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Pimple's Battle of Waterloo (1913)

British Film Institute

Main image of Pimple's Battle of Waterloo (1913)
35mm, 595 feet, black & white, silent
DirectorsFred Evans
 Joe Evans
Production CompanyFolly Films
ScriptFred Evans
 Joe Evans

Cast: Fred Evans (Pimple/Napoleon), Joe Evans (Wellington)

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Napoleon's ill-fated campaign to conquer Europe.

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In 1913, Fred Evans was walking passed a cinema screening the British & Colonial super production The Battle of Waterloo (d. Charles Weston, 1913). This was one of the new 'feature' films that were sweeping the nation, launched with unprecedented publicity. The Evans brothers, already veterans of the film comedy, wasted no time in exploiting all this attention, and managed to release their parody of the film in the same month. The film spoofs the high production values of the feature by being very obviously as cheap as possible and using classic music hall/pantomime stagecraft and gags.

Fred Evans, aka Pimple, plays Napoleon in the famous scenes from his life - including crossing the (cardboard) Alps - on a pantomime horse - the attempt on his life - by suffragettes - on the way to Paris (via Waterloo station) and the noble General's taking the watch from the sleeping sentry (who of course thinks he is trying to nick his rifle). At the battle, Napoleon (Fred Evans) and Wellington (Joe Evans) toss a coin for the first shot. The French, realising they have forgotten the ammunition, go off to the shops to buy some more. A troop of Boy Scouts charge Napoleon, who, after a chaotic battle, surrenders. He is taken prisoner and sent off in a boat, saying goodbye to France forever (here represented by a cardboard notice saying France on one bank of the Thames).

Bryony Dixon

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete film (8:01)
Complete and Utter History of Britain, The (1969)
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