonetheless every week away, Ridley Scott’s new Napoleon biopic has managed to ruffle some critics’ feathers.

Reviewers within the French media this week branded it ‘deeply clumsy’ and ‘boring’ and described Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon as a ‘petulant man-child’.

However some have additionally taken difficulty with the movie’s inaccuracies, even though evaluations within the UK and US have been largely optimistic.

Taking difficulty with scenes within the trailer, historian Dan Snow identified that Napoleon was not current at Marie Antoinette’s execution.

It was additionally famous that the fallen queen’s hair was shorn – not lengthy and curly as is depicted – when she was guillotined. 

And Napoleon’s escapades in Egypt didn’t embody the concentrating on of the pyramids, however the movie reveals them being shot with cannons.  

Beneath, MailOnline delves into these inaccuracies and extra.  

With its general release still a week away, Ridley Scott's new Napoleon biopic has managed to ruffle some critics' feathers. Reviewers in the French media this week branded it 'deeply clumsy' and 'boring' and described Joaquin Phoenix's Napoleon as a 'petulant man-child'

With its basic launch nonetheless every week away, Ridley Scott’s new Napoleon biopic has managed to ruffle some critics’ feathers. Reviewers within the French media this week branded it ‘deeply clumsy’ and ‘boring’ and described Joaquin Phoenix’s Napoleon as a ‘petulant man-child’

Antoinette’s hair was cropped when she was executed and she or he wasn’t carrying a black gown

The movie’s trailer additionally reveals Antoinette with a shock of frizzy hair as she defiantly makes her solution to the guillotine in entrance of a baying mob.

However the French queen in reality had intently cropped hair when she was put to demise, after it was shorn by her captors.

She can also be seen in Scott’s manufacturing carrying a black gown. 

Though she had wished to put on black, she was pressured to don a white gown – the color worn by widowed queens of France. 

Marie Antoinette - portrayed by Catherine Walker - is seen in Ridley Scott's Napoleon with a shock of curly hair before she is executed

Marie Antoinette - portrayed by Catherine Walker - is seen in Ridley Scott's Napoleon with a shock of curly hair before she is executed

Marie Antoinette – portrayed by Catherine Walker – is seen in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon with a shock of curly hair earlier than she is executed

Napoleon wasn’t there at Marie Antoinette’s execution

Within the trailer for the movie, Napoleon is seen watching on as Marie Antoinette is guillotined in entrance of a baying crowd in Paris in the course of the French Revolution.

In actuality, the long run French emperor was on the opposite aspect of the nation on the time.

He was collaborating within the Siege of Toulon, through which he performed a key function in forcing forces led by Britain to withdraw.

Antoinette was executed after a trial through which she was accused of incest together with her son. Her husband, King Louis XVI, had been guillotined eight months earlier.     

In the trailer for the film, Napoleon is seen watching on as Marie Antoinette is guillotined in front of a baying crowd in Paris during the French Revolution

In the trailer for the film, Napoleon is seen watching on as Marie Antoinette is guillotined in front of a baying crowd in Paris during the French Revolution

Within the trailer for the movie, Napoleon is seen watching on as Marie Antoinette is guillotined in entrance of a baying crowd in Paris in the course of the French Revolution

Marie Antoinette probably wasn’t defiant as she was put to demise

Talking on BBC Radio 4’s Immediately Programme on Thursday, French tutorial Dr Estelle Paranque mentioned she was irritated by Scott’s feisty depiction of Antoinette.

‘It did annoy me just a little as a result of he made her type of fearless and a bit feisty, and on the time actually she was not,’ she mentioned. 

She added: ‘She tried to stay dignified on the finish, however I do not suppose she would have been that daring. And clearly Napoleon wasn’t there.’

French academic Dr Estelle Paranque said she was irritated by Scott's feisty depiction of Antoinette. 'It did annoy me a little because he made her kind of fearless and a bit feisty, and at the time honestly she was not,' she said

French academic Dr Estelle Paranque said she was irritated by Scott's feisty depiction of Antoinette. 'It did annoy me a little because he made her kind of fearless and a bit feisty, and at the time honestly she was not,' she said

 French tutorial Dr Estelle Paranque mentioned she was irritated by Scott’s feisty depiction of Antoinette. ‘It did annoy me just a little as a result of he made her type of fearless and a bit feisty, and on the time actually she was not,’ she mentioned

Antoinette was executed after a trial in which she was accused of incest with her son

Antoinette was executed after a trial in which she was accused of incest with her son

Antoinette was executed after a trial through which she was accused of incest together with her son

Napoleon did not goal the pyramids

The Napoleon trailer additionally reveals the emperor’s troops taking pictures on the pyramids throughout his escapades in Egypt.

A cannon is seen being loaded, aimed after which fired on the high of the traditional buildings.

However historian Dan Snow took difficulty with the scene in a TikTok evaluation.

He mentioned: ‘We’re seeing this 12-pound cannon firing at most elevation. Can it hit the highest of the pyramids from the place they’re standing? I very a lot doubt that.

‘And in addition Napoleon did not shoot on the pyramids, and the Battle of the Pyramids, so-called, was not fought on the base of the pyramids.’

The Napoleon trailer also shows the emperor's troops shooting at the pyramids during his escapades in Egypt

The Napoleon trailer also shows the emperor's troops shooting at the pyramids during his escapades in Egypt

The Napoleon trailer additionally reveals the emperor’s troops taking pictures on the pyramids throughout his escapades in Egypt

Historian Dan Snow took issue with the scene in a TikTok analysis. Above: The moment cannon fire hits one of the pyramids

Historian Dan Snow took issue with the scene in a TikTok analysis. Above: The moment cannon fire hits one of the pyramids

Historian Dan Snow took difficulty with the scene in a TikTok evaluation. Above: The second cannon hearth hits one of many pyramids

Napoleon did not come from nothing, or conquer all the things

A promotional poster for the movie contains the defiant strapline: ‘He got here from nothing. He conquered all the things’.

However Snow identified that Napoleon’s father was an aristocrat. 

Carlo Bonaparte and Napoleon’s mom Maria lived of their palatial ancestral dwelling on the island of Corsica, the place the emperor grew up.

Napoleon’s father rose to grow to be Corsica’s consultant within the courtroom of Louis XVI. 

The Bonaparte household have been additionally descended from Tuscan nobles who emigrated to Corsica within the sixteenth century.

A promotional poster for the film includes the defiant strapline: 'He came from nothing. He conquered everything'

A promotional poster for the film includes the defiant strapline: 'He came from nothing. He conquered everything'

A promotional poster for the movie contains the defiant strapline: ‘He got here from nothing. He conquered all the things’

As for the declare that he ‘conquered all the things’, regardless of his finest efforts Napoleon didn’t conquer Britain.

His deliberate invasion was by no means even tried. Though an invasion drive did collect on the French coast, Napoleon’s campaigns in Austria and Egypt meant they by no means departed for British shores.

The plans have been conclusively shelved in 1802, when the Treaty of Amiens put a pause to hostilities between Britain and France. 

Napoleon by no means led a cavalry cost

The movie additionally depicts Napoleon careering into battle atop his horse. 

However Snow factors out that the French emperor by no means led a cavalry cost.

Napoleon did nevertheless order cavalry assaults in numerous battles and was current when combating occurred. 

Regardless of his historic defeats within the Peninsular Battle and on the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was largely profitable in battle.

Of 60 battles fought by his forces, solely seven resulted in defeat.  

The film also depicts Napoleon careering into battle atop his horse. But Snow points out that the French emperor never led a cavalry charge

The film also depicts Napoleon careering into battle atop his horse. But Snow points out that the French emperor never led a cavalry charge

The movie additionally depicts Napoleon careering into battle atop his horse. However Snow factors out that the French emperor by no means led a cavalry cost

French outlet Le Figaro mentioned in its evaluation that the movie ought to be renamed ‘Barbie and Ken underneath the Empire’ and added that Napoleon is portrayed as a ‘sentimental brute with a gun in hand and fast to shed a tear’.

Canadian French-language newspaper Le Devoir led with the headline ‘Not Waterloo, however not Austerlitz both,’ referencing Napoleon’s futile final stand in Belgium and his tactical ‘masterpiece’ in opposition to the Russians in immediately’s Czechia.

The article described Phoenix’s Napoleon as a ‘petulant man-child who does not actually appear to know what he is doing’.

In an interview with the New Yorker, Scott hit again at critics, telling them to ‘get a life’ when presed.

‘There are 400 books written about him. Possibly the primary one was essentially the most correct, the subsequent one is already doing a model of the writer,’ he mentioned.

‘By the point you get to guide 399, guess what, there’s a variety of hypothesis.’

He additionally responded to claims of inaccuracies by telling France Inter Radio: ‘My reply to them is, “How have you learnt? Have been you there?”‘

He added that he was speculating about historical past, however caught near the information which can be identified about Napoleon, together with by analyzing his letters. 

Responding to Scott’s defence, historian Man Walters mentioned: ‘Ridley Scott has resorted to that time-dishonoured and lamest excuse for getting his historical past incorrect in his Napoleon movie. 

‘Telling folks “you’ll be able to’t know since you weren’t there” negates the entire pursuit of historic information, and principally offers you a cross to make all of it up



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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