Abel Gance

Abel Gance – Marie Tudor (1966)

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)

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)

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)

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 – J’accuse! (1919)

The Movie
J’Accuse is a story set against the backdrop of World War I that is considered one of the most technically advanced films of the era and the first major pacifist film. Gance, who had served briefly in the military during World War I, decided to return to active service in 1919 in order to film real battle scenes to include in the project. The film was reedited and shortened for peacetime reissue in 1922, and has not been available since in its original form.
Lobster Films Studios, Paris, working in collaboration with Netherlands Filmmuseum have culled materials from the Lobster Collection, the Czech archive in Prague, the Cinematheque Francaise, and the Netherlands Filmmuseum to make the best possible and most complete edition of the original 1919 edit of the film. Read More »

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

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)


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 »