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The Wheel (1923)

La roue (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 17 February 1923 (France)
Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

Director:

Abel Gance

Writer:

Abel Gance
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Cast

Credited cast:
Séverin-Mars ... Sisif
Ivy Close ... Norma
Gabriel de Gravone ... Elie
Pierre Magnier ... Jacques de Hersan
Max Maxudian ... Le minéralogiste Kalatikascopoulos
Georges Térof Georges Térof ... Machefer
Gil Clary Gil Clary ... Dalilah (as Mme. Gil-Clary)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Géo Dugast Géo Dugast ... Le cheminot Jacobin
Edit

Storyline

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

17 February 1923 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wheel See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Films Abel Gance See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gance insisted on authenticity which meant sets were built on location; railroad yards for the first half of the film and on Mount Blanc in the French Alps for the second half, though the decision to shoot in the Alps has been attributed to Ida's (his wife, diagnosed as tuberculosis) need for alpine air. See more »

Goofs

When Sisif is running in front of the locomotive, the first shot has the locomotive numbered 475. In subsequent shots, the number on the loco is 2013. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: [Sisif imagines the Train is talking to him] "I will always be true to you, and when you're feeling sad, I will talk to you of her and you will hear her ethereal melancholy in the song of my wheels, in the everish pounding of my connecting rods, in my smoke-filled sighs."
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released to the public with a running time of just over 5 hours. Later edited down to 2 1/2 hours. . See more »

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User Reviews

 
Heavy-handed
28 October 2010 | by fubared1See all my reviews

Forget all the pedantic pseudo-psychobable and bargain-basement 'philosophy' you may read here. The bottom line is that while this film is extremely well crafted for it's time period, ultimately it is four and a half hours of heavy-handed nonsense. Pure depression from beginning to end. In fact, I too felt like committing suicide after watching it. So why these characters don't just go out and do it themselves is beyond me. Just when you think things couldn't get worse, they do. And there is no humor to lighten the load. At least 'Hamlet' had it's grave digger scene. There is a great deal of poetry in the images, and the overlapping images and quick cutting were unique trademarks of Gance's style for the time. Gance is obviously a master of his craft, one just wishes the film weren't so long, repetitive and heavy-handed in the end. And why are all these men obsessed with Ivy Close? Aside from the fact that she was Gance's wife, one cannot understand the obsession all these men have for her. I guess one had to be living in that time period.


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