Abel Gance's Napoleon - Optimum R2 DVD coming on May 28th?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Patrick McCart, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I've heard from someone that Optimum Releasing will be releasing Napoleon in the UK (R2) on May 28th. They don't seem to have anything on their website about it. I'm hoping this means rights issues have been resolved. To my knowledge, the film has never had a UK video release. They're also releasing Gance's Austerlitz on the same day.

    Anyone know if this is actually happening?
     
  2. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    I also am interested, so I will bump this one.
     
  3. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The Australian DVD of Napoleon seems fine, other than it's missing over an hour or two of footage Brownlow has been able to track down. This would certainly be worthwhile to pick up if they're able to include that additional footage, though.
     
  4. Alan-A

    Alan-A Extra

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    I hope this has the Carl Davis score and not the Coppola one, which I find bombastic and boring.
     
  5. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    According to Kevin Brownlow's book, the biggest difference is that the silent footage runs too fast, a lot of the 1934 footage was shot with rear projection, and the silent footage had to be overdubbed. Gance unfortunately cut the original negative (the main one) to make the 1934 version... so the quality doesn't degrade from shot to shot.

    It had a stereophonic soundtrack, so I wonder if it still exists.
     
  7. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I have heard so much about this silent picture.

    What is the best source ?

    Where do I buy Brownlow's book ?
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    There's an extremely expensive laserdisc that's rarer than gold (U.S./NTSC only) and the VHS. Both are obviously out of print. The R4 Australia and R2 Spain DVDs are PAL conversions from the NTSC master, so they suffer from artifacts (not to mention very heavily compressed on the R4).

    I got my softcover book from eBay for $24 (brand new condition). Looks like it's in print in the UK by the BFI Press: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Napoleon-Kev...e=UTF8&s=books
     
  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    http://www.zetaminor.com/whatsnew.htm

    "Optimum have clarified some details of their forthcoming Napoleon DVD, which I will reproduce verbatim, since there seems to be little to be gained from paraphrasing it: "the version that we are releasing is the silent version restored by Francis Ford Coppola in 1980 with a new score composed by his father Carmine. The running time is 223 mins and the DVD has been encoded with a 16:9 aspect ratio. For those of you that know the film, you will be aware that Abel Gance shot it envisaging a three screen Polyvision projection technique to create a huge panorama for some scenes. This proved impractical and so this was only actually used by Gance for the final 20 minutes or so of the film. In our release, the 16:9 encoding allows for the three screens to be viewed as one widescreen for these last 20 minutes as Gance originally intended, with the preceding footage appearing as 4:3 on a 16:9 widescreen""

    I'm hoping this doesn't mean the entire film is pillarboxed since it's easy to encode the finale as 16x9 with just a title change.
     
  10. AndrewWickliffe

    AndrewWickliffe Second Unit

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    Seriously, outside Kevin Brownlow's basement, is there anywhere we'll ever get to see a version other than Coppola's?

    I was once supposed to see the film with live music, until the university showing it found out Coppola forbids it... rather disappointing.
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Rumor has it that Kevin Brownlow is in the process of making a deal with Coppola. Surely he would see the benefit of a DVD set having both his father's score and the Carl Davis one. Especially since people want the 5 1/2 cut, not the 4 hour one (not to mention it has most of the nth generation footage replaced with pristine 35mm).
     
  12. John Stell

    John Stell Supporting Actor

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    Optimum has cancelled this release due to rights issues.
     
  13. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    Damn. Good thing I kept my R4 version.
     
  14. AndrewWickliffe

    AndrewWickliffe Second Unit

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    Cancelled as well per Zeta Minor news.
     
  16. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

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    Any updated Napoleon news recently? I can't find anything giving an update on the Brownlow/Coppola/Universal/BFI/Photoplay rights issue. I saw the Coppola version once at the AFI in the Kennedy Center in 2004, and have been dying to see it again (hopefully in the 5 1/2 hour cut instead of the Coppola cut).
     
  17. AbbyNormal

    AbbyNormal Agent

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    I was present for the Radio City Music Hall showing when David Gill called Gance from backstage and brought the receiver out onstage for us to cheer. We were already pumped up from the film and cheering wildly when that happened, and I thought the sound from the crowd would pop the roof off the theater. As Kevin stated in his book, "it was like phoning Beethoven in heaven to let him know how much you loved the work."

    Still the #1 moviegoing experience of my life; doubt it will be topped.

    If you ever have the chance to see the second revamping of the film-BONAPARTE AND THE REVOLUTION-don't. Even more of an abomination than the '34 reissue.
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There is no "rights issue."

    Stay tuned.

    RAH
     
  19. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Love a good cliff hanger! XD

    I remember seeing the Coppola version on VHS years ago (I skipped school so as to sit on my own and watch it [​IMG] ) I would love to get a new version, the 5.5 sounds impressive, but I'll take what I can get.
     
  20. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    Hi Jeff

    Thanks for sharing that experience with us.

    I would love to see Gance's Napoleon someday...
     

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