The two Novalic brothers, Jean and Martial, are in love with the same woman, Genevieve. Jean is an impoverished actor and an idealistic dreamer, who does not want Genevieve to share in his ... See full summary »
After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love and personal pleasure to immerse himself in scientific research, seeking a machine to... See full summary »
Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »
Gabriel de Gravone,
A reedited version of Abel Gance's silent masterpiece 'Napoléon vu par Abel Gance', with sound effects added, dialogue post-dubbed, and with new scenes filmed with additional new cast ... See full summary »
Abel Gance's 1971 sound edition of his epic 1927 'Napoleon', 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 this version.
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Didier Méreuil, affectionately called Poliche, is in love with Rosine, a beautiful girl, so he does everything to please her. She does not love him, and accepts a seductive airplane pilot ... See full summary »
This version is the U.S. abortion which ran 54" out of the originals release of 105". Which was truncated down from 180"+ so a-lot of the film has gone missing. What is left is barely comprehensible since almost all of the original dialog is gone as well as any character development and sub-plots.
THE END OF THE WORLD (1934) (AKA Paris AFTER DARK) from the original LA FIN Du MONDE (1931) was Abel Gance's first sound feature. It is based on the 1894 Novel 'OMEGA: The Last Days of the World' by Camille Flammarion. The plot is how will Humanity react when informed that the Planet is going to be hit by a Comet in 114 Days. What follows is first disbelief, acceptance of the inevitable and how different facets of society react to the coming DOOM!
The Scientists led by Martial Novalic (Victor Francen) plan a rebirth of the World (if anybody survives) in their idealized vision of the UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC. Which appears to be a sort of Neo-Fascist governing body like 'Wings Over The World' in THINGS TO COME (1936). Most people run around in a montage of scenes like their heads were about to be chopped off. Some continue business as usual, literally, others decide the best way to check out is in a orgy of 'Booze & Sex' or religious resignation. The merits of each choice are left up to the viewer to decide. Somewhere in this mess is Jean Novalic (Abel Gance) Martial's Brother, for the most part he appears to have ended up on the cutting room floor.
It is a close run thing and the Comet passes through the Earths atmosphere missing the Planet but causing great damage in it's wake. The SFX scenes are poorly done even by early 1930's standards. What happens next is up to the viewers imagination for the film abruptly ends there. Gance's backers had run out of both faith and money, seized the film, trimming it with a meat Axe, which U.S. distributor Harold Auten (1934) added his incompetence.
The concept of the film was bold and very original for it's time though it is hard to tell how well it was executed from this version. Their knowledge of Comets was suspect compared to 21st Century sensibilities. There is certainly a political message here, though any time I hear/see the words UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC, I get nervous. Gance's version/vision being a combination of the less savory aspects of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Republic(s). Another Director/Producer saw some merits in this film, Cecil B. DeMille (C.B.) who was also considering WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1933) by Balmer & Wylie for filming. That may have been a not a bad idea. C.B. would have jettisoned the political baggage concentrated on the human story and the SFX scenes and made another commercial success.
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