A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Hooptedoodle #40a – Napoleon’s Last Words

Definitely not tonight, Josephine

Well, with thanks to super-sleuth Metal Detector, I revisited the death-bed scene in the Clavier film, this time with the Danish subtitles switched on. I still can’t make out what he says but, according to the subtitles, he says “Helvedet... Arméen...”, which Google Translate reckons means something like “Hell... army...”, which might be a nice reference to Jean Lanne’s earlier dying words, in which he maintained that he was going to Hell, because that is what happens to people like him, and that he would meet Napoleon there.

I was sort of comfortable with that, but I find that a more official record of Napoleon’s last words says that he said “tête d’armée...” and then “Josephine...”. I guess he just mumbled, and no-one really knows. Please feel free to make up your own version. That is my own Last Word on the subject.

In the wider world of last words and epitaphs, there are some great classics, of course. Two of my personal favourites are Spike Milligan’s proposed epitaph, “I TOLD YOU I WAS ILL”, and the reported last words of Buddy Rich, the noted jazz drummer and psychopath – as he went in for his final (unsuccessful) heart operation, he was asked if he was allergic to anything, and replied “Country & Western music”.


  1. Well that's a very good question. I didn't see any evidence of him actually eating any wallpaper, come to think of it, but he certainly complains to anyone who will listen that he is being poisoned little by little. Hudson-Lowe is such a horrible man that it's easy to see that poisoning might have been one of his more attractive habits.

    Which reminds me - one of the people Nap is happy to share his conspiracy theories with is young Betsy Balcombe. I must say I would have been very reluctant to allow my young daughter to befriend the old goat, but whatever happened to the Napoleon & Betsy film? Last I heard Scarlet Johanson had been replaced with the bird out of Harry Potter, which I didn't see as a positive move, but no matter - what happened? - did the film materialise? Al Pacino as Napoleon sounds all right.