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Coppola/Zoetrope version of Napoleon?

Robert Harris

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#1 of 41 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted October 10 2008 - 04:10 PM

Hello, Mr. Harris;

Granted, this is a long shot, but do you foresee another opportunity to go back and revisit your restoration of Abel Gance's Napoleon, and have it issued in a presentation eventually suited for current DVD (or Blu-Ray) standards? Could it again see light of day under Universal Home Video?

Thanks very much for your time.
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#2 of 41 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 11 2008 - 05:55 AM

Yes, and to be correct, the film was reconstructed and restored by Kevin Brownlow.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#3 of 41 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted October 11 2008 - 10:35 AM

My apologies - of course the restoration was Brownlow's, I should have said your edit of Brownlow's version, with the late Carmine Coppola's score. My understanding is that this is the only way that the film can be presented.

It would be wonderful to have a more pristine looking edition, as the Region 2 and 4 DVD's (I have the R4 Australian release) appear to have been taken directly from the same masters that made the original videotapes and laserdiscs.

Your answer, while understandably brief, is encouraging.
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#4 of 41 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 12 2008 - 06:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Paynter
My understanding is that this is the only way that the film can be presented.

It would be wonderful to have a more pristine looking edition, as the Region 2 and 4 DVD's (I have the R4 Australian release) appear to have been taken directly from the same masters that made the original videotapes and laserdiscs.

Your answer, while understandably brief, is encouraging.

No longer. There is now a joint effort to upgrade all elements for both cuts and scores.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#5 of 41 OFFLINE   Scooter

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Posted October 12 2008 - 08:48 AM

I was at the presentation of this at Radio City...can't recall if it was the premiere or not. I also believe Carmine conducted the orchestra that played live to the film.

What I do recall, and it was goose bumpy-ish...was when the curtains parted further during the Tryptloc (sp) scenes. The audience went wild!!!! Also, me "getting it" (what Gance was trying to get across) when the camera swinging scenes occured.

#6 of 41 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted October 12 2008 - 10:23 AM

Napoleon is my most-wanted film on DVD, so I'd love to see a proper DVD release eventually. Hopefully a comprehensive one since there's so much existing material like the behind-the-scenes footage, the interviews with Gance. Brownlow's book needs to come back into print since it's such a great read.

Where are the rights now? It seems confusing given that I've seen copyright notices and credits for Universal, Images Film Archive, Zoetrope, StudioCanal, and the BFI.

#7 of 41 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted October 13 2008 - 02:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
No longer. There is now a joint effort to upgrade all elements for both cuts and scores.

RAH

That's absolutely splendid news. What is the current running time of the longest version Brownlow's been able to assemble thus far?

#8 of 41 OFFLINE   Michael Fournier

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Posted October 17 2008 - 04:08 AM

Mr. Harris,
I'm delighted to hear that work is underway to release this great film on DVD. I'm curious to know if you are in a position to say

a) when such a dvd might become available
b) whether a blu ray edition will also be released
c) whether both the Coppola and Davis scores will be included in the package

Thank you for all the wonderful work you do.

#9 of 41 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 18 2008 - 05:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Fournier
a) when such a dvd might become available

Not at this time, as a great deal of digital restoration work must be performed, and this is still at early stages.

b) whether a blu ray edition will also be released

Yes.

c) whether both the Coppola and Davis scores will be included in the package

At this time, only the Coppola score has been recorded, but there is no reason, other than economic, why Mr. Davis' score could not be. Whether the two versions would be released as a package or separately has not yet been decided.


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#10 of 41 ONLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 18 2008 - 05:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McCart

Where are the rights now? It seems confusing given that I've seen copyright notices and credits for Universal, Images Film Archive, Zoetrope, StudioCanal, and the BFI.

Universal controls US and Canadian theatrical and home video rights with a recorded synchronized soundtrack.

Studio Canal presently represents those same rights for foreign sale.

The BFI holds UK rights.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#11 of 41 OFFLINE   HDvision

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Posted September 27 2009 - 01:02 AM

Mr Harris, any news on the joint restoration ? Hopefully it's issued on Blu-Ray with both scores so that viewers can choose. I know it's a crazy shot, but last century, I suggested to Mr Brownlow that at one point, technology would be available making it easy to sync soundtracks taken from the various subsequent Gance sound versions, to a final restored version (thus making a third soundtrack option available). Now that would be a (crazy, I know), blast.

Another alternative would be to compile as bonuses, all the "talky" reshoots Gance did on his masterpiece in 1934, 1955 and 1971.

I think the story of how Gance missed the sound era by a few years, and tried to update his masterpiece, ruining it as the years went is as fascinating as the film itself. Definetely would be worth a huge making of.


#12 of 41 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted September 29 2009 - 01:13 PM

I've been wanting to see this film for years. I rarely blind buy a DVD/BD, but I think I would do so for this film if/when it makes it out.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#13 of 41 OFFLINE   HDvision

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Posted September 30 2009 - 04:52 AM

It would be good to produce a bonus for the blu-ray, a 25mn silent / sound version comparison feature showing the additional reshoots made half a decade later.



#14 of 41 OFFLINE   oscar_merkx

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Posted October 06 2009 - 03:21 AM

I have heard so much of this movie, yet never seen it.

Awesome.

Also bought Gance's La Roux, lved it
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#15 of 41 OFFLINE   AbbyNormal

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Posted October 07 2009 - 05:26 PM

I was there at Radio City the night that they brought the phone out with Gance on the other end at the conclusion and we just went crazy with cheers, applause and tears.  It is still the greatest movie experience of my life and it has not been topped in almost 30 years.

I've seen this masterpiece in 35mm triptych with live orchestra (twice), 35mm with the finale anamorphic, 70mm/6track at the Cinerama Dome and have the Australian DVD.  No matter how I see it, I am transported back to that night in NYC and I always get goosepimples at the conclusion of the "La Marsailles" sequence-just brilliant.

I hope that both scores are included in a US release-love Coppola's score and having heard Davis' score on CD, would love to hear it married to the film.
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Posted July 15 2010 - 10:08 AM

any updates?



#17 of 41 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted July 15 2010 - 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Arceneaux 

any updates?


Stay tuned.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


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Posted July 15 2011 - 12:47 PM

http://blogs.indiewi...uer_u.s._again/ -

"Kevin Brownlow will present his five-and-a-half hour restoration, produced with Patrick Stanbury, his partner in Photoplay Productions, and the British Film Institute (BFI), at the enormous Paramount Theatre in Oakland on March 24, 25, 31, and April 1 of next year. Carl Davis will conduct his original score with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Tickets will go on sale on Monday at silentfilm.org, and you can watch a specially-prepared trailer HERE."

[url=http://vimeo.com/26322303]Abel Gance's Napoleon[/url] from [url=http://vimeo.com/sfsff]San Francisco Silent Film Festiv[/url] on [url=http://vimeo.com]Vimeo[/url].



#19 of 41 ONLINE   owen35

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Posted July 25 2011 - 07:50 AM

Just read a post on the Criterion site stating that when Kevin Brownlow announced the event at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival press event, he mentioned that there were NO plans to put the film on DVD or Blu-Ray. This would be very disappointing news for those of us who have been waiting for a very long time for this film to be released. While I have tickets for the Oakland event, I don't want that to be the only--and very last time--I will be able to see this magnificent work.
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#20 of 41 OFFLINE   owen35

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Posted February 12 2012 - 02:53 AM

There's a new FAQ on the silent film.org website about next month's screening of the 5 1/2 hour version. Lots of information about how much of a unique event this is going to be. The phrase "once-in-a-lifetime" does really apply here. One choice bit of information regarding a Blu-Ray release: But will there be a DVD and BluRay release of the restored version in the near future? No. The cost of recording the 5½ hour Carl Davis score is prohibitively expensive for the DVD/BluRay market… and of course you wouldn’t have the dramatic Polyvision finale that you’ll experience in the theater. The triptych would merely be letterboxed onto your television — no matter how big it is.
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