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Cool linking footnotes!

I'm in a rush but will say more later.


Thanks, I'm still tinkering with a blog-specific system. Looking forward to your thoughts on the film.


Beutiful as always. Is this going to be your entry for the 1927 Blog-A-Thon, or will you be covering something else?


Thanks, S. Originally I was going to do a two-part Napoléon post with the second being my contribution to the upcoming 'Thon. But I have a different topic in mind now and I'm outlining it as I type as a matter of fact. How's your own entry coming along?


Thom, I actually haven't seen this film so I don't really have much to say about it.

I do remember when I first heard of it. I was in middle school, and the Zoetrope version was in theatres. A fellow in my church youth group told me about this four-hour silent film on Napoleon he'd just seen, and tried to imitate the way silent actors blinked and moved their lips with no sound coming out. I didn't believe him about the length, though. Four hours? The guy must be exaggerating. I'd never heard of such a long movie before. This was long before I saw Lagaan, and even longer before I saw Satantango (the latter was last weekend).

Eventually I learned about Gance (though I still haven't seen a single one of his films) and realized my old pal hadn't been joking about four hours.

Somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea, which you allude to, that watching this particular film anywhere but in a theatre would not really be doing justice to Gance's vision. So I've patiently waited. I know there are serious rights issues to wrangle over, but hopefully one of these days some version of the film (I'm rooting for, though not demanding, Brownlow's reconstruction) will play town.

Anyway, I'm glad you tackled this as your 1927 topic A. I'm excited to learn what topic B will be.

PS if you haven't checked it out already, I recommend Orphans of the Storm as the most truly thrilling of D.W. Griffith's epics, at least those I've seen. Particularly the last third or so of the film.


1.) Well I was hoping to do something different for the 1927 Blog-A-Thon, but sadly, my favorite videostore doesn't have any vintage erotic film/porn from 1927! I guess I'll do Wings officially, but the post will include a link to a 1927 editorial I wrote I few months back, about talkies killing careers.

2.) I'll agree with Brian that Orphans of the Storm is pretty dramatic. There is one scene where I was struck with a genuine hopelessness for the blind character near the point of tears. Certainly worth a look-see.

3.) As for 1928 I don't envy your selection! Just off the top of my own list, you've got The Crowd, The Passion of Joan of Arc (which I saw at a church with a live choir and organist - awesome), and two of my favorite silents, Storm Over Asia and The Circus.


Brian - I think you're making a smart decision waiting to see this in a theater because my small screen experience did not do justice to the encyclopedia of cinematographic experiementation in the movie (handheld camera, multiexposures, rapid rhythmic montage while the revolutionaries learn to sing a new anthem, polyvision that splits the screen into nine separate images at times, etc.; it seems like every scene provides Gance and co. another reason to experiment). According to Brownlow, the tinted and toned restoration he did with BFI in 2000 is five and a half hours long! If that ever gets a screening anywhere within driving distance, I'm there.


Squish - looking forward to your take on Wings. I haven't seen it yet but between aerial combat and Bow's gorgeous eyes it could be a pip. Were you able find it on DVD? I haven't had any luck finding that one.

I'll put Orphans of the Storm in the queue (thanks for the recommendation, guys).


That's right, Wings hasn't been released on DVD yet, has it?

Well my favorite videostore has it, and so does my second favorite...it won't be a problem for me.


Just wanted to add a link to a cue sheet from Napoléon. It's from a fascinating and well-researched web page about photoplay music from the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

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