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directed by David Grubin
USA 2000


Prior to 2005’s Marie Antoinette, producer-director-writer David Grubin created the four-hour, four-part Napoleon. This documentary is also a compilation of re-enactments, talking-heads interviews, and camera pans over paintings, photos, and documents. The best parts of the documentary are Parts I and III, when our attention is directed to Napoleon’s early years as a youth who promises to do harm to the French (which he did by making it Enemy Number 1 in Europe) and to Napoleon’s pinnacle of domination. Part IV is a bit of a letdown, though it’s not really Grubin’s fault since Napoleon’s real-life decline was rather anti-climactic anyway.

Napoleon does not provide as much detail as books about its subject can, and the “educational” style won’t hold the interest of many viewers. This DVD is strictly for die-hard history buffs and teachers who can’t get their students to read anything in the first place.

David McCoy



DVD Review: Paramount - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to David McCoy for the Review!

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Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 220

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.88 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Paramount

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• The Making of Napoleon

DVD Release Date: 10 October 2006
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Chapters 28




Comments Video:
The 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen image was probably taken from an interlace source. The source might’ve been analog video, too. The picture is very soft and occasionally rather dark. It also lacks the resolution that we’ve come to associate with top-of-the-line SD-DVD presentations.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo English is your run-of-the-mill, solid but undistinguished audio track.

Optional English closed captions support the audio.

“The Making of Napoleon” is a brief featurette about the production; it mainly focuses on the use of historical enthusiasts for certain re-enactments.

An insert thanks consumers for supporting PBS.

 - David McCoy

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Region 1 - NTSC


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