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Imperial Venus

Imperial Venus

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This loose biopic relates the adult life of Paolina (Paulette), the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. She is portrayed as a willful, yet impulsive woman, through her marriages and scandals, through the heights and depths of Napoleon’s life

STARS: Gina Lollobrigida, Stephen Boyd, Raymond Pellegrin

140 min | Drama, History, Romance | 1962 | Color


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A good film that needs better editing
I saw VENERE IMPERIALE when it first came out, in its Italian version, in its full-length, glorious cinematography, and I must say that most reviewers have missed the point in evaluating the film. This is a great epic on the life of a woman legendary for her beauty and love affairs. While many scenes are perhaps too static, resembling scenes from an historical frieze, others have adequate tone, pace and atmosphere, do projecting a real feel for the times and people depicted. I never thought the film was overlong when I saw it, but it is obvious it could have used better editing, a faster pace in some places. Nothing wrong with the art direction and the use of location for the external scenes. If anything, I would have entrusted the screenplay to Jacques Prévert and Jean Aurenche, who did such an outstanding job in NOTRE DAME DE Paris, instead of using five writers as Delannoy did. Too many people, perhaps too many hands involved. Delannoy loved Gina Lollobrigida, and directed her well. I never understood the negative criticisms directed at Lollobrigida as an actress. Those who pan her performance in this film should have a good look at Sophia Loren's in MADAME SANS-GÊNE. That's mediocrity for you. Gina at least was beautiful to look at, and possessed true star quality. One regret, though: why use Micheline Presle so sparingly? She was so wonderful a presence and deserved far more screen time than was given here.

Brought sexy back
I saw this movie in a German dubbed version, so I can't judge the "original" version (if there was an original soundtrack to the movie, it's more likely that this has been filmed, like the Leone Westerns, where every actor spoke in his native language)! But I did like the German version ...

As is obvious from my rating against the "beating" it got before my rating. Now I think most of the reviewers can agree, that the actors did a good job. I also have to agree with the fact, that nothing explicit is shown here (neither sexual nor anything else), but is played with. But the sexual innuendos that are used here, are really great. At least I could enjoy them. Since back then, they couldn't be more free with "topics" like that, I'm even surprised they got away with some of the things in the script. Anyway, the movie has it's downfalls, but I rated the high points (jokes and actors against an incoherent story)!

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