Previous parts of this series are indexed here:
We've referenced Helen of Troy many times, and most recently in discussing James Clavell and Charles E. Gannon -- the epic love story from the male point of view where all male protection instincts drive the plot. Helen of Troy was such a figure, inspiring men to war, to rescue, to heroic deeds.
We think of Helen of Troy as pre-historic, probably a legend even though archeologists have found Troy.
Maybe the story was just a legend, but it became a classic literary legend because it bespeaks an eternal attribute of human nature -- the lengths a Soul Mate will go to in order to reunite with his beloved.
The whole world, and all human history, has pivoted on the Soul Mate relationship many times.
This kind of story made Box Office history even in the B&W film day, and with modern digitization and streaming services, these old films are available to the young.
Here is a short description of the film, DESIREE,
seen long ago, seen again in 2020, compared with all the real and legendary history of the days of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The author, Anne Pinzow, is a reporter, film student, and published fiction author. The perspective is deeply informative for those seeking to replicate the Epic Romance the way Charles E. Gannon has in his Caine Riordan series.
Here is Anne Pinzow's view of this old, epic film.
---quoting Anne Pinzow--------
I was watching one of my favorite movies which I haven't seen since I watched on my black and white TV at 1 in the morning when I was a kid. Desiree. It's a totally fictionalized, cleaned up and sanitized "true" story in that these characters actually did exist and something, sorta, kinda, if you squint, did happen.
What is true is that both Napoleon Bonaparte and Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who became the King of Sweden were enamored by Desiree Clary, the daughter of a fabric merchant in the post French Revolution years. She was engaged to Bonaparte as he wanted her dowery, but he married Josephine for her political connections. Clary married Bernadotte and became the mostly absent Queen of Sweden and lived in Paris as she just did not fit in to the Swedish royals plus she hated the cold. Napoleon tried to use her to get Bernadotte to comply with his wishes and Bernadotte tried to use her to find out what Napoleon was up to.
Anyway, it's a fun movie, if you're not a fan of Napoleon Bonaparte.
So, I'm not talking about the real people and their characters but the movie people.
Both Bonaparte and Bernadotte were born to poor families, joined the Army and rose quickly up through the ranks because of their military successes. The difference is that, according to the movie, Bernadotte did not believe that peace and freedom for the rest of Europe could be achieved by war while Bonaparte played at wanting liberty, fraternity and equality but that it only could be achieved by killing everyone who opposed him.
In the end, by putting the asses of the members of his family on the thrones of Europe, including his own, he achieved, if briefly, what he wanted.
Bernadotte, by being merciful and releasing prisoners of war when the war was over or won, was offered the crown of Sweden as the country's royal line was too old, gone crazy, had no heirs.
In the end, because of his character, Napoleon died on Elba, losing everything and his "dynasty," lasted about 11 years, was later re-established by his nephew and lasted about 18 years.
Meanwhile Bernadotte's dynasty has been around for 200 years and the present king of Sweden is his direct descendant.
Their methods were exactly the same but their characters made all the difference.