Napoléon (1927 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Napoléon (1927) is an epic silent French film directed by Abel Gance that tells the story of the rise of Napoleon I of France.

It begins from his youth in school where he managed a snowball fight like a military campaign, to his victory in invading Italy in 1797. Planned to be the first of six movies about Napoleon Bonaparte, it was realised after the completion of the film that the costs involved would make this impossible.

Ahead of its time in its use of handheld cameras and editing, many scenes were hand tinted or toned. Gance had intended the final reel of the film to be screened as a triptych via triple projection, or Polyvision.

It was first released in a gala premiere at the Paris Opéra in April 1927. Napoléon had been screened in only 8 European cities when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought the rights to the film, but after screening it intact in London, it was cut drastically in length, and only the central panel of the widescreen sequences retained before it was put on limited release in the United States, where it was indifferently received at a time when talkies were just starting to appear.

Primary cast

Napoleon today

So far only Region 2 and Region 4 DVDs are available, using the largely outdated 1980 restoration, with the triptych being letterboxed. Despite this and the rare screenings of the film, it remains popular, gathering almost 3,000 votes on the Internet Movie Database.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Napoléon (1927 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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