Napoléon in the USA

The composer Carl Davis has announced on his website that the full restoration of Abel Gance’s Napoléon (1927), with his symphonic score, will receive its US premiere in March 2012. As Davis notes, “a 32 year odyssey has been achieved”, since there has been a battle between rival restorations and scores of the film, with a re-edited version with score by the late Carmine Coppola (father of Francis Ford Coppola) that was exhibited in the USA in 1981 effectively keeping out the full Kevin Brownlow restoration, with all of the material he has found since 1981 (now 332 minutes in total), and Carl Davis score.

Without knowing any of the details, clearly peace has broken out (might Kevin and Francis had a chat about things when they each were awarded honorary Academy Awards last year?). There is a triumphalist trailer for the film on the TCM site which states that, courtesy of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (and American Zoetrope, and The Film Preserve, and Photoplay Productions, and the BFI) the film will screen at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland, San Francisco, with the music played by the Oakland East Bay Symphony. There will be four performances only.

We will add more information as and when we find it.

Meanwhile, start queuing now …

5 responses

  1. First bit of new information – Carl Davis adds this comment on his site: “Even to this day new material is being discovered and some will be included in San Francisco’s US premier performance.” So 332 minutes and a bit more.

  2. I fondly remember going into training so I would be able to sit all through the Coppola presentation. I had read in Jack Dempsey’s autobiography that he prepared for the Jess Willard championship fight by soaking his face in beef brine.

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