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THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES
USA: Paramount Classics
UK: Pathe Distribution
Cast: Ian Holm, Iben Hjejle, Tim McInnerny, Tom Watson, Nigel Terry, Hugh Bonneville, Murray Melvin, Eddie Marsan, Clive Russell, Bob Mason, Trevor Cooper, Chris Langham, Russell Dixon, George Harris, Niall O'Brien, Hayley Carmichael, Philip McGough, Tim Barlow, Tony Vogel, Russell Tovey, John McGlynn, Clive Mendus, Ashley Artus, Roger Frost, Tom Hunsinger, Matthew Sim, Phil Hearne, Moya Brady, Caterina Venturini, Stefano Gragnani, Herve Ducroux, Giovanni Gianasso, Francesco Guzzo, Sergio Ballo, Piero Lorenzo
Director: Alan Taylor
Countries: Germany / Italy / UK
USA & UK: 107 mins
USA Rated: PG for brief language
UK Certificate: PG contains mild sex references and horror
USA Release Date: 14 June 2002 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 30 January 2004
FRANCE, 1821. On the remote Atlantic island of St Helena, the residence in exile for the past six years of the great Napoleon Bonaparte, that exile is about to end. A secret network of loyal Bonapartists is poised to return the Emperor to Paris while a double will play his part on the island. When the Emperor arrives in Paris, the double on St Helena will reveal himself as an impostor, and Napoleon will reclaim his throne. Disguised as able-bodied seaman Eugene Lenormand, Napoleon sets off for Paris while his doppelganger, the real Eugene Lenormand, wakes up in his Emperor's bed.
But things don't work out as planned. Napoleon's ship changes course and he misses a crucial link in his network of supporters. Arriving, eventually, in Paris, alone and friendless, he meets a widowed melon-seller Pumpkin (Iben Hjejle) and the two forge an unlikely but life-changing relationship while Napoleon waits impatiently for his moment.
When his return to glory is thwarted by an unexpected turn of events on St Helena, Napoleon has to find another way to confirm his true identity while finally letting go of imperial dreams.
Adapted from Simon Leys novel 'The Death of Napoleon', THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES is a romantic comedy of escalating errors about an imperious ruler who rediscovers life as a normal person - and the commoner who gets a tantalising taste of power and fame as his impostor. Ian Holm (THE LORD OF THE RINGS) plays both the autocratic Napoleon and the oafish deck-hand who swaps places with him. Both men explore their new fates, resulting in a moving and entertaining romp not only through history, but also through identity, ambition and love's power to transcend both.