Suez (1938) Movie Script

Point for M. de Lesseps.
Point 30.
Bravo, that was wonderful.
Eighth game and second set to
Mr le Vicomte de Latour.
Better keep your mind on the game.
Mesdames et Messieurs
Monsieur le Prsident de la Rpublique
Look at that. He sits down on that throne
as if he liked it.
After all, Louis Napoleon is a Bonapart.
Emperors seem to run in his family.
As a staunch believer in the Republic,
that's exactly why I'm worried.
You better keep your mind on the game.
Third and deciding set.
Mr de Lesseps will serve.
Who's that playing against de Latour?
Ferdinand de Lesseps, Mr le Prsident.
Son of our Consul-General to Egypt.
Oh, yes, he's a fine officer, isn't he?
One of our most promising young diplomats.
Oh, that's wonderful.
Du Brey...
Who's that?
Countess Eugenie de Montijo,
from Madrid.
She's very enthusiastic about the game.
Especially when young de Lesseps is playing.
The young man has a keen eye
for other things than a tennis ball.
See that Mr de Lesseps is invited
to my next reception.
Yes, Mr le Prsident.
And, of course, Countess...
what's her name, too.
Yes, Mr le Prsident.
Le Conte Hatzfeldt, Baron Dreissen.
Mr Franz Lizst.
Ah, Mr Lizst, I shall have the pleasure of
asking you to play later this evening.
It will be my honor, Mr le Prsident.
Let me help.
Ferdinand, you mustn't
in front of all these people.
It's your fault for looking so beautiful.
If you don't stop
I won't have any reputation left at all.
Why, haven't you already shocked half Paris
by riding astride?
That was different.
Oh, yes, I know you look very charming
in breeches.
Thank you.
Oh, Ferdinand.
There's a fortune teller.
And before the year is out...
you will be married for the fourth time.
Good evening, Eugenie. Isn't it marvelous?
My fourth marriage.
I've only just lost my second husband.
Louis, dear, your party is so different.
Only you would think of having
a fortune teller.
I'm glad you're enjoying yourself,
Oh, you haven't been presented.
Let me.
The Countess Eugenie de Montijo,
Mr le Prsident.
Mr le Prsident.
I had heard that the Countess de Montijo
was one of the most beautiful women in Paris.
Oh, really?
For once the gossips didn't exaggerate.
Thank you.
And this is Mr de Lesseps.
I have always had great respect
for your father.
I'm happy to meet his son.
Mr le Prsident is very kind.
May I have the pleasure of this waltz?
Oh... why, yes, of course.
Would you excuse us, please?
Don't they make a handsome pair?
Mr le Prsident.
The British ambassador has just arrived.
Oh, yes. Du Brey has no manners.
He's always intruding.
Will you forgive me?
Of course, I understand.
May I hope for another dance?
With pleasure.
Monsieur le Marquis.
Ren, good evening, how are you?
Good evening, Eugenie.
Will the most beautiful woman not only in Paris
but in the entire world
honor me with this next dance?
Let's have our fortunes told instead.
He doesn't need his fortune told.
He's already predicted
a most brilliant future for himself.
Oh, but what about my future?
That's easy.
You're going to share mine.
We'll see what the swami has to say
about that.
Sahib, memsahib.
We'd like one of your best fortunes
for the young lady.
One of your very best for us now,
The sand falls slowly.
I see difficulties.
Yes, I see a troubled life.
But a great one.
You will live a hundred years
and wear a crown.
Ren, she really believes the fortune.
Since you're being so generous,
you can tell mine.
The sand tells a strange story.
You shall dig ditches.
Ferdinand de Lesseps, the great diplomat.
France expects ditches.
Since you're laughing so hard,
let's hear yours.
If I knew Louis Napoleon's future,
I'd know mine.
That's a very interesting idea.
We'd like you
to tell us Louis Napoleon's future.
Very good idea,
Only if he himself is here.
Well, let me try.
Here, let me try.
I see a throne.
An imperial throne.
Who's this approaching?
Why, it's Louis Napoleon.
In one hand he carries the tri-color
of the Republic.
Where's that?
Right there.
He walks forward,
looks at the throne...
Looks at the tri-color.
Puts it behind his back.
Then he walks toward the throne.
He starts up the stairs.
That's hard going.
He keeps tripping on the tri-color.
Very amusing.
May I...
Ferdinand, this is our dance.
Mr le Prsident.
Don't you think I...
No, no, you'd only make it worse.
The young man is a wit.
A pity to waste him on Paris where
we have so many wits.
Oh, that's nice.
I designed it especially for mademoiselle.
Oh, it's lovely.
It is beautiful, mademoiselle.
If mademoiselle will permit,
I shall name ir Eugenie.
That's very nice of you.
Thank you.
Don't you think it would be better
if that were...
down just that much?
No, no, mademoiselle, no.
Well, I guess I suppose you're right.
Mr le Marquis du Brey is here,
Du Brey?
Yes, of course, I'll see him at once.
Bien, mademoiselle.
Mr le Marquis.
Pardon me for calling at this hour,
but Mr. le Prsident desires an early answer.
Would you please tell Mr le Prsident
I should love to.
Mr le Marquis.
Au revoir, monsieur.
Merci mil fois, mademoiselle.
Mon plaisir.
Thank you very much.
The hat's a creation.
Eugenie, darling. I'm leaving for Egypt
in an hour and forty-five minutes.
Will you marry me?
I'm going there as secretary of the Consulate.
Marry me, come with me.
Ren's gone for the license.
What license, what are you talking about?
The marriage license.
Quick packing things.
We've just time to get
to the church.
But I couldn't possibly do a thing like that.
You know I couldn't.
Darling, don't you understand?
I may be gone a year, five years.
This may be our last chance.
Oh, Ferdinand, are you insane?
Don't you see?
It just isn't possible.
Yes, I see.
I've made an idiot of myself as usual.
Asking you to change your whole life,
marry a nobody
and go to live in a desert.
You're not a nobody.
You never could be.
it's just such a leap in the dark
and I...
Oh, darling, you must understand,
you've got to,
you do, don't you?
I understand.
I wish I could go with you.
I won't ask you again.
It wouldn't be fair.
But please remember this...
Whether I'm here or in Egypt
no matter where I am
I'll always love you.
Goodbye, Eugenie.
Well, here you are.
I got it.
You know, I had a terrible time...
I'm sorry.
Thanks, just the same.
The new gown is ready, mademoiselle.
Take it away. I don't want to see it.
Take it away, mademoiselle?
Yes, yes, Julie, please.
Driver, stop.
Hassan! Hassan!
Hassan! Hassan!
Oh, you bad donkey.
Wait a minute...
Oh, you dirty pig.
Come back at once
or I will cut your heart out.
I beg your pardon?
I was talking to Hassan.
Yes, my donkey.
But you'll do.
At your service, mademoiselle.
Make him bring back my little house.
My clothes are in it.
Why don't you come out and
get them yourself?
Shame on you.
My dear young lady, I don't mind seeing you
in your bathing dress.
Shame on you.
It's none of your business.
Go away.
Good afternoon, mademoiselle.
Oh, no!
No, monsieur, please, no.
I didn't mean it.
Oh, please, monsieur.
Make him bring back.
Come on, Hassan.
You mustn't keep the lady waiting.
No, no, no!
Don't you know anything about donkeys?
Make believe you want to make him
go forward.
Forward, Hassan.
On to victory.
Come on.
That's right.
That's the way, come on.
Now look the other way.
Hey, hey, hey.
I'll be dressed in a minute.
What's your name?
De Lesseps.
Oh, you're the son.
We've been expecting you.
Yes. All the French people here.
We heard you were very good-looking...
And you are.
What's your name?
Marie Antoinette Germaine Fernande Franoise
I'm very happy to know you,
Mademoiselle Prrrr.
Young lady.
Young lady of leisure, eh?
No, but I could have been.
Many times.
Everybody wants to marry me.
Are you married?
I'm glad somebody's happy about it.
Well, now help me down.
We got wet, didn't we?
His Excellency is in the garden, efendi.
This way, efendi.
Ah, here we are.
How are you, sir?
My boy.
I'd have come to meet you myself but...
I had some business with the Viceroy
that couldn't wait.
What's happened to you?
I had a slight adventure.
Let me present my son.
Sir Malcolm Cameron.
Her Britanic Majesty's Consul General.
Don't get up, sir.
How are you?
I hope you'll pardon my appearance
but I seem to have fallen into the Mediterranean.
Don't tell me that Louis Napoleon
is so pressed for money
that he makes his diplomats
swim to their posts.
No, but we Frenchmen must do our swimming
in the Mediterranean
while we still have the chance.
Before it becomes a British pond.
Young man, you'll be here watching.
Well, here's to a long stay.
And a successful one.
Well, a successful one anyway.
Thank you.
Well, I must be off.
Thanks for the drink, Mathieu.
I'll see you at the Viceroy's
reception tonight.
It's been a pleasure to meet you,
young man.
Thank you, Sir Malcolm.
So that's Sir Malcolm Cameron, eh?
Yes, do you know about him?
Only what everyone
in the Foreign Office knows.
That when England sets him
to watch the kettle
it means something important is brewing.
Right you are.
We must do our best to upset it.
Come, get out of these rags before
you take cold.
A diplomat with a sore throat
is about as useful
as a fiddle without strings.
Elle a de nouveau le costume de bain.
Toni! Toni!
Where are you?
Where have you been?
Running off without telling me.
Bad disciplice gives the army
a bad name.
Yes, grandfather.
Don't grandfather me.
I'm ranking sargeant of the Consulate detail
and I expect obedience.
Yes, Sargeant.
Look at this. Gray as a goose.
I spend all afternoon hunting for
the hair dye.
I hid it, grandfather.
I was afraid one of the men might see it.
Alors, bien, get it!
It's terrible. What must the army
think of us?
Where have you been?
Swimming with Mr de Lesseps.
No, no, grandfather.
His son, the young one.
Oh, he's so funny.
So polite.
I think I'll fall in love with him.
The Consul General's son?
I forbid it, you understand?
This is an order.
Yes, grandfather.
Yes, who?
Yes, Sargeant.
Ah, Sir Malcolm. Delighted to see you.
Your Highness, another evening
to charm the memory
and ruin the figure.
How are you?
Alla wa Salaam ya sahibi.
Allah wa Salam ya kedive.
The presence of my good friend
honors my house.
It is my great pleasure, Your Highness,
to present my son.
It is my great pleasure to welcome
to my court
another of your illustrious family.
Thank you.
Who is that?
That is Prince Said,
the next Viceroy of Egypt.
And your first assignment.
What am I supposed to do with him?
Cultivate him.
Make a friend of him.
So, here you are.
Trying to catch a glimpse
of the young gentleman, eh?
Come now. Get along with you.
Do your marketing.
Yes, grandfather.
Yes, Sargeant.
His Highness, Prince Said,
is calling to see Mr Ferdinand de Lesseps.
I'll tell him.
No, don't go, grandfather. I'll tell him.
Mr de Lesseps, please.
He's in his office.
You mustn't go in.
He's very busy.
Oh, who cares.
I'm sorry, but he doesn't wish
to be disturbed.
Very well.
Mademoiselle. Please, don't go in...
Hello, yourself.
What are you doing here?
I just dropped in.
So I see.
Look here, Toni. I'm very busy.
Who is she?
A friend of mine.
I suppose you are in love with her.
She doesn't look like much.
Now look here, Toni,
I've got a lot of very dull work to do
and my mind isn't on it.
And it's hot.
I wish to heaven I were back in Paris
and the flies are driving me mad
and now you have to come in
and make matters worse.
All right. I just came to tell you
that he's here.
You know.
The Prince.
You mean to say
that you've left him waiting out...
I only wanted to talk to you.
You're not angry with me?
I ought to take you over my knee
and spank you.
Oh, why don't you?
These men coming from Paris
are so edgy.
Good afternoon, Mathieu.
Good afternoon, Malcolm.
I was hoping you'd join me.
Thank you.
What are you doing?
Brushing up on your tricks?
Maybe I'll need them,
now that I have two of you to fight.
Only one, I'm sorry to say.
I'm going back to Paris.
Yes, I've just had a letter from
Victor Hugo.
Things look pretty bad.
I shall miss you, Mathieu.
There's no fun bowling
at an empty wicket, you know.
Don't be too sure about that.
I'm leaving my son in charge here.
Poor lad, eh?
Yes, haven't told him yet.
Poor fellow,
I'm afraid it will be a blow to him.
What's that?
En garde.
Right. A simple.
En garde.
Parry quatre.
Move your arm a little more to the left
for parry quatre. Ready?
Good boy, Your Highness.
I get rid of the old fox and
he leaves me with the young one.
Here we go.
Up we go.
Please, could I rest in my father's carriage
for a few hours?
Of course, if you must.
But remember, you promised to ride
all the way to Suez.
Oh, all right. I will ride.
Good boy, Said.
(In Arabic)
Good morning, grandfather.
Good morning, Sargeant.
Toni, you had your orders to stay
in Alexandria.
Yes, I know.
But I was worried about you.
About me? What do you mean?
See? Gray as a goose.
If I don't fix it, they'll be calling you
old man Pellerin.
You ready, Said?
My friend...
I cannot ride with you today.
This morning the boxing, yesterday
eight hours in the saddle.
All right.
You've earned a day on your back.
Ah, thank you.
I don't like this.
This camp is no place for
a young woman.
I'll take you home tomorrow.
This is no discipline.
Hey, where are you going?
Well, what are you doing here?
I followed you all the way
from Alexandria.
Are you glad I came?
Oh, look.
Let's race the storm to the ruins.
See? Now we can both keep warm.
Maybe it could rain for hours.
No, it's just a squall.
It'll be over in a few minutes.
I can ride better than she can.
She, who?
That girl in the picture.
Yes, you do ride very well.
That's from being in the army.
And she isn't as pretty as I am.
Is she?
Well, she's considered
the most beautiful woman in Europe.
She is not.
You think so because you are
in love with her.
Oh, I hate her.
For heaven's sake, come on, Toni,
sit up.
Sit up.
I'm sorry.
I couldn't help it.
It always happens.
What do you mean.
When a woman falls in love with a man.
Listen to me.
You mind if I give you a little
friendly advice?
Forget about this falling-in-love business.
But I don't want to forget it.
Don't you like me?
Come on. The storm's passed.
Look, a rainbow.
Grandfather says there is a pot of gold
at the end.
One in the Mediterranean
and the other in the Red Sea.
What a pot of gold for the world
if they could be joined,
the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
Look, Toni.
Water in the old gulf.
Just as it was centuries ago
when the Phoenicians sailed through.
Can you imagine ships sailing
right through here where we're standing?
Yes. Not ancient galleys, modern ships.
Steamers sailing
a short trade route to the East.
It could be done.
No elevations, no rock formations.
Just a simple sand d...
And I was told
I was going to dig ditches.
There's fate in this, Toni.
Something sent me here to Egypt
when I didn't want to come...
kept me here when I wanted to leave.
I thought it was a dead end.
It has been up to now.
But I could make this...
I could make this spot that we're standing
on the crossroads of the Earth.
Why, think of it, Toni. A canal stretching
through from the Mediterranean.
Open to the ships of all nations.
It could be done.
And I can do it.
I was looking for a way to serve France.
And I think...
I think I found a way to serve the world.
My plan is to form a stock company in Paris.
To finance the construction of the canal.
But before I can go ahead,
I must have Your Highness' assurance
that Egypt will lease to us the necessary
strip of territory.
I regret that I cannot give you
that assurance.
What can Your Highness lose?
We take all the risk.
You are young, my friend.
The wisdom of age will teach you
the folly
of tampering with the work of Allah.
What man can accomplish is also
the work of Allah.
Since we are his creatures,
obeying his wishes.
Unfortunately one must also consider
the wishes of the Turkish government.
Does this objection come from
Or from London?
From London.
Do you mean your government would oppose
the construction of the canal?
I do.
But why?
Can't they see that England would be the first
to benefit by a canal through the isthmus?
Think how it would shorten
the sailing time to India.
To England's possessions in the East.
No doubt.
But my government
wants no short pathway to the East.
There's always Napoleon sitting on the gate.
But it's absurd to think that any one nation
would dominate the canal.
It would be open to the world.
Your Highness, if you allow
these selfish political considerations
to sway you, Egypt, not France,
will be the greater loser.
I'm sorry.
I'd like to help you.
But my hands are tied.
How did you get in here?
I'm your secretary.
Since when?
From now on.
Look, Toni, can't you find some place
else to play?
I'm not in a very good humor.
Good humor or bad humor,
you must have a secretary to help you.
Well, you can take those books on the
trade routes of the ancient Phoenicians
back to the library.
Which books?
The trade routes of the ancient Phoenicians.
What's the matter, can't you read?
Didn't you go to school?
Oh, yes.
For how long?
About two days.
It was so dull, I ran away.
His Highness Prince Said.
I'm sorry, my friend.
If I were the Viceroy...
Thanks, Said.
Toni, does this sun out here in Egypt
ever do strange things to people?
Sometimes it makes them see things.
That explains it.
I must've been having hallucinations.
Delusions of grandeur thinking that I could
change the map of the world.
Who knoes, my friend?
And I thought I was going to Paris
with you to be your secretary.
Secretary and you can't even read?
I could go to school in Paris.
In a few days I learn to read.
And then I could be your secretary.
We won't have to worry
about that now.
Because we won't be going to Paris.
His Highness the Viceroy.
This is a great honor, Your Highness.
Won't you come in.
I've been thinking about your project,
And the advantages it would bring to Egypt.
Yes, Your Highness?
As you know, I cannot officially give you
permission to proceed.
But I owe you much.
I repeat. I cannot officially
give you permission,
but if you wish to go ahead
with your preparations
you have my personal promise
that when the time comes
my son and I will do our utmost
to find a way to help you.
May Allah bless you, my boy.
What did I tell you, huh?
Yes, sir.
Sargeant, you have your orders.
Take Toni to the boarding school,
then report to my father's office.
Yes, sir.
I don't suppose I could start
school tomorrow?
You start today.
But you will come to see me.
Of course I will.
No, no, I won't leave you.
Take me with you.
No, Toni, no.
Sargeant, don't just stand there,
do something.
Attention, Toni, what's all this?
Thank you.
You better take her away before
she causes a riot.
I hope I'm not interrupting anything.
Ren, good to see you.
You know, that's just Toni.
She's the old Sargeant's granddaughter
and a perpetual nuisance.
Oh, no, no!
Come here. What are you doing?
In a way, that little Toni was the inspiration
for the greatest project ever concieved
by the mind of man.
I suppose I'm in for one of
your orations.
Eugenie. Did you give her my message?
Well, no. You see...
I couldn't.
The dispatch was rather late
in arriving and...
when I called on her she was out.
Fire away, my friend. I'm all ears
for news of this canal of yours.
Good heavens!
All I need to start operations
is the necessary money.
I see. And how do you expect to raise it?
The Bank of France will
float a loan to raise part of it
and the rest will be raised
by the sale of shares to the public.
In fact, you will be one of the first buyers.
Who me? Oh, no.
I'm just a poor politician.
I've been told there's no such thing
as a poor politician.
Well, it's the first time in my life that
I've ever known a fortune teller to be right.
And you would try and dig the biggest
ditch in all history.
It's been kept out of the papers.
I was hoping you already knew.
Yes, I'm afraid Eugenie also
takes her fortune tellers seriously.
He said she'd wear a crown.
Remarkable fellow, that fortune teller.
The waters of the Red Sea are
30 feet higher
than those of the Mediterranean.
If a canal were cut across the isthmus
it would cause the waters of the Red Sea
to flow into the Mediterranean
flooding every port in Southern Europe.
That is the opinion
of my engineering experts.
But that's absurd.
Any schoolboy knows that open seas
the world over seek the same level.
Are you an engineer?
No. But I claim enough elementary physics
and common sense
to know that the Red Sea couldn't flood
the Mediterranean.
I'm afraid you've allowed your enthusiasm
to flood your sense of discretion.
I'm sorry. I must accept the verdict
of my engineers.
I'm inclined to agree with our
excitable young friend.
But we have more important things
before us.
Why haven't you been to see me?
Would I have been welcome?
But of course.
Old friends are always welcome.
Then you do consider me a friend.
I've been worried about you.
Wondering what you thought.
I wanted to explain...
Is it necessary for old friends to explain?
Do come soon.
I want to hear about all you did in Egypt
and the canal, what progress you're making with it.
Why don't you ask your friend
Louis Napoleon about that?
I'm sorry. Eugenie.
I'll come soon.
Yes. Yes, I...
Eugenie, Eugenie...
Yes, yes, what is it?
You have to dress quickly.
What is it? Is something wrong?
I'm afraid so.
Rioting has broken out all over the city.
The Marquis du Brey is waiting.
Louis Napoleon wants you
at the palace immediately.
Yes, of course, I'll come at once.
Victor, I think you know everybody.
Oh, this is my son.
Mr Victor Hugo.
Messieurs, it's 1848 all over again.
Violence breaking out all over the city.
I repeat, messieurs.
Our duty, as members of the Assembly,
is to stand fast.
It is my firm belief that Louis Napoleon
is deliberately provoking all this disorder
to give him an excuse for demanding
the adjournment of the Assembly.
Don't let's forget that Napoleon's argument
all along
has been that the Assembly's refusing to adjourn
is responsible for this rioting.
You will excuse me, messieurs,
I have work to do.
The poor boy has had a cruel disappointment.
I hope he doesn't take it too hard.
The Contesse de Montijo is here, monsieur.
I had to come.
I need your help.
My help?
Louis feels you can break
this terrible deadlock in the Assembly.
Oh, I see.
I'm sorry, Eugenie.
If there's a crisis,
Napoleon has only himself to blame.
Oh, but it's all so ridiculous.
Louis doesn't want the throne.
All he wants is a strong, orderly government.
What do you think those people
out there are shouting for?
Monsieur Bonapart the President,
or Louis Napoleon the Emperor?
Ferdinand, he's not responsible for every
crackpot in Paris.
Please listen to me.
I know you dislike him and
I don't blame you.
My dislike is political, not personal.
We must forget even
our political differences now.
Ferdinand, come here.
Look at that.
It's going on all over France.
Riots, bloodshed.
There may even be a civil war.
Don't you see?
It's for the good of France.
That's all Louis is thinking of,
believe me.
But I wouldn't know what to do
even if I wanted to help.
I have no political influence.
But your father has.
Convince him that the Assembly
should adjourn.
Then, when order has been restored,
Louis promises to reconvene it
without taking away any of its power.
My father wouldn't hear of it.
I know how he feels about Napoleon.
He doesn't trust him.
Even with his written promise
that he means what he says?
And if even with this you feel
you can't trust him
you know you can trust me.
Your attention, please.
I bring you an offer of compromise
direct from Napoleon.
And what is his offer?
First he asks that the Assembly
adjourn at once.
he gives his solemn promise to reconvene it
as soon as the rioting has been stopped.
But don't you realize what he's asking?
That we throw away our one weapon
our strength of numbers.
He'd never dare invade the Assembly
to arrest us.
But separated, disbanded,
we'd be helpless.
An easy prey.
At the mercy of any charge
he might trump up against us.
But Mr de Lesseps...
His promise, he's given his word.
Word of a Bonapart.
The Bonaparts, whatever their ambitions,
have always been men of honor.
Have we the right to gamble our liberties
on the promise of one man?
And on the scratch of a pen
to hold him to it?
On the contrary, sir.
Father, there's so much at stake.
The peace of France.
Maybe the future of all of us.
When I was coming here just now
I saw rioting
bloodshed in the streets.
Frenchmen lifting their hands
against each other.
No one questions your patriotism, sir.
But I love France too.
And believe me, you can best serve
your country and liberty
by doing what Napoleon asks.
Well, messieurs,
what do you say?
I think we should bring this
before the Assembly at once.
And suppose they refuse
to listen to us?
They'll listen to you, sir.
L'Assemble est ajourne.
L'Assemble est ajourne.
The Assembly is adjourned.
I expect you to have every important
member of the opposition
behind bars before morning.
Except, of course, young Mr de Lesseps.
He will find that his Emperor is great.
Gentlemen, you have your instructions.
Louis, you promised me.
You told me I could promise him.
What have you made me do?
Something for France
that I couldn't do myself.
But they'll blame him.
They'll call him a traitor.
I'm sorry, of course.
But it will be only a temporary
And he shall have his reward.
I intend to give his canal project
my full support.
Oh, no, Louis, you don't understand.
His family and his honor, they mean
so much to him.
In a crisis, the individual is unimportant.
The State is everything.
The State.
France, floundering in the phallacy
of democracy.
its industry idle,
its army weak,
crippled by the poisonous doctrines of the
Republicans and the Socialists,
has called me to save it from anarchy and ruin.
I had to act swiftly, ruthlessly, but act.
If I have used young de Lesseps badly
it was for a great end.
You have used me too, Louis.
What can I possibly say to him?
What will he think?
The opinion of one man should be
a matter of little concern
to the future Empress of France.
I'm sorry, Vicomte, you're
under arrest.
By whose order?
By order of the Emperor.
Why, in the face of this?
Oh, thank you, Vicomte.
I've been looking for that.
But look here, Du Brey,
Napoleon promised me that...
Have no fear, de Lesseps.
Napoleon keeps his promises.
He's most grateful.
I don't know what he's talking about.
So, that's what it was.
I see.
Your canal.
Look here, Ren.
You don't believe that I...
Lackey, I'm ready.
Your father will be proud of you
for this.
Where's my father?
In his room, monsieur.
Sir Malcolm.
A stroke, monsieur.
Sir Malcolm.
Sir Malcolm...
you were my father's best friend.
You must believe me.
Because I was his friend, I will spare you
my opinion of yourself.
A high price to pay...
for a ditch.
Toni. Where are you going?
But, no, no, mademoiselle.
Mr de Lesseps cannot be disturbed
at this hour of the night.
Especially after what has happened.
Perhaps tomorrow.
But mademoiselle, mademoiselle...
Oh, dear,
I'm so sorry.
At least he died thinking it was
a dream.
You mustn't.
Sit down.
It's late.
Try to sleep.
I will tell monsieur that you are here,
Yes, thank you.
He won't see you.
But he must. It's terribly important.
No. I won't let you.
But why?
Who are you?
His friend.
The only one he has left.
How could you do this to him?
First you break his heart,
then you make everybody hate him.
What kind of a woman are you?
Get out. Go away and keep away
from him
Ferdinand, don't listen to her.
No, no.
I didn't know.
I swear I didn't.
Louis promised me
and then he broke his promise.
You do believe me, don't you?
Yes, I believe you,
if it makes any difference.
It does, of course it does.
You see...
I have a message for you.
He wants to make amends.
Can he bring my father back to life?
Will he tell Paris the truth
and clear our name?
He can't. You see, it might...
It might show the savior of France
in a rather bad light.
Now, will you go?
Ferdinand, there's one thing
we can do.
There's nothing anyone can do.
Have you forgotten your dream?
The canal?
What about it?
Louis has promised me to withdraw
his objections.
He'll do anything you want.
And suppose I accept.
Then everyone in Paris will be convinced
that what they're already
whispering is true.
That I sold my party, my friends...
and my father's life for a ditch.
Tomorrow they'll hear the truth if I have
to spend the rest of my life in prison.
What do you care what they think
or what they say
as long as you know you did
nothing dishonorable.
I never want to hear of that ditch again
as long as I live.
You're very fond of him, aren't you?
Well, so am I.
And perhaps I know him
a little bit better than you.
He's a dreamer, a creator.
He was put on earth to do
great things.
This mustn't stop.
He owes it to the world and to himself
to go through with his plans.
Oh, my dear...
He believes in you.
Don't let him give up.
You must make him realize that he's got
to go on whatever the cost.
He never will. He's beaten.
No, no, you're wrong.
There's something in him
that'll never let him stop.
It's a fire a greatness that isn't
in you or me.
Oh, keep that lighted.
You can do it.
You've got to do it.
Look. The riot is all over.
Isn't it a beautiful morning?
What can you do?
If you try to make people believe you
it means prison.
To be in prison
these days is a guarantee of honor.
Don't you understand?
I can't go on forever having people
think I'm a traitor, a Judas.
I know you're not.
And you didn't have to tell me.
You're a stubborn little imp,
aren't you?
It's because I believe in you.
This has just arrived
by special messenger, sir.
It looks most important.
I'll read it for you.
I can read very well now.
Te-le... Telegram.
Oh, yes, telegram.
From His Highness...
Said Pacha.
It's your friend.
Go on.
Vice... viceroy.
Muhammad Ali is dead.
Said is Viceroy of Egypt.
He wants to know when I'm coming
to start work on the canal.
You can begin at once.
There is nothing to stop you now.
There's nothing to stop me now.
But I can't do it.
So you can do it.
I thought you were going to do
wonderful thing for the world
as you said.
And the old Viceroy trusted you.
And Said trusted you.
But you don't care anything
about them any more.
Only about your honor and
what people say.
I know you are honorable.
But I want you to be more than that.
I want you to be great.
And when the day comes
I want to stand beside you
and see the ships go through the canal
and know you built it
for all the people in the world.
Our line runs a little East of Sour till we reach
the Ballah Lakes.
Soft sand most of the way.
Send word to Port Said
that we
start digging tomorrow morning.
Mr de Lesseps, we just had news
that the Viceroy
is shipping 20.000 labourers
from Alexandria.
Splendid. My compliments to
Captain le Duc.
And see that housing is prepared
for the men immediately.
Yes, sir.
Mr de Lesseps...
I've just heard that our last consignment
of blasting powder
from Port Said was captured
by Arab raiders.
Have we enough to carry on?
For a little while, sir.
Order another ship from Marseilles.
Yes, sir.
We'll deal with the Arabs when
the Viceroy arrives.
This Arab is no Arab.
He is a Turkish soldier.
But the Sultan promised us
he wouldn't intefere.
No, not openly.
But there are ways of interfering.
When there is trouble,
you can count on me, my friend.
It is good to see my people happy.
You have done much for them.
Much more than giving them work,
you have given them hope.
They know your canal will bring
new life to Egypt.
They have their ruler to thank
for that too.
Letter from Paris, sir.
It's from Toni.
You remember her, Your Highness.
Ah, yes, the little one.
She's been studying her lessons.
Look how her handwriting's improved.
Don't go, Sargeant.
You'll want to hear what's
in here too.
Yes, sir.
I miss you very much.
I hope you miss me too.
The Emperor and Eugenie were...
married last week.
All we girls from the the school
went and stood outside the church.
She loked very beautiful and
the crowd cheered.
I cheered too.
I was so glad she was married.
Give my love to your...
She sends Your Highness her love.
Oh, thank you.
Tell grandfather that I am sending
him a bottle of his...
hair tonic, Sargeant.
They've pardoned all the political prisoners
to celebrate their wedding.
including your friend Latour.
So I celebrated too.
I ran away from school and...
now I'm his secretary.
That little rascal.
He writes things against the Emperor and
we have them printed secretly.
I will send for her at once, sir.
There's no place for her here...
She's in good hands with Ren.
First thing he knows
she'll be writing his pamphlets for him.
She's very fierce, the little one, eh?
Yes. Takes after her grandmother.
The Emperor abandons the Suez Canal!
The Emperor abandons the Suez Canal!
The Emperor abandons the Suez Canal!
Who is it?
I thought it might be the police again.
Do you know what this means?
I was afraid this would happen.
But what does it mean?
It means Louis Napoleon expects trouble
with Prussia over Alsace and Lorraine.
And Bismarck evidently intends
to have them
even if it means war.
You see, my dear,
France needs England's friendship
And England will not stand for the Canal.
But it's Ferdinand's.
He's building the Canal.
Even Napoleon cannot stop him.
You forget that he's an emperor.
With one stroke of the pen
he can cut off
every sou of the Canal's
financial backing.
But he's been working all this time.
They must let him finish it.
They cannot do this.
I won't let them.
I'm afraid there's very little
that you or I
or anyone else can do
when Prussia rattles the saber.
Your Majesty.
The Suez Canal is far too important
to France
and to the world to be used
as just a political pawn.
I urge upon you most earnestly
to reconsider your action.
And let me finish this great project.
And embark upon a war with Prussia
without the support
or at least the neutrality of England?
Why is there any need for war
if Your Majesty
sincerely desires peace?
Peace without honor?
Can I disregard my destiny?
The motto of the Bonaparts is still
Glory for France.
Your Majesty,
the officials have arrived.
I'm sorry, I can give you no more time.
You see?
Week after week to watch ambition
undermine him,
destroy his balance and his judgment.
He wants war, glory.
That's all he thinks of now.
Now I know where it will end.
Finish the Empire.
What will you do if he...
If he loses?
And the Empire falls?
Why, stay with him, of course.
He'll need me then.
You see, Ferdinand,
once I made a choice.
Maybe it was a mistake but...
it was my choice.
And you've made my problem yours.
And failed you.
Yes, Ferdinand, I failed.
But you won't.
You'll win.
Not through Louis' help or mine...
but through your on efforts.
I don't know how, but...
somehow you'll do it.
Do you have so much faith in me?
Why, I've never lost it.
And I never will.
Goodbye, Ferdinand.
Always when I need you.
I almost didn't know you.
Is that a compliment?
You're lovely.
That's the first time you ever told me.
Oh, I brought a friend of yours.
So you see...
I've found my niches of pamphleteer
for democracy.
True, I haven't as great a reading public
as Rousseau had, but
I manage. And Toni here
has been a tremendous help.
Except with the spelling.
You know, she edits everything I write.
If I didn't, you'd go back to prison.
But from now on...
we're going to be together
the three of us, hm?
Where you go, we'll go.
I'm leaving for England tomorrow.
England? Well, don't you think first
a long rest...
You are going to stay right here
and let Ren and me take care of you.
The only thing that stands in my way now
is the English government.
My one chance is to go there
before it's too late.
Explain it to them.
Break down their opposition.
I must go there at once
and try to see the Prime Minister.
I'm sorry, Mr de Lesseps.
I cannot support a project that is
clearly opposed
to the best interests of England.
But I assure you it will be
of the greatest benefit to England.
Many of your own countrymen
are convinced of this.
Men of vision who can see beyond
mere national boundaries.
I disagree with you, sir, completely.
In fact, at this very time,
we are debating in Parliament
this insane policy
of reckless expansion for England.
Englishmen should keep their eyes on their own boundaries
not gaze moonstruck on foreign shores
and fly-by-night foreign schemes
like yours.
I'm sorry, Mr de Lesseps.
I bid you good afternoon, sir.
The conduct of our colonial policy
has been criticized by those
who have placed
the welfare and safety of our colonies
above the welfare and safety of England
They would risk their heads
to save their limbs.
Our first duty is to the mother country.
I would not trade the meanest
English county
for all our colonial possessions.
The path of headlong expansion
is the path to disaster.
Mr Speaker, sir.
You have just heard the Prime Minister
most ably and eloquently
urge your support
of the government's colonial policy.
To his noble bellow
I wish to add my own small voice.
The Prime Minister has not always
enjoyed my support, no.
In fact, there have been times when
I've been forced
to to take issue with him.
Who is that?
It's the leader of opposition.
Mr Disraeli.
But now, strangely enough,
I find myself pleading his cause.
What's he up to?
Some trickery, I wager.
By all means support this policy.
By all means rally round
the Prime Minister.
By all means follow cheerfully
and unquestioningly his leadership.
All of you.
Who are as anxious as he
to see England reduced
to the standing of a third-rate power.
Mr Disraeli's carriage.
Mr Disraeli, I must speak to you.
It's very important.
And who are you?
Ferdinand de Lesseps.
Pray get in.
The greatest danger is in delay.
I had a message this morning from
Said Pacha, the Viceroy.
The desert works fast.
Unless we can get our dredges going
within the next few months
all the years of work,
all the millions we've spent
wil be a total loss to us.
To say nothing of a far greater loss
to the world.
And why have you come to me?
Because England needs the Suez Canal.
Because soon you're going to have
a general election
but above all,
because you represent progressive and
intelligent English opinion.
And think what my enemies will say.
Dizzy, the internationalist.
Dizzy, the poseur.
Dizzy, the foreigner, as they say...
conspiring with a Frenchman
in some evil-smelling foreign plot
to undermine British institutions.
Then you will do it.
Of course I'll do it.
You've brought me a whiff of hope,
Frankly my party's been the underdog
in this election.
We haven't expected to get
a majority in the House.
But I feel you've given me
an issue here
which dramatizes my whole stand.
Strikes at the very heart
of the government's do-nothing,
thumb-twiddling policy.
They see an England that stretches
only from Land's End to John o'Groats,
from Wales to Norfolk
A tiny island off the coast of France.
I see an England flung around
the globe.
And you, a Frenchman,
are doing the work
England should be doing
to help create this greater England.
Monsieur, if you're willing to take
a sporting chance
go back to Egypt
keep up your work,
at least try and save
what you've already done.
Raise the money somehow.
I give you my solemn promise
that if my party is returned
at this election
I'll do everything in my power
to place England on your side.
Come, let's have some supper.
Four million piastras, Your Highness.
Your Highness, isn't this the Kompor ruby?
It was given my father by the Sultan
for defeating the Wahabi in the Arabian Campaign.
But isn't it enough for you
to empty your treasury?
I know how much these heirlooms
mean to you.
I wish you wouldn't, Said.
Oh, no, my friend.
Have you forgotten that sand
is filling the Canal?
The banks falling in?
Machinery rusting?
This is but a stone.
Yet, with it, I can buy a great future
for my country.
Your bids have been dear.
thirty-two... thirty-three...
Four games in a row.
You're too easy.
You're too good.
Come take my place.
Give her a good beating.
With pleasure.
There is something on your mind?
We can't hold out much longer.
Even this way.
Not making any actual progress
but just keeping what we've
already got.
Fighting back the desert.
And I don't whether I could even
have done that without my
guide, philosopher and friend.
Have I been a good secretary?
You've been a good angel.
But I've been worried about you,
I've been so selfish,
letting you come down here...
Oh, but I wanted to.
Yes, I know.
But you should be thinking about
your own life.
Your future.
Your best years are before you.
Marriage, children...
All the things that belong to a happy,
normal life.
Not tying yourself down to a lunatic
with a visionary idea.
It's all right.
Maybe I'd rather lunatic with you.
even if you don't want me
in any other way.
Toni, listen to me.
You have enough troubles without
me being one too.
Let's forget about it, hm?
It's quiet, isn't it?
Unnaturally quiet.
As though the whole world
were standing still.
Listening, waiting for something
to happen.
Ibises from the Nile.
I don't believe I've ever seen them
so far from home.
I have.
Years ago in Alexandria.
The year of the Devil Wind.
What's the matter with you?
Those were only the jackals.
Come on.
What's that?
Ren, go cut the animals loose.
It's our best chance.
Sargeant, go down to the encampment
and get the men out.
Get ropes, brace the dredges,
Yes, sir.
Come on, Toni.
We'll get the women to a place
that's safe.
Get the women out and place them
into the food cellars.
Get the men away from the tanks.
Come with me.
We found her.
It was in the line of duty, sir.
(In Arabic)
Have you any orders for the men?
Just tell them to go home.
The work's finished.
I thought I was doing
such a great thing for the world.
And what have I done?
Destroyed everything I've touched.
Now Toni's gone.
For what?
For what?
The old Viceroy was right.
If God had wanted a path through
the isthmus
He would have put one there.
Goodbye, Toni.
Westminster and the City
are with us.
The rest will follow.
We've had reports from everywhere
but the Midlands, Mr Disraeli.
You cannot see poor towns easily
But I'm afraid when the returns
from Nottingham and Birmingham come in...
Yes, I'm afraid you're right.
the present government have temporarily
averted the danger
of England taking over
the leadreship of the world.
It's no use crying.
There will be other elections.
I'm sorry for that poor Frenchman.
I hear he's bankrupted himself.
As well as the Viceroy of Egypt.
Counting on us to win.
Send Peterson to me, will you?
I want him to send a telegram.
Yes, Mr Disraeli.
Come in.
Lord Bainsford, sir.
Good evening.
Mr Disraeli, I have the honor to inform you
that Her Majesty the Queen
extends her congratulations on your party's
victory in the election.
May I add my own congratulations, sir?
Thank you, Lord Bainsford.
Would you inform Her Majesty
that the first thing I shall do
is to put her into business
as senior partner in the firm of
Victoria, de Lesseps & Company.
We are building a shorter route
to Her Majesty's Eastern Empire.
A distinguished service to France
and to the world.
You've won.
Yes, I've won
and lost everything I'd learned
to hold dear.
Perhaps that's the price
one pays for fame.
And when the day comes...
I want to stand beside you
and see the ships go through the canal.
I'll know you built it
for all the people in the world.