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[i]Cinque Heures a Napoleon. Oui ou Non?[/i]


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Alright.

 

With a show of hands who would choose to sit through five hours of a French Silent FIlm (Three Intermissions) presented with a full Symphonic Orchestra playing a newly commissioned score live?

 

Napoleon1927_FREN

(Original French Lithograph Film Poster)

 

http://www.tcm.com/this-month/movie-news.html?id=467865&name=San-Francisco-Silent-Film-Festival-Presents-Abel-Gance-s-Napoleon&banner=4

 

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival has named Turner Classic Movies (TCM) as Official Media Sponsor of Abel Gance's silent masterpiece NAPOLEON, to be presented in four special screenings at Oakland's Paramount Theatre on March 24, 25 and 31 and April 1, 2012.

 

The screenings, presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in association with American Zoetrope, The Film Preserve, Photoplay Productions, and the BFI, mark the U.S. premiere of the complete restoration by legendary film historian Kevin Brownlow and the BFI, as well as the American premiere of the orchestral score by Carl Davis, who will conduct The Oakland East Bay Symphony - the first time in nearly 30 years since NAPOLEON has been screened in America with full orchestra. No other U.S. screenings are planned.

 

Napoleon1927_29_FREN

(Original 1929 French "Rural" Theater Tour Film Poster)

 

For as intriguing, and exciting and rare as this screening sounds, there's no way I could do it. I just wouldn't have the mental stamina to get through a silent film of that length.

 

The Abel Gance films TCM presented a few years back didn't move me either.

 

How about you?

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> With a show of hands who would choose to sit through five hours of a French Silent film (Three Intermissions) presented with a full Symphonic Orchestra playing a newly commissioned score live?

 

Chief,

 

See me raising my hand! I've had my tix for the first screening since last July and am really looking forward to it. I hear the Paramount Theater in Oakland (where the screening is) is a wonderful old movie palace. I've got friends going to the screening as well so the intermissions and dinner break should be fun!

 

I saw *Napoleon* back in the early 1980s when it was shown at the Shrine with a live orchestra. It blew me away and with the addition of Kevin Brownlow introducing the film and Carl Davis, who wrote the new score, leading the orchestra, this should be even more awesome.

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Can't get enough of this film. Saw it at Radio City with Carmine Coppola leading the orchestra, then in London. I actually prefer Coppola's score to that of Carl Davis, but I want to see every bit of footage extant of this incredible film, so I'll take what I can get. Hope it will come to NYC.

 

 

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I too, saw it here in Detroit with Coppola directing the orchestra. Haven't heard the new score yet. Fascinating filmwork. More fascinating is the Kevin Brownlow book telling the story of both the making of this film, and his many years search for all the missing footage of it to put it back together. All from coming across a couple of reels found at a flea market when he was a kid!

Sepiatone

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It sounds like it would be quite an event. I like Carl Davis' scores for other silents films, so I would think this score should be quite good. While five hours is a bit long (whether it's sound or silent), it would be interesting to be able to experience NAPOLEON in a way similar to what audiences in 1927 would have.

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I saw this film in a big old theater in San Francisco in the 1970s when Coppola had his American Zoetrope company there and was preparing this film for national distribution. I'm not sure but it might have been the first theatrical showing with an audience.

 

It was so long, it had two intermission breaks. Coppola had arranged to set up two additional 35 mm projectors at the top right and left of the balcony, for the last reel, and two additional screens had been added to the right and left of the main old screen. The score was played on a very large old Wurlitzer organ that had to be refurbished for the project.

 

The three images weren't this closely matched up when I first saw it, but this shows the basic effect:

 

Napoleon_4-500.jpg

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Well, you all are a hardy lot. Your fortitude amazes me - as does the number of members here that saw the film during its first restoration tour in the '80s. Back then it was a four-hour film presentation. Today, it is (actually) a five and a half hours.

 

As the weekend approaches, there will be many articles written about the event and expect to read many of them. I'll be interested in learning how many people from around the country (continent?) travel to the Bay Area to attend this unique presentation. I am sure it will be a significant number.

 

But for me, to sit through all five+ hours would leave me feeling like I had been exiled to Elba.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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Interesting topic for a thread -- actors who played Napoleon Bonaparte. Rollo Lloyd in Anthony Adverse is another. But there are probably hundreds. But Albert Dieudonne in the Gance film would have to come at or near the top of the list. That film may be silent, but it sings!

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> *hlywdkjk* said:

> For as intriguing, and exciting and rare as this screening sounds, there's no way I could do it. I just wouldn't have the mental stamina to get through a silent film of that length.

>

>

>

> The Abel Gance films TCM presented a few years back didn't move me either.

>

>

>

> How about you?

Seeing *Napoleon* in an immense, beautifully restored theater like the Paramount with a live orchestra IS a major event which doesn't come around too often.

 

I saw it eons ago in L.A. with Carmine Coppola conducting and when Fin flashed on the screen and the crowd began to exit, everyone was very energized ! -- LOTS of noisy discussions about the film and a number of people checking their watches to confirm it really had lasted a full five hours even though it only felt like two, maybe three.

 

All these years later, I vividly recall the pillow fight in the first third for which Gance supposedly wound up heaving a 35mm camera around the set before he captured the precise visual chaos.

 

And the climactic triptych montage was really magnificent -- most of our audience of around a thousand people were on their feet and cheering by its conclusion.

 

But then, considering that when his films ran on TCM you did "take a chance on Gance," maybe he's just not your tasse de thé ...

 

Fortunately, the brave men & women who stormed Le Bastille Cineplex Quatorze in 1789 -- and paid, like, 20 centimes for a medium-sized Diet Coke that was mostly ice ? -- they insured that moviegoing today is the ultimate expression of *Liberté ! Égalité ! No Freakin' Way !*

 

Meaning: if you DO decide to go and don't like it, you can always split. And even if it's a pricey ticket, that may help extend your endurance until you're "swept up in the magique" ... although it could just prolong the torture and make you regret going even more ... (On the other hand, I have four fingers and a thumb.)

 

What*ever* you decide, thanks for the great topic and especially the beautiful posters.

 

 

 

................Napoleon_Comp_v1A-1-1.jpg

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The Carl Davis score for Abel Gance NAPOLEON is not exactly new guys, it was written for the most part and first recorded in 1983. Originally for live screenings and later for Thames Television The Silents Series. I have a copy of the 1984 Broadcast. I do not have a copy of the expanded 2001 Broadcast. There are still some scenes that are missing. This is probably the most complete that it will ever be Truly a Masterpiece of movie making. Hope this event inspires a long overdue DVD release.

 

Maybe I should not say this, but there is a clip in my videos on TCM CFU from NAPOLEON with the Davis score I uploaded well over a year ago. Kevin Browlow's honorary Oscar of last year has thus far not lead to anymore of his Photoplay Productions restorations being released on DVD or Blu-ray. And in-fact, just the opposite, Some of the stuff that had been previously available has actually gone out of print. Such as the Davis scored versions THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and IT for example. Rather disappointing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHOTO_16022267_66470_8093159_ap.jpg

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The version I saw back in the mid-1970s in San Francisco was a preview version. There was a long newspaper article about it, and it said Coppola was in the process of restoring the film and preparing it for some kind of national distribution, and the showing in SF was supposed to be the first time it was shown to the public so Coppola could get the first large-audience reaction in a large full-sized theater.

 

If I recall correctly, it was about 5-1/2 hours long. I took a paper bag of sandwiches with me for dinner. During the two intermissions I went to the lobby to get a coke, and I had dinner while watching the movie. The score was all organ music, but I don't remember if the score was new or the old original. It was live music from a large pipe organ and the sound was quite spectacular. Le Marseillais was the main theme during the battle sequences, and especially during the last 3-screen reel. The audience was a big anti-war crowd for that era in San Francisco, but there was a lot of cheering during some of the battle scenes, but of course they were cheering the movie, not the war.

 

It's funny that all I can remember about the film are some of the battle scenes, several scenes of a flying eagle, and a big snowball fight.

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It's a remarkable film, one that would likely suffer in it's cinematic effect by being watched at home on a small screen. With it's novel three screen projection, it is a theatrical experience through and through. One other concern I would have is that the historical events and personages depicted are obscure to most American viewers.

 

Gance was quite the fanatic. I read that several extras were killed during the filming of the scenes on horses. Gance said that he was happy that the "boys" are putting their hearts in their work!

 

*"Impossible is not French!"* A great line to deploy when you aren't getting cooperation or good service in Paris!

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> "Impossible is not French!" A great line to deploy when you aren't getting cooperation or good service in Paris!

 

I've had Frenchmen call me a savage because I only took half an hour for lunch. Hell, Ms. Barham, the only reason the French take two hours for lunch is because the service in their restaurants is lousy. :-)

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}Interesting topic for a thread -- actors who played Napoleon Bonaparte. Rollo Lloyd in Anthony Adverse is another. But there are probably hundreds. But Albert Dieudonne in the Gance film would have to come at or near the top of the list. That film may be silent, but it sings!

 

You may enjoy this:

 

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0027456/

 

Just glancing, I see a couple of actors played him two or more times - Herbert Lom, Emile Drain and Egon von Hagen.

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> You may enjoy this:

>

> http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0027456/

>

>

>

>

>

> Just glancing, I see a couple of actors played him two or more times - Herbert Lom, Emile Drain and Egon von Hagen.

>

Yes, Abel Gance's *Napoléon* I've seen only a few times in me short life - and not for many years.

But it ain't got nuthin' to do with the bicentennial of Napoleon's Invasion of Russia/Retreat from Moscow this year (1812-2012)...

BTW, Herbert Lom played Napoleon in *War and Peace*... And that flick concerns Napoleon's Invasion of Russia, etc...

What other movies are there on this subject?? Besides *The Duellists* with Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine??

 

Edited by: RMeingast on Feb 8, 2012 3:28 PM

 

Edited by: RMeingast on Feb 8, 2012 3:28 PM

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Hey, Fred -

 

From the TCM article linked to in the OP -

The SFSFF's spectacular presentation at the 3,000-seat, Art Deco Oakland Paramount will be climaxed by its finale in "Polyvision" - an enormous triptych, employing three specially-installed synchronized projectors, that will dramatically expand the screen to triple its width (25 years later, the American process Cinerama would employ a very similar system).

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