Gance conceived of his film as the first of six episodes which were to cover the entire biography of Bonaparte.This plan did not materialize, partly because of the sheer size of the project, partly because of the comin...展开g of sound which rendered the first installment commercially unsatisfactory. Lupu Pick's Napoleon auf St. Helena (Napoleon on St. Helena, 1929) is widely considered to be the sixth episode of Gance's project. It melodramatically narrates the last years of the fallen emperor who turns away from the remaining followers who accompanied him into exile when he is told that his former wife is expecting a child by another man. It is easy to see that the perspective has changed: Gance's film focused entirely on the young genius who, with his domineering, hypnotizing gaze alone could bring entire armies under his spell. Pick deals only with the aging emperor: 'Nothing else, only this growing old, this waiting for death, this fading away in exile' as one reviewer remarked, who at the same time characterized the film as 'a documentary rendition [...] handed down from history.'
This short account of Pick's film indicates that the German approach to the topic was somewhat different from the French: it was not designed to glorify the war leader but rather to create an 'objective' historical version, which meant that the filmic devices he employed tended to play down the content. 'No etching-like poses, no thrilling visions of war, no falsely imposed heroic epics' wrote Hans Sahl. The film critic of the Neue Berliner Zeitung spoke of the 'impressiveness' Pick achieved by avoiding pathos and heroic gestures: "No reminiscences on battle, no memories of a pompous court.' Rudolf Arnheim praised it as 'Clean, historical painting without nationalistic distortion.