7.5/10
5,803
56 user 35 critic

Napoleon (1927)

Napoléon vu par Abel Gance (original title)
A film about the French general's youth and early military career.

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4 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vladimir Roudenko ...
Napoléon Bonaparte enfant
...
Maximilien Robespierre
Alexandre Koubitzky ...
Georges-Jacques Danton
...
Jean-Paul Marat
...
Louis Saint-Just
...
Suzanne Bianchetti ...
La reine Marie-Antoinette
Marguerite Gance ...
Charlotte Corday
Yvette Dieudonné ...
Élisa Bonaparte
Philippe Hériat ...
Antonio Salicetti
...
Le général Lazare Hoche
Eugénie Buffet ...
Laetizia Bonaparte
Acho Chakatouny ...
Pozzo di Borgo
Nicolas Koline ...
Tristan Fleuri
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Storyline

A massive six-hour biopic of Napoleon, tracing his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797 (the film stops there because it was intended to be part one of six, but director Abel Gance never raised the money to make the other five). The film's legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story, culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages projected simultaneously on three screens. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Abel Gance's 1927 Masterpiece [reissue]


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

17 February 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abel Gance's Napoleon  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD edition) | (2000 restoration) | (1981 restored) | (cinémathèque française print) | (Blu-Ray digital restoration)

Sound Mix:

(1981 re-release)| |

Color:

| (tinted) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Released on Blu-ray as a longer version than those previously available, running 5 hours and 33 minutes, and using the Carl Davis score, in December 2016. See more »

Goofs

One of the Corsicans in the inn states "Our fatherland is Italy with the Duke of Savoy". The Duchy of Savoy had ceased to exist in 1713 (eighty years earlier), when the Duchy acquired the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Duke then bore the title of the King of Sardinia. Italy was a geographic place not a political entity at this time. See more »

Connections

Featured in Edición Especial Coleccionista: Especial Scope (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thrill of Being In Love (Love Theme of Napoleon and Josephine)
Music by Carmine Coppola
Lyrics by Italia Coppola (USA version)
UK version: score by Carl Davis (based largely on works by Beethoven)
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User Reviews

 
Different versions should be reviewed/scored separately
25 December 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I was one of the thousands who were fortunate enough to see the fullest version of Napoleon at the Royal Festival Hall in early December 2004. As noted in 'alternate versions', this may prove to be the last showing until the second half of the Century (when copyright lapses) of what is so far the definitive version of the film.

It was a truly memorable experience. I had not seen 'Napoleon' for several decades, and that was a shorter version with piano accompaniment ~ though still played at the correct speed. This longer version at the correct speed with The London Philharmonic Orchestra and the RFH organ playing in full volume for the climax was a mind-blowing experience. I have not seen Coppola's 'keystone cops' version, but if the trailer on this website is any guide, with Napoleon strutting in Chaplinesque mode, it seems a travesty of what I saw; More 'Homage to Mack Sennett'.

It is clear that these two versions are radically different. It seems grossly unfair to score and review the two main versions in a single poll as if they were the same. The 95 minute difference in running time is longer than many complete films reviewed on this site ~ such as Bronenosets Potyomkin from the same era. There are clearly enough reports/votes to permit the two versions to be scored separately. I suspect the approval rating of the longer version would be significantly higher than for the Coppola version.

It there is ever another opportunity to see this latest version (or even better, an even fuller version) with the Carl Davis score, I shall do my utmost to seize the opportunity.


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