It's been a long, long, LONG time coming, but it's finally here! It's not horror, it's not an exploitation flick, and it's not an extreme film either (unless you count its duration), but it is probably the most important piece of celluloid ever made in film-history, and extremely culturally important too, and for that reason alone, I have to announce it on this blog.
Yes, Abel Gance's 1926/27 historical epic NAPOLEON is finally coming out on UK Blu-Ray and DVD, almost 90 years after its inception and original release!
Kevin Brownlow, who has dedicated his entire life to the rediscovery and championing of this movie, will finally see his work come to fruition, with the first-ever, Blu-Ray and DVD release of the full-length, 330-minute-long, completely restored and remastered print of this masterpiece, along with the original score by Carl Davis.
For years, this cinematic extravaganza has been only available in heavily-butchered editions, often with atrocious picture and sound, with dubious film-scores, and/or via bootlegged sellers. Alternatively, it was only available from the USA, with the hideous Carmine Coppola score. The Coppola family refused to let this film be shown anywhere in the world, unless the film was shown with Carmine's diabolically awful music. As such, this film has rarely been shown anywhere.
Thankfully, the Coppola release, did not apply to the UK, bizarrely, and work continued in the UK, to release the film with the original music. Carl Davis and Kevin Brownlow worked together, for over 30 years, to get the music back to what it should be, constantly rescoring and re-editing the film as new footage was discovered and restored, and it was eventually premiered at the 24th London Film Festival in 1977, to critical and public acclaim. The film was then extended, with newly-discovered footage, and premiered again in 2000, 2004 and then lastly and most recently, in 2013, which is where I was lucky enough to experience it for the first time, at the Barbican Centre, in London.
What makes these screenings so special, is that a large 80-piece Orchestra performs the entire work, for the entire duration of the film. Normally, the film is split into four "parts", the longest being 2-hours in length, with plenty of breaks between each one. As such, a screening normally runs to about 9 hours in total - it's an entire day's worth of viewing, but it's absolutely an experience you will never forget!
Now, for the first time ever in the world, a legally-sanctioned and painstakingly-restored version of the film finally can be yours, for around £30. All five-and-a-half-hours worth.
The British Film Institute (BFI) have been working on this for decades, and if the words "labour of love" ever need to be used in their rightful context, then this film is definitely it. Even if you aren't a huge fan of Silent Cinema, you really owe it to yourself to see this film once in your life. It really is jaw-dropping in every single sense. And the finale! My God, it's a finale that blows all other finales out of the water. I won't spoil it for you, but if you've never seen it, the ending is just a wonder to behold.
If you want more information on the film itself, then click here for a short write-up on the film's historical significance.
Get this film now, and then watch it on the biggest screen your physically can! Pre-orders now available from the links below, but be warned this will almost certainly be Region Locked to Region 2 for DVD and Region B for Blu-Ray! The release date is currently set for 21st November 2016.
Blu-Ray Version - Amazon UK 3-Disc Blu-Ray Pre-Order
DVD Version - Amazon UK 4-Disc DVD Pre-Order
I'll be back soon. For now, enjoy the Summer Holidays, and I wish you all well!