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According to a Variety news item, Napoleon and Samantha originally was slated as a two-part television film, but due to the participation of Michael Douglas, the studio decided to release it theatrically. Napoleon and Samantha marked the feature film debut of Jodie Foster (1962-), who previously had been a child model and TV actress. Foster also appeared in M-G-M's production Kansas City Bomber, which was filmed just before Napoleon and Samantha, but released after, in August 1972. Modern sources indicate that Foster suffered an attack from one of the lions on the set during filming. Johnny Whitaker and Foster were teamed again in the 1973 Walt Disney production Tom Sawyer (see below). Napoleon and Samantha was shot on location in central Oregon. Buddy Baker received an Academy Award nomination for the film's music score.