A laundress (Sophia Loren) during the French Revolution befriends a destitute Corporal by the name of Napoleon (Julian Bertheau) and washes and irons his shirts. As he rises to become the Emperor of France, she also rises as the wife of a soldier (Robert Hossein) into the ranks of the aristocracy. But she can't hide her common roots or her outspoken manner. Based on the life of Catherine Hubscher, a laundress who eventually became a Duchess in Napoleon's court, her story has seen many incarnations including a popular 1893 play, an opera and two previous films with Gloria Swanson in 1924 and Arletty in 1941 playing the laundress. This version, directed by Christian Jaque (FANFAN LA TULIPE), is a rather innocuous affair. Fortunately with Loren in the lead, she manages to bring some verve and vivacity to what otherwise might have been a mild concoction. The first part of the film is the best since it dwells on the battles between the revolutionaries and King Louis XVI's armies and there's always something going on while the second part slows down considerably. With Marina Berti and Renaud Mary.