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Starting with our second Snark Week, I’ve picked a shitty frock flick to recap, because I love sharing the blow-by-blows with you. While I’ve asked you to choose for the past few years, I decided to executive decision things this year, since y’all keep refusing to choose this gem — so this year, I will recap Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story (1987). Armand Assante as Napoleon! Jacqueline Bisset as Josephine! First, you must know that the costumes for this were designed by Michel Fresnay, who has designed numerous operas as well as a few TV movies, and was nominated for an Emmy for Best Costume Design. Let’s do this!
All kinds of random characters are introduced. I faithfully screencap them, assuming they are going to be important down the road. They are not. I delete the screencaps if they are boys and not wearing anything exciting.
Napoleon is going to be First Consul, making this 1799. He takes Josephine to the Tuileries palace and tells her they’re moving in. She’s worried this is All Too Much.
Napoleon and Josephine are throwing an Official Ball! Napoleon is annoyed at the skimpy dresses all the ladies are wearing and insists his servants keep building up the fires. Someone throws a rock through the window with an anti-Napoleonic slogan. Josephine worries but Napoleon is unfazed.
Napoleon snubs Therese, telling Josephine that her friend is slutty.
In possibly my favorite sartorial moment of the entire series, Talleyrand is hanging with his mistress, Catherine Grand, who is dressed like Regency Malibu Barbie. Napoleon tells Talleyrand he should marry her, not for romantic reasons, but just because it’s how Napoleon wants things organized. Talleyrand proposes, and at first Catherine thinks he’s joking.
Hortense wanders through with her (new) dog. Louis Bonaparte is hot to trot, not realizing who she is. He tries to flirt, she offers some excellent Bonaparte insults, and finally Josephine explains who she is.
Louis wants to marry Hortense. At first Napoleon isn’t into it, until Josephine points out that it will join her blood with his blood.
Talleyrand does some scheming with another guy while their wives hang.
Napoleon, Josephine, and Hortense are busy getting ready to go to the opera. We learn through dialogue that Hortense and Louis are married. Josephine is taking forever to get ready, so she tells Napoleon to go ahead without her, and they’ll meet there.
The underdeveloped royalists plan to blow up Napoleon’s carriage as he passes through a particular square. After various allegedly suspenseful carriage sequences, they fail. Napoleon swears he will get revenge.
Afterwards … Napoleon casually asks Josephine who might be responsible for the bomb. She suggests the royalist guy above. Napoleon storms out to take his revenge … which is then dropped (unless maybe I spaced out?).
While hanging out in bed, Napoleon casually drops that he’s going to make himself emperor. Josephine worries.
IT’S CORONATION TIME, BABY! First, Josephine meets with the pope and tells him she’s worried that because she and Napoleon were married in a civil ceremony, many don’t see their marriage as legitimate. The pope says “okay then let’s do this!” and marries them.
Next up, the coronation! Which happened in 1804. This was the specific episode that got the Emmy nomination, and okay, I can see why.
Stay tuned for the finale of Napoleon and Josephine: a Love Story tomorrow!