lørdag 7. juli 2012

"Viva La Emperor"


Year: 1927
Country: France
Language: Silent
Number: 36
Director: Abel Gance
Starring: Albert Dieudonné, Vladimir Roudenko, Gina Manès, Edmond Van Daële
IMDb: 7.8
RT score: 92%

Abel Gance's masterly four hours long silent epic, Napoleon is by many considered to be the greatest biographical film ever made about the great Napoleon Bonaparte. We follow him from his early childhood during the days at the military academy, where the young Napoleon from Corsica is demonstrating his leader skills in a snowball fight, and is from then seen in no other clothes then his uniform, because his destiny is certain. He then gains greater responsibility during the french revolution in Paris where he also falls for the rich and beautiful Josephine who wont marry him because of his rank and class. He is then promoted to general over the Italian army, an army full of exhausted and inexperienced soldiers. There's no expectation of a victory, it is here Napoleon proves them wrong, and light a sparkle inside every soldiers and defeats his enemies.

The films ends here, because there was a plan for a sequel to continue Napoleon's rich and exciting life. But sadly enough, Napoleon was actually not very well received by the audience or the critics and became a flop and Abel Gance's carrier was in ruin, specially when the sound came and he was unable to adapt, but he did anyhow made another Napoleon movie about the battle of Austerlitz, but neither that one become successful. After many short cut versions, Napoleon was finally released in it's full length by film historian Kevin Brownlow and was premiered in 1981. and it's from then considered to be one of the greatest film ever made.

The reason why Napoleon have been considered a masterpiece is because of all the technical achievements this movie has to offer. It's basically contain all the film techniques that was revolutionary at that time it was made, such as fast cutting, majestic close ups, hand held camera shots, multiple exposure and many more. One great example with the fast cutting is during the battle scenes, and specially the battle of Gibraltar, a wonderful, exhilarating chaotic scene, more chaotic that Eisenstein's Odessa scene. And also the cross-cutting scene where we see the chaos in the french parliament while we follow Napoleon's dangerous voyage from Corsica to the main land in a small rowboat battling a great hurricane.

I can only imagine how great it would have been to actually seen this in a theater with an actual orchestra playing in the background, it would have been the most reverence moment in my life. I try not to sound like a bitch when I say that the only problem with this film that it's actually is to long, because there are many part that I thought this movie could be without. But overall I think that watching this film have given a bigger reverence towards Napoleon as the great leader and strategist he was, and what you can achieve if you only work hard for it.

Grade: B+

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1 kommentar:

TSorensen sa...

Truly a grand movie, but alas, too long. In small doses it is much better and I agree, the technical stuff are really good. I particularly like the cross-clipping between the boat and the parliament.