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Conquest (1937)

Conquest (1937) starring Charles Boyer, Greta Garbo

Synopsis of Conquest

Countess Marie Walewska first meets Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in an act of hero worship. Two months later,Countess Marie Walewska formally meets Napoleon Bonaparte at a ball in Warsaw. Napoleon notes her husband is three times her age, and as he is taken with her charms. He unsuccessfully tries to seduce her. She loves her elderly husband, despite her attraction to Napoleon. She ignores his frequent letters and flowers. Until a few grim Polish leaders led by Senator Malachowski urge her to give into his desires as a personal sacrifice to save Poland. She goes to him despite the humiliation of her husband, who leaves for Rome to annul their marriage.

Greta Garbo as Marie Walewska and Charles Boyer as Napoleon in Conquest

They are extremely happy for a while; Napoleon divorces childless Empress Josephine and Marie eventually becomes pregnant. She is about to tell Napoleon about their baby. When he tells her he decided to marry Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. He explains it will be only a political marriage … To insure his future son could rule securely with Hapsburg blood in him. It will not affect their relationship, he says. But Marie Walewska leaves to have her baby alone without telling Napoleon she is expecting his child.

Editorial review of Conquest courtesy of Amazon.com

Greta Garbo as Marie Walewska in Conquest (1937)

The seventh and final collaboration between Greta Garbo and her favorite director Clarence Brown, Conquest vividly recreates one of the most celebrated romances in history: the ill-fated love affair between Polish countess Marie Walewska (Garbo) and the Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte (Charles Boyer in the first of his three career Oscar(r)-nominated* performances). Featuring lavish sets, stunning costumes and a dazzling array of historical reenactments, Conquest took five months to film at a then-staggering cost of $3 million. The chemistry between Garbo and Boyer is electric, resulting in a poignant love story that’s lost none of its power to conquer the attention of movie lovers across the generations.

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