NAPOLEON (1927) B/W "silent" parts filmed in Polyvision 235m dir: Abel Gance
w/Albert Dieudonné, Antonin Artaud, Pierre Batcheff, Armand Bernard, Harry Krimer, Albert Bras, Georges Cahuzac, Van Daele, Chakotouny, Koubitsky, Boris Fastovitch, Favière, Abel Gance, Philippe Hériat, Jean d'Yd, Gina Manès, Annabella, Marguerite Gance, Eugénie Buffet, Suzy Vernon
This towering, visually stunning masterpiece of a biopic is one of the greatest films ever made. It starts with Napoleon as a young child at boarding school and follows his early career through his triumphal entry into Italy. Gance audaciously filmed parts of the movie in a process called Polyvision, which can be thought of as an early version of Cinerama. Polyvision used three separate, simultaneously operating cameras in order to film adjacent areas of the location or set being used and, later when the film was shown, three separate and simultaneous projectors to create a "triptych," a screen nearly three times the width of one with the normal aspect ratio for "silent" films. Gance originally planned to film Bonaparte's life in a series of six separate films; NAPOLEON, the first of the series, is the only film which was actually produced. Over the years, many different versions of the film have existed, with running times ranging from 135 minutes to 275 minutes. This 235 minute version should contain all four of the Polyvision scenes that were in the original release. FilmFrog had the thrill, a number of years ago, of seeing NAPOLEON at the San Francisco Opera House, in Polyvision, with a live accompanying score composed and conducted by Carmine Coppola, father of Francis Ford Coppola. Wow!