A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets

It’s too bad Stanley Kubrick never got a chance to make his meticulously researched Napoleon epic:

But Kubrick’s latest film, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” had proved to be both a critical and a box-office success. Kubrick knew he could now make almost any film he desired, and what he desired most was to bring to the screen his vision of the chaotic, war-soaked life of Napoleon. It was to be no mere Hollywood biopic; Kubrick planned to stage full-scale re-creations of the French ruler’s most infamous wars, and he wanted to do it on the same battlefields that Napoleon had fought on 150 years before.

— Darryl Mason, “The greatest movie Stanley Kubrick never made“.  Salon.com, October 4th, 2000.

I have mixed feelings about some of his contemporary efforts, but the man does know how to shoot an 18th century battle scene.  Here’s a great one from Barry Lyndon.

I particularly like the implacable British advance; fallen infantry in the first rank are replaced instantly by the following line, and the army never stops marching.  The Brits have fixed bayonets, which makes reloading impractical.  They are clearly planning to advance to point-blank range, fire a single volley, and execute a bayonet charge.

Although the French get off a few volleys, you get the sense that they are going to be butchered on point of bayonet.  They’ve clearly failed to put a dent in the lobsters’ morale, despite heavy musket fire and attendant casualties.

The music, incidentally, is British Grenadiers, a common regimental quick-march of the period.

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