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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

U3A York Silent Film Group "Napoleon"

Yesterday - what a day. Around a dozen of us gathered in York to watch Abel Gance's silent film of "Napoleon"

In the mid-twenties, Abel Gance filmed part one (of a proposed six part) biography of Napoleon Bonaparte. He spent several years in writing and filming and it was released in 1927. Part one is around six hours long and only covers Napoleon's schooldays in Brienne, the Revolution, his marriage to Josephine and Napoleon's campaign in Italy, up to 1797. Gance had spent approximately 70% of the budget and so did not proceed with parts two to six. We watched the British Film Institutes's restored version on four DVDs which has an excellent orchestral score by Carl Davis and Beethoven.

We started at 09:30 and finished at 16:40, with around 60 minutes for breaks and lunch. I think we were all captivated by this visually stunning film.

Albert Dieudonné as Napoleon

Three camera/screen shot of Napoleon on left looking over the camp of the Army of Italy

Oops - wrong Napoleon

Abel Gance had a role as Saint-Just

Dieudonné on set

Camera team keeping up with the cavalry

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