Dir|Writer|Prod: Abel Gance | Music: Carl Davis, Carmine Coppola, Arthur Honegger | Silent | 330min
One of the highlights of silent film is the digitally restored version of Abel Gance’s cinematic triumph NAPOLÉON. This magnificent film is enhanced by Carl Davis’ rousing score and technical touches to reveal the original tinting that make it feel edgy and contemporary enough for modern audiences as it approaches it centenary.
It portrays the early life of the legendary French soldier who was go on to make his mark in world for centuries to come. In opening scenes Napoleon Bonaparte is seen playing with his school friends in the snow, already asserting his powers of leadership in an impressive performance by Vladimir Roudenko. Albert Dieudonnéthen plays the adult Napoleon as he forges ahead with a successful military campaign in Italy.
Running at over 5.5 hours, this is an absorbing and thrilling experience blending melodrama with moving musical interludes and combining intimate domestic scenes with full scale widescreen historical recreations that offer insight into the French Revolution and Italian campaigns of 1796. MT
Digitally restored by Photoplay Productions and the BFI National Archive, with a newly-recorded score, composed and conducted by Carl Davis, Napoleon (1927) comes to UK cinemas, DVD/Blu-ray and BFI Player from November 2016.