Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

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Mr.Mycroft

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostSun Feb 01, 2015 6:51 pm

Ann Harding wrote: He intends to show this new CF version with -of course!- a score made with various pieces from his father Carmine, a patch-up job he will endeavour to do himself.
Basically, we were told that everything Kevin Brownlow has ever done was all wrong. And Carl Davis's score - which Coppola stated he never heard - will be also history.
And BTW the CF intends to make a DVD of this version.


Any specifics of what Brownlow is supposed to have 'done wrong?' I give their view little to no initial credibility but am curious what/where they think it is that he's erred upon.
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FrankFay

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostSun Feb 01, 2015 7:46 pm

Mr.Mycroft wrote:Any specifics of what Brownlow is supposed to have 'done wrong?' I give their view little to no initial credibility but am curious what/where they think it is that he's erred upon.



It will probably boil down to things like Brownlow slightly misplacing a cut by a few frames, or putting something in the wrong sequence- because he had no evidence of the RIGHT sequence. I also suspect that, given the rather poor image of the Cinematheque that Brownlow's book paints, they might wish to be seen as the new saviors of the film.
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Mr.Mycroft

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostSun Feb 01, 2015 8:06 pm

FrankFay wrote:
Mr.Mycroft wrote:Any specifics of what Brownlow is supposed to have 'done wrong?' I give their view little to no initial credibility but am curious what/where they think it is that he's erred upon.



It will probably boil down to things like Brownlow slightly misplacing a cut by a few frames, or putting something in the wrong sequence- because he had no evidence of the RIGHT sequence. I also suspect that, given the rather poor image of the Cinematheque that Brownlow's book paints, they might wish to be seen as the new saviors of the film.


Kind of tough given the triptych story in that book... but then no one remembers anything anymore and Brownlow isn't likely to be around for another 30 years to argue it out. In fact he'd probably rather it be seen than not.

But this whole thing is grotesquely cynical.
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Ann Harding

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostMon Feb 02, 2015 10:16 am

Penfold wrote:
Ann Harding wrote:I am afraid this conversation will soon be history. I was this morning at a conference with the new restorer of Napoleon together with F.F. Coppola at the Cinémathèque française. We were told that all previous restorations are going to be blown away by what the CF is doing. They are going to reconstruct a 6h30 version which is supposed to follow closely the so-called Apollo version. And Coppola was there to give his blessings. He intends to show this new CF version with -of course!- a score made with various pieces from his father Carmine, a patch-up job he will endeavour to do himself.
Basically, we were told that everything Kevin Brownlow has ever done was all wrong. And Carl Davis's score - which Coppola stated he never heard - will be also history.
And BTW the CF intends to make a DVD of this version.


If only the CF had been more.....accurate ??? honest ???......about what Napoleon material they held, for all these years.....and Is it just me, but does anyone else see CF and Coppola as an unholy alliance in this particular case ????

No, you are not the only one. :wink:
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Ann Harding

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostMon Feb 02, 2015 10:25 am

Mr.Mycroft wrote:
Ann Harding wrote: He intends to show this new CF version with -of course!- a score made with various pieces from his father Carmine, a patch-up job he will endeavour to do himself.
Basically, we were told that everything Kevin Brownlow has ever done was all wrong. And Carl Davis's score - which Coppola stated he never heard - will be also history.
And BTW the CF intends to make a DVD of this version.


Any specifics of what Brownlow is supposed to have 'done wrong?' I give their view little to no initial credibility but am curious what/where they think it is that he's erred upon.

Brownlow (like all restorers so far) has mixed elements from the Opera and Apollo versions. The new restorer claims he can differentiate the elements coming from both negatives and select only the Apollo bits. I am dubious he can actually do that for the whole film. We were shown a draft reconstruction of a portion of La Marseillaise and the difference was not huge like having a slightly different camera angle or a slightly longer close-up, etc.
In the end, he will discover that the reconstruction of Napoléon is first of all an editor's job. You have to make the sequence work rather than just put together a puzzle.
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostMon Feb 02, 2015 10:57 am

I'm all for seeing it and more of it, but this does have a whiff of the MOMA restoration of Intolerance that had every last scrap imaginable of film in it… and turned it into a bloody bore, and doesn't get shown around any more.

You have to make a movie that works first.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostMon Feb 02, 2015 11:38 am

>I'm all for seeing it and more of it, but this does have a whiff of the MOMA restoration of Intolerance that had every last scrap imaginable of film in it… and turned it into a bloody bore, and doesn't get shown around any more.<

I thought of that, too, Mike. (The Wife and I were there for the live repremiere at Lincoln Center.)

I think I liked that one a little more than you. But it's true that, "throw everthing in there including the kitchen sink!" may be an interesting scholarly exercise, but is NOT usually the best way to present the film.

Which is what the filmmakers wanted.

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seaquest

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostMon Feb 02, 2015 5:34 pm

In the wake of this news, I have a hard time criticizing the CF restorers, even if some of their claims are rather questionable. I really don't care what score is used as long as we can have a definitive release of the film. I'm too utterly thrilled and thankful to complain! As bitter as I am about Francis Coppola withholding the film rights and CF's rather dubious methods and mudslinging, I'll gladly forgive anything they've done, now that we may finally be getting an accessible version of the film. After seeing a lousy quality 80's version on Youtube three years back, I've been desperately waiting for this moment. Thank God it's finally happening! I've never wanted to see a film so badly....
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostMon Feb 02, 2015 6:54 pm

I sometimes wonder what is supposed to be a definitive version of a film. What did the original producers, directors actually want? It seems to mew that what I have read about "Napoleon", Abel Gance was quite pleased with the version that was put together whilst he was still alive back in the '80's.

I know that there was a version that was cut back to just on 4 hours so as to not incur overtime at Radio City Music Hall - and that this version was put back to the actual running time closer to 5 hours at a fairly recent screening in California.

Whilst I suppose it is good that every skerrick of film is being located - is it really necessary to put each bit into the film? How long can an audience's attention be maintained? Or, on the other hand - is it going to be a case of packing an overnight bag and bringing a mattress to the cinema?
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Harlett O'Dowd

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostTue Feb 03, 2015 9:50 am

Donald Binks wrote:I sometimes wonder what is supposed to be a definitive version of a film. What did the original producers, directors actually want? It seems to mew that what I have read about "Napoleon", Abel Gance was quite pleased with the version that was put together whilst he was still alive back in the '80's.

I know that there was a version that was cut back to just on 4 hours so as to not incur overtime at Radio City Music Hall - and that this version was put back to the actual running time closer to 5 hours at a fairly recent screening in California.

Whilst I suppose it is good that every skerrick of film is being located - is it really necessary to put each bit into the film? How long can an audience's attention be maintained? Or, on the other hand - is it going to be a case of packing an overnight bag and bringing a mattress to the cinema?


I have not seen the current Brownlow cut, so I can't say if it's better or worse than the 1980s version.

What I will say is that, in my experience, most of the restorations that have reinserted material that was cut for non-artistic reasons (time, politics) that the director originally wanted included have worked for me. I find this particularly true in the case of Lang's silents. Some later, less successful films - especially musicals like STAR! and SWEET CHARITY - I have found benefitted over all from *some* of the trims that were done after the fact.
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seaquest

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostTue Feb 03, 2015 2:19 pm

Yes, I suppose it is near impossible to decide what the definitive version should be like. Some have pointed out that Gance gave his approval to the Coppola version shown in the 80's, but of course, Gance cut up the film multiple times himself, adding sound and shooting new scenes, ruining it in the process. His constant re-cutting of the film is one reason it's so difficult to reconstruct the original silent version today. I don't believe he ever felt that a film was finished or perfected, so even he may not be be a reliable source for what the "definitive" version ought to be like. I personally am delighted that more footage will be included. The reconstruction of Gance's "La Roue" runs around four hours, utilizing most every scrap of footage available. The resulting film is outstanding and electrifying. Gance's style is so inventive and exciting, I could easily sit through two more hours of "La Roue". If the newly discovered Napoleon footage isn't included in this version, when else will we ever be able to see it all? Napoleon isn't a film for the uninitiated, so why should we expect a truncated version that would appeal to a more popular taste? Only a very niche group of silent film lovers are going to be watching it anyway. I'm ready to experience the full scope of Gance's original vision!
Last edited by seaquest on Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostTue Feb 03, 2015 6:28 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:More likely it'll be like Metropolis, where the completest extant version is interesting, but the best version is a bit shorter than that.


That is extremely debatable.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 11:18 am

WaverBoy wrote:
Mike Gebert wrote:More likely it'll be like Metropolis, where the completest extant version is interesting, but the best version is a bit shorter than that.


That is extremely debatable.


Indeed. Metropolis was my gateway drug. After having seen the (almost) complete version, I cannot fathom what those who prepared the "paramount" cut were attempting to do. They chose to keep most, if not all, of von Harbou's claptrap about Babel and the heart and the hand (imho, the weakest component) and cut virtually all the popcorn movie action sequences. Maybe someone thought it was ART and needed to excise anything that might be remotely entertaining from it.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 12:17 pm

To clarify my opinion, given three versions of Metropolis-- the German release cut, the preview cut that was restored from the material found in South America, and the US release version-- it's the first one that I find the strongest. The South American material adds a little, but the German release cut is a bit tighter without it. And it's stronger in every way than the US version, which never made much sense to me and made Metropolis mainly worth seeing only for the effects visuals. The German cut works as a movie the best.

You are free to feel otherwise...
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seaquest

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 12:49 pm

Exactly how much new footage is actually being added in comparison to the longest available version? That would help put it into perspective a bit. Also, although this article is from 2012, it gives some nice insight into what the Cinémathèque Française has been doing. I believe it applys to the latest restoration. Corect me if I'm wrong. http://www.cinematheque.fr/uk/museum-an ... oleon.html
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Harlett O'Dowd

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 1:12 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:To clarify my opinion, given three versions of Metropolis-- the German release cut, the preview cut that was restored from the material found in South America, and the US release version-- it's the first one that I find the strongest. The South American material adds a little, but the German release cut is a bit tighter without it. And it's stronger in every way than the US version, which never made much sense to me and made Metropolis mainly worth seeing only for the effects visuals. The German cut works as a movie the best.

You are free to feel otherwise...


Mike, I don't understand what you mean by the three versions.

I understand - in the order I encountered them:

1) the "paramount" cut, which I assume you mean the US release version
2) the 2000 restoration with cards explaining what was cut
3) the "south American" restoration which restores 25 minutes or so, but is still not the complete "preview" version and has a few cards explaining lost material (mostly when the story goes to Hel)
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 1:50 pm

That's them. US=Paramount. The 2000 restoration is substantially what would have been originally released in Germany (and anywhere outside North America, I assume), no? And the South American version is what adds back in everything that was long lost and recently found, which as you note isn't everything, but much closer.

Anyway, to me the first round of 1927-era cuts that removed some kind of extraneous material (that guy getting a spooky message in the cab, for instance) tightened the film to its benefit, further cutting did not.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 2:45 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:That's them. US=Paramount. The 2000 restoration is substantially what would have been originally released in Germany (and anywhere outside North America, I assume), no? And the South American version is what adds back in everything that was long lost and recently found, which as you note isn't everything, but much closer.

Anyway, to me the first round of 1927-era cuts that removed some kind of extraneous material (that guy getting a spooky message in the cab, for instance) tightened the film to its benefit, further cutting did not.


Not South America... Argentina. And it is not a preview but what was exhibited in movie theaters. The only things missing (due to decomposition) are less than five minutes. Adolfo Wilson, who purchased the film for exhibition, bought METROPOLIS before any cuts.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 4:14 pm

Well, I guess Argentina just put Uruguay and Peru in their places! 8)
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 4:51 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:That's them. US=Paramount. The 2000 restoration is substantially what would have been originally released in Germany (and anywhere outside North America, I assume), no?


Just to confuse us all, there was actually a third edit that was exported to England, and on which the Australia and New Zealand release versions were based. Both the original Australian and New Zealand prints are still extant, and have material in them that was unique until the Argentinian print was discovered, including the only known 35mm footage of the Yoshiwara sequence.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Feb 04, 2015 6:12 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Well, I guess Argentina just put Uruguay and Peru in their places! 8)


Fernando also found a few American films in the same package that were lost. Among them is THE CRIMSON CITY, complete but worn, but the film can't be seen due to copyrights and, due to this, it was never shown in public.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostThu Feb 05, 2015 3:16 am

To come back to the main topic, the video of the conference is now available here.
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostThu Feb 12, 2015 6:55 pm

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostMon Feb 23, 2015 4:51 pm

I wanted to satisfy my curiosity so I bought the German DVD set of NAPOLEON issued by StudioCanal and Art Haus, through Amazon.de. The set is nicely boxed using the artwork from the Coppola edition of 1981, and contains a nice booklet that is entirely in German. The heart of the set are the two DVD discs that play on my Dell laptop on the vlc software that came already installed.

Perhaps I've become spoiled by HD quality but the lettering on the main credits was a tad indistinct. However the image quality is quite good but during the snowfight of the opening scene I detected some "ghosting." I thought that was only a problem when PAL was converted to NTSC. I sampled the rest of Disc One to get an impression. I have a suspicion that the VHS edition was merely transferred to disc but perhaps I'm wrong. At any rate, this sole DVD release of Abel Gance's epic is a mixed bag but it will tide me over until - we hope - the new "complete" edition sees the light of day. Here are some screen grabs:

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostTue Feb 24, 2015 3:25 am

Mike Gebert wrote:That's them. US=Paramount. The 2000 restoration is substantially what would have been originally released in Germany (and anywhere outside North America, I assume), no? And the South American version is what adds back in everything that was long lost and recently found, which as you note isn't everything, but much closer.

Anyway, to me the first round of 1927-era cuts that removed some kind of extraneous material (that guy getting a spooky message in the cab, for instance) tightened the film to its benefit, further cutting did not.


It wasn't "tightened" for its general German release, it was butchered against the director's wishes according to the whims of a businessman who wanted to remove "objectionable" elements. From Wikipedia:

Alfred Hugenberg, a nationalist businessman, cancelled UFA's debt to Paramount and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after taking charge of the company in April 1927, and chose to halt distribution in German cinemas of Metropolis in its original form. Hugenberg had the film cut down to a length of 3241 meters, removing the film's perceived "inappropriate" communist subtext and religious imagery. Hugenberg's cut of the film was released in German cinemas in August 1927. UFA distributed a still shorter version of the film (2530 meters, 91 minutes) in 1936, and an English version of this cut was archived in the MOMA film library.


I find that the film flows so much better in its (nearly) complete form, as opposed to the other bastardized versions.
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Napoleon 2015 DVD release?

PostWed Jun 20, 2018 1:06 pm

A podcast, not by me, talking with someone working on the newest restoration.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir
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