La Marche de l’Empereur

Yesterday I put up a post with awesome pictures of emperor penguins, the subject of the wonderful movie “March of the Penguins.”  The film was originally a French nature documentary released in 2005 and called “La Marche de l’Empereur” (“March of the Emperor”). Courtesy of alert reader Andrew Berry, you can see a very clever advertisement for the film broadcast by the French television channel Canal +:


  1. gbjames
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    lol. A fine chuckle with which to begin the week.

  2. Posted March 4, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I remember this one well, but in general, TV ads on French TV are fabulous.

  3. Occam
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The American distribution version was classically narrated by a single off-voice, Morgan Freeman, as noted in several comments on the Penguins thread. It also had a new, conventional soundtrack by Alex Wurman.

    The original soundtrack, by Émilie Simon, was far more dashing in its Björk-like intonations. The instrumental parts made creatively Antarctic use of the celesta-glockenspiel, the vibraphone, and the ondes Martenot, played by one of the world’s foremost virtuosi on that rare instrument, Thomas Bloch. The American public was denied a musical treat on that count. (I must declare a personal interest here, as I happened, when we were both very young, to work as a recording engineer for a radio feature about Bloch and his instruments: ondes Martenot, cristal Baschet, and the ur-American glass harmonica.)

    The French original featured a different dramaturgy, with the voices of Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer, and Jules Sitruk. Quite a different register from Morgan Freeman.

    Regarding the splenetic eructations of Peter Hitchens against A C Grayling in particular and reason in general, I already noted his unforgivable jab against “Scandinavian TV crime series”.
    Remarkably, there is a connection to the Penguins: the Danish off-voice for “La Marche de l’Empereur” was Sofie Gråbøl (“Sarah Lund”), while the Swedish voice was that of Gösta Ekman Jr. (“Martin Beck” in the pre-Peter Haber days, and of course a scion of a splendid theatrical dynasty).
    So, at least, Peter Hitchens appears consistent in his dislike of the good and the beautiful.

  4. Posted March 4, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Thank you. I had a great laugh!

  5. TJR
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    See also loads of great Penguin stuff in the Attenborough mid-90s series Life In The Freezer and more recently Planet Earth.

    • TJR
      Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      I meant Frozen Planet, not Planet Earth, of course.

  6. pktom64
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Canal+ can make some great ads, like “The closet” with English subs:

    And this one, “Versailles”, without any subs but they’re not really needed to understand:

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    zOMG! [Ma foi!] I am sitting here laughing at my desk.

    I am just finishing a reading arc on the Empire. When I saw the title I thought, ‘Jerry’s listening to the music of the Empire?” Then I saw the post text, and thought, ‘Oh, penguins’. Then the video loaded, and I was like, ‘LOL WUT!?’

    I don’t think I will ever be able to think of Bonaparte or Emperor Penguins the same way again.

    And now, because this has jarred my perception, I need to go make sure Spielberg’s just announced Napoleon project isn’t a Dreamworks animated movie about penguins.

  8. Allen
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    A foreign movie that doesn’t lose anything in the translation. Very funny. My Monday needed that.

  9. lanceleuven
    Posted March 4, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    It reminds me of the Stewart Lee joke. In response to christians celebrating the film as demonstrating penguins to be paragons of christian virtue he considered calling his new show ‘March of the Mallards’. This was on account of the fact that mallards are the only species known to mate exclusively by gang rape* and the only species known to have been filmed performing homosexual necrophilia.

    *Although I couldn’t help thinking that surely this can’t be true because otherwise they wouldn’t display sexual dimorphism? Or am I wrong?

%d bloggers like this: