Bonaparte And The Revolution
Abel Gance's impressive 1971 sound edition of his epic Napolean Bonapart, which contains much of the silent original, with new material shot and added in both 1965 and 1971, and with sound synchronization from both the 1932 reissue and the 1971 version. On the occasion of a recent showing in Boston, The Real Paper film critic Gerald Peary wrote:
“...the best movie (now playing) in Boston... the most visionary in film technique.... Goethe wrote ‘Faust II' at age eighty; all of his adult life now-octogenarian Gance has been whittling away and improving Bonaparte, one of the landmarks in the history of cinema... Gance himself acts in the 1925 Bonaparte release as a handsome St.Just; he delivers a key defense of the French Revolution cut into the 1930s talking version, and he comes back as a lively older man to introduce the 1971 print, coproduced with Claude Lelouch, one of Gance's many ‘New Wave' admirers.
“Among its thousand delights, Bonaparte features a half-toothless Antonin Artaud... as encrazed Marat. But Napoleon (Albert Dieudonne) is the hero... and for politically moderate Gance, the true heir of the Revolution, saving it from the bloody and excessive ‘reactionary right and left.' He is a long-haired hippy type... never puts his hand under his waistcoat, and rides the range, pursued by Corsicans, like a French El Zorro. Bonaparte and the Revolution is a film not to be missed, putting D.W.Griffith out to pasture.”