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THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES

"'The Emperor's New Clothes' is an enjoyable historical comedy that supposes Napoleon Bonaparte did not die a prisoner in exile, but switched places with another man and was smuggled back to France. This slight premise--adapted by Kevin Moloney from a novel by Simon Leys--works because of the ideal casting of the masterful British actor Ian Holm as the aged Napoleon...Holm is very funny and touching as Napoleon, who is appalled to see the site of his great defeat--Waterloo-- turned into a 19th-century tourist attraction...Alan Taylor ('Palookaville'), an American, directs with a playful touch, and Denmark's Hjejle is far more assured acting in English here than she was in 'High Fidelity.'" --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"...an old-fashioned, tidily designed 'Prince and the Pauper' story in which an elaborate scheme allows the exiled Napoleon to escape St. Helena as a humble double takes his place. Dull, if not devoid of wit, this shaggy dog longs to frisk through the back alleys of history, but scarcely manages more than a modest, snoozy charm."
--J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

''Alan Taylor directs with a great appreciation for romantically photographed weather as a mood signifier, and apparently an equally great appreciation for 'The Madness of King George' as a role model...While Holm, as Napoleon, visibly softens and loosens over time as he adapts slowly to everyday life (tenderized by the affection of 'High Fidelity''s Iben Hjejle as a good, widowed Everywoman), Holm, as the inelegant impostor, visibly puffs and hardens as grandeur goes to this nobody's head. And he does it all with the smallest, most intimate of adjustments to his gait, expression, and voice. It's a royal, finely modulated double performance by an actor who always wears his powers with graceful modesty." -Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

"...an endearing bit of fluff that shoves history through the looking glass...it's slight but smart....Director Alan Taylor has fun with his displaced conqueror." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News