After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love and personal pleasure to immerse himself in scientific research, seeking a machine to... See full summary »
The science fiction film "Kosmicheskii Reis" was first shown in Soviet theaters in January 1936. Soviet cinematographers created a progressively realistic image of a journey to the moon in ... See full summary »
A re-edited version of Abel Gance's silent masterpiece 'Napoleon (1927 )', with sound effects added, dialogue post-dubbed by actors over the lip movements of the original actors, and with ... See full summary »
In pre-World Ward I in Paris, a budding artist, Pierre LeBlanc, falls in love and marries Janine, a dressmaker's assistant. Pierre has a flair for designing clothes, and he and his bride ... See full summary »
Laura is a nurse at the Front in World War I. She meets and falls for a young flyer named Geoffrey. On his first mission, Geoffrey is shot down and taken to the hospital where Laura works. ... See full summary »
It was the beginning of the talkies.Whereas lots of his colleagues were heading for the stage production style,Abel Gance tried his hand at the disaster movie."End of the world" no less.The screenplay was co-written with astronomer Camille Flammarion,author of an "Astronomie Populaire" which I own in my library.
A giant comet is to collide with our good old Earth,our days are numbered.Two brothers ,a poet (Gance himself) and his brother (Victor Francen) think that this catastrophe could help men to become brothers and put an end to war.
Alas!Gance was not really up to it.The playing is histrionic ,and Gance's ,Francen's and Colette Darfeuil's performances are so dismal it's impossible to take the story seriously.Besides,the special effects -of course ,it was 1930,and Gance had not Lang's budget for "Metropolis" - make the film sometimes look like "Plan nine outer space" Ed Wood's immortal work.The story is patchy ,inconsistent and difficult to catch up with .
But, like in every Gance movie,there are good things and it is to these that any review of the movie must address itself.The first sequence is mind-boggling,so stunning we know it will be hard to continue in that vein: it depicts the crucifixion and we really think we're in Jesus's time .Then a tracking out reveals us it's only a stage performance.The connection with the movie escapes me a bit -unless it represents the eternal evil of man- but it's so unexpected all we have to do is admire.The final scenes are relatively impressive:some of them were used again in the highly superior "J'accuse" (1938)cause Gance as it was often the case in his long career ,was running out of money.While the disaster is impending,some take refuge in prayers whereas the others give them over to huge orgies,which Gance depicts in lavish detail.
Both "La Fin Du Monde" and "J'accuse" feature similar ending .Victor Francen declares the war over and announces the "Universal Republic" for the survivors in the former,and the Universal States General are summoned in the latter.
Many Gance works were despised by critics bUT I must say that he took more chances than Godard and co in his life time,and even if his first and his last talkies ("Cyrano et D'Artagnan,1963) are looked upon by pretty much as failures,they were glorious failed attempts.I wish we had an Abel Gance in 2006!
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