Abel Gance

  • Abel Gance – J’accuse! AKA I Accuse! (1919)

    1911-1920Abel GanceFranceSilentWarWorld War One

    Edith, a young French woman, is in love with a poet but is forced by her father into a marriage with a much older man. Edith is captured by the Germans and endures multiple rapes that result in her becoming pregnant. Edith’s husband initially thinks that the poet is the father of her child, and the story ends in tragedy with both men seeing action in the trenches.Read More »

  • Abel Gance – Marie Tudor (1966)

    Abel Gance1961-1970DramaFranceTV

    Abel Gance’s Marie Tudor was produced by ORTF and broadcast on French television in two parts, on 23 and 30 April 1966. It is an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s play of the same name (1833), and was the first of two productions Gance made for French television – the second being Valmy (1967). Marie Tudor mines historical and literary material familiar from Gance’s earlier work. He had already turned to sixteenth-century history for his Lucrèce Borgia (1935) (which also echoed another Hugo play) and for his script for Jean Dréville’s La Reine Margot (1954) – likewise a literary adaptation (Alexandre Dumas’ novel of 1845). Though modest fare by Gance’s standards, Marie Tudor was one of the projects that marked his return to critical and commercial visibility in the 1960s – starting with Austerlitz (1960) and ending with his last film, Bonaparte et la Révolution (1971). This copy comes from the digital archive of the Institut national de l’audiovisuel (INA).Read More »

  • Abel Gance – La Tour de Nesle AKA Tower of Nesle (1955)

    1951-1960Abel GanceDramaFrance

    from filmsdefrance.com:
    Paris, 1315. The Tour de Nesle, a guard tower on the banks of the Seine, has become a symbol of mystery and fear. Each morning, at its base, the bodies of handsome young aristocrats are found floating in the river, all butchered by sword or arrow. One evening, two noblemen, Buridan and Philippe d’Aulnay, find themselves in the infamous tower, lured there on the expectation of a night of unbridled passion. Little do they realise that they are to be the next victims of a woman who is determined to take revenge against all men – Margaret of Burgundy, the present Queen of France. Although Philippe is killed, Buridan escapes, and intends to blackmail the Queen. Unless she makes him her prime minister, he will expose her crimes to Philippe’s brother and her husband, King Louis X. When she moves to eliminate Burdan, Margaret makes a terrible discovery…Read More »

  • Abel Gance – Les gaz mortels (1916)

    1911-1920Abel GanceDramaFranceSilent

    Hopson, a prestigious scientist, studies the effect of snake venom to cure many diseases of mankind. His son enlists in the army when the Great War breaks out. A series of circumstances will lead the scientist to change his way of thinking about values ​​and principles that until then he had as immovable.Read More »

  • Abel Gance – Napoleon [Brownlow restoration, +Extras] (1927)

    1921-1930Abel GanceEpicFranceSilent

    TCM Review :
    The story behind Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) is as exciting as the film. A masterpiece adventure originally running nearly seven hours, it breaks new ground with practically every shot, was filmed with techniques twenty-five years ahead of its time, and was rescued from oblivion by an obsessed teenager.Read More »

  • Abel Gance – La Dixième Symphonie AKA The Tenth Symphony (1918)

    1911-1920Abel GanceClassicsFranceSilent

    A young girl, rich and orphaned (Emmy LYNN), harrassed by a deprived adventurer (Jean TOULOUT) and by his sister, kills the latter. The adventurer blackmails her. A year later, the girl marries a famous composer, an admiror of Beethoven (Séverin MARS). The adventurer starts courting, secretly, the composer’s daughter (Elizabeth NIZAN) – daughter by a previous marriage. The composer, on finding out that a sordid relationship had existed, in the past, between his wife and the adventurer wrote, on the occasion of his daughter’s engagement, a symphony describing his unhappiness. The composer hereby defines the theme of the 10th symphony: “At the feet of his master Beethoven , a musician distraught by the treason of women, tries to forget and express his sadness”.Read More »

  • Abel Gance – La Roue (1923)

    1921-1930Abel GanceDramaFranceSilent


    Flicker Alley says…


    Never before released in the United States, this monumental French film is one of the most extraordinary achievements in the whole history of cinema. Written and directed by Abel Gance (Napoleon, J’Accuse), three years in production, and for its time unprecedented in length and complexity of emotion, La Roue pushed the frontiers of film art beyond all previous efforts. Said Gance, “Cinema endows man with a new sense. It is the music of light. He listens with his eyes.”Read More »

  • Abel Gance – Bonaparte et la révolution (1972)

    1971-1980Abel GanceDramaEpicFrance


    The last film made by legendary French director Abel Gance, Bonaparte et la révolution (1971) was also his final attempt to release the Napoleonic biopic he had begun in the 1920s. Napoléon, vu par Abel Gance (1927) was over nine hours long, but represented only the first of a planned six-film series. Having failed to get funding for the remaining episodes, Gance revamped his silent film as Napoléon Bonaparte (1935) – adding newly-shot scenes and dubbing his decade-old footage. After other abortive attempts to resurrect part or all of his biopic in the 1950s, Gance gained funding from Claude Lelouch to release Bonaparte et la revolution in 1971. This last version recycles footage from the films of 1927 and 1935, as well as material from his television work of the 1960s. The result is a bizarre mishmash of old and new images, performances, and voices – less a coherent film than a document embodying the whole of Gance’s 45-year involvement with his eternally incomplete project. Read More »

  • Abel Gance – Austerlitz (1960)

    1951-1960Abel GanceClassicsDramaFrance


    In what must be the longest lapse of time between a film and its sequel, 70-year-old Abel Gance continues his nearly legendary, 1927 historical drama Napoleon with this tale of Napoleon’s life after his victories in Italy. The first half of Austerlitz delves into the private life of Napoleon Bonaparte (Pierre Mondy), the prodigal son of Corsica. The supreme commander of the French armed forces goes about his family life and dallies with Josephine (Martine Carol) and mistress Mlle. de Vaudey (Leslie Caron). He occasionally displays bursts of temper that presage some of the macho violence of the battle scenes in the second half of the film, after Napoleon has proclaimed himself Emperor. This sequel shows that Gance has not lost his directorial touch. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie GuideRead More »

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