A period costume epic with historical and sociological undertones, IMPERIAL VENUS was filmed in a grand manner meant to appeal to the French and Italian audiences who resented the innovations of the New Wave.
Gina Lollobrigida stars in the role of Napoleon’s beloved sister, Paolina, the sexy imperial Princess who thirsts for power of her own, and can only obtain it through her affairs with men. Not a great figure in history, Paolina Bonaparte (1780-1825) nonetheless enjoyed a reputation for her legendary beauty and her capricious life. She was celebrated in a statue that cast her as Venus, made by the great Canova (Gianni Santuccio). And she was famous by association, belonging to the family that ruled over Europe in the first decade of the 1800s. That she won as many battles in bed as her brother did on the battlefield overshadows her humanity: she was complex and fragile, enjoying a short but exceptional life.
Napoleon (Raymond Pellegrin) loved his sister dearly in an untiring, if not overbearing way. While his career blossomed, she married the young general Leclerc (Massimo Girotti). She shined in the Bonaparte court, was widowed, then married Camillo Borghese (Giulio Bosetti) from whom quickly separated. Reentering France, she accepted new loves and new honors. The Princess was, in life, a representative of both the good and the evil of the First French Empire, as shown in this engaging film.
Director: Jean Delannoy
Writers: Rodolphe-Maurice Arlaud, Jean Aurenche, Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Jean Delannoy
Stars: Gina Lollobrigida, Stephen Boyd, Raymond Pellegrin