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 »
Before World War 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 »
While mainland Britain shivers in deepest winter, the northern island of Fara bakes in the nineties. The boys at the Met station have no more idea what is going on than the regulars at the ... See full summary »
During a hunt for a ferocious tiger terrorizing an Indian village,ex-army Major Harry Black comes across his former wife Chris and her new husband, Desmond Tanner, who met Black in a German POW camp in WW2.
My generation knows the 1960 version starring Jean Marais directed by Pierre Gaspard-Huit.That version was closer to Gautier's plot:for instance,it's Vallombreuse who's seriously injured in the final duel ,and it's the duke's father who reveals the secret of Isabelle's birth.But it's minor quibble:Abel Gance's version is extremely superior to Gaspard-Huit's.
Gance warned us "it's "le Capitaine Fracasse" seen through Abel Gance's eyes.Abel Gance ,a director who always was a pioneer .He used models for the film sets and it shows: the old castle and its silhouette recalls a Disney Cartoon.There are elements which have not worn well,but some scenes remain impressive today:
-The Matamore's death -only a grave on the road in the 1960 version- is given a gloomy eerie treatment.
-The duel in the graveyard where Gance uses Alexandrians :he would repeat the process in "Cyrano et d'Artagnan" (1963) ,all the lines of which are in verse;it perfectly segues into the scene on stage where the comedians are playing Corneille's "l'Illusion Comique"
-The final scene which verges on fantasy.
Gaspard-Huit's movie was made "for the family" .Gance displays a much more demanding talent:he insists on the fact that if you were a comedian in those years,you were bound to be damned.When the troupe asks the baron for refuge ,his servant mumbles :"they are just heathens!";when the nobles go a hunting in the woods and meet them ,they say :"they are excommunicated!" .The Matamore will not have a priest to pray over his grave.Even the great Molière (1622-1673) did not have a church funeral.
Abel Gance was the true "researcher" of the French cinema.Godard,you can forget it!
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