The Emperor's New Clothes got lost in the shuffle when FilmFour went to the wall, sitting on the shelf for a couple of years before a negligible release. Like the film itself, the premise had been around for years - Winston Churchill once pitched a variation to Charlie Chaplin - although it took decades to reach the screen: Napoleon never actually died on St Helena but escaped, leaving a double behind. Unfortunately the Emperor's plans to return to power were rather cut short by the double being unwilling to give up his cushy life on the island and own up to his true identity, and then compounding his sin by keeling over and dying, leaving the real Napoleon adrift in a Paris where nobody believes him and the asylums are full of people who think they're Napoleon.
Alan Taylor's film never quite makes enough of its premise and the last act is a little scruffy around the edges as Ian Holm's little Emperor finds himself settling down with Iben Hjejle's widowed fruit seller, planning her street sales campaign with military precision, but it's a pleasing little number that gets by on wistful charm rather than biting satire. It never quite comes to grips with France's divided attitude to Napoleon's legacy - part dictator, part liberator - although it takes some nice digs at the post-Napoleonic tourist trade as Waterloo becomes a tourist trap filled with souvenir sellers and inns where Napoleon slept ("I've never set foot in this place in my life," notes Napoleon before dozing off on a bed under a `Napoleon slept here' sign). Extremely likeable, with a rather splendid score by Rachel Portman the icing on the cake.
Paramount's US Region 1 NTSC DVD offers no extras, so you're better off seeking out FilmFour's UK PAL DVD which includes a brief featurette, trailer, cast interviews and raw behind the scenes footage.