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Napoleon: Abel Gance's Classic Film Paperback – September, 1983

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf (September 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394533941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394533940
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,442,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By H. Lim on February 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Very few stories of the makings of films can be described as truly dramatic, dramatic enough to form a story worth telling in its own right. Citizen Kane qualifies, as do Platoon and Once Upon a Time in America.
But all these very famous stories of dramatic productions pale in comparison to the story of the making - and reconstruction - of Abel Gance's magnificent silent epic Napoleon (1927). Brownlow, who appears to have been the prime mover behind the incredible revival of this film through the late 1970s and early 1980s, tells a story of a film epic that was practically ignored in the hype over the new hi-tech "talkies".
Abel Gance's "Napoleon" suffered indignity after indignity as it was first butchered by money-minded studios in America wanting to suppress foreign creativity, then turned into a patched-up sound film, and finally totally forgotten by all but a very few; the remaining fragments of film rotting in film archives throughout the world.
Were it not for young Brownlow's rediscovery of the film in little 9.5mm abridgements in his local store in Englkand, then it is likely that the film "Napoleon" would never have been rediscovered. Thanks to Brownlow's virtual obsession over this film, he broke through all barriers to find more and more of the film, finally being the main force in its reconstruction. Through it all we hear of vast and distasteful conspiracies against Brownlow's work; of archives jealously guarding the remains of the film uintil they literally rot away; of obsessive - and cruel - collectors determined to do the same; of massive commercial intereasts, heartless and money-minded, threatening to strangle the project several times over - of painstaking restoration with mylar tape and scissors.
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