7.6/10
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15 user 17 critic

The Wheel (1923)

La roue (original title)
Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (whom Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Ivy Close ...
Norma
...
Elie
Pierre Magnier ...
Jacques de Hersan
Max Maxudian ...
Le minéralogiste Kalatikascopoulos
Georges Térof ...
Machefer
Gil Clary ...
Dalilah (as Mme. Gil-Clary)
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Storyline

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (whom Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally running nine hours, this epic tragedy is notable for the way it foreshadows Gance's later 'Napoleon' in its use of innovative cinematic devices, particularly rapid cutting. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

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Drama

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17 February 1923 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Wheel  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This film was originally released with a running time of 8 hours, 32 minutes. It was edited down to just over 5 hours for general release. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: For we must bear the Cross before the Cross bears us. CLAUDEL
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User Reviews

recommendation
21 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Gance seems overwhelmed by the theme of humanity crushed by incredible suffering, and some of the symbolism may seem heavy-handed, but this film deserves to be listed among the greats for its wonderful cinematography, the strong contrasts between the first parts portrayal of trains and the second parts moving to the beautiful, impassive scenery of the high Alps.

I have always been an admirer of Gance's Napoleon, but his J'accuse turned me off. La Roue has restored my desire to see the others: La fin de monde, Beethoven, and Austerlitz.

As for the suffering, this was made in 1921 in the aftermath of WW I, which is sufficient to account for Gance's obsession with the theme.


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