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Napoleon [1927] [Dutch Import]

Albert Dieudonné , Edmond Van Daële , Abel Gance    DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Albert Dieudonné, Edmond Van Daële, Abel Gance, Alexandre Koubitzky, Gina Manès
  • Directors: Abel Gance
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Run Time: 225 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012TUV16
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,962 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


EUROPEAN IMPORT DVD plays UK region 2 ; Regarded as one of the greatest silent films ever made, Abel Gance's near four-hour epic (split across 2 discs) tells the life story of Napoleon Bonaparte, beginning with his childhood days in a military school where he was mercilessly bullied by his fellow students. The story then moves to the Revolution and Napoleon's rise through the ranks, culminating in his triumph at Toulon. Perhaps his greatest military victory - the invasion of Italy - provides the climax of the film. Director Abel Gance used every film-making trick then available to tell this epic story, including some furious editing that would not disgrace a modern blockbuster. The Italian campaign is even filmed in a very early type of Cinemascope - a full 25 years ahead of its time! Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) oversaw the restoration. The picture quality is terrific considering its age, and comes with a rousing new music score as well (in stereo). This is a must for all serious cinema lovers, not just silent film fans.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Coppola kills creativity! 5 Sep 2009
What a tragedy that due to the greed of the Coppola family, we will never see the Brownlow five hour version of Gance's Napoleon with Carl Davis' superb pastiche musical score seen at live screenings across Britain - for the last time in London (2004). This version on sale now for the Chinese market (Coppola's 4 hour version) is the only version now available but I feel inclined to boycott it. Because the Coppola family own the copyright to 'Napoleon', it appears unlikely that the more complete version will ever be comnercially available again. I suppose that when my anger about this has subsided during the coming years, I'll be forced to buy the Coppola version when my memories of the Brownlow/Davis version have faded.
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90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Over here in Canada, we are at an even greater disadvantage than you lucky, lucky Brits. You have, on occasion, the opportunity to see the newly-restored version of Abel Gance's phenomenal epic, Napoleon, in as close a version as possible to what audiences would have seen in 1927--some 50 minutes of footage are perhaps lost forever, but that certainly beats this now-outdated version that will probably be the only way to experience Napoleon at home, thanks to the pig-headedness of American director Francis Ford Coppola.

Contrary to what the product description here tells you, Coppola did NOT oversee the restoration--that was a fifteen-year labour of love by film historian Kevin Brownlow, who was single-handedly responsible for resurrecting this film after even the Cinema Francaise had relegated it to the storage bins. Coppola somehow acquired the distribution rights to the film in the US, commissioned his father, Carmine, to compose a score, and then re-edited the film--losing about half an hour from the BFA version--to fit his father's music. That was in 1980--since then, Brownlow and others have found about 90 minutes of new footage, and have found superior 35mm prints that can replace some of the poorer-quality shots that Brownlow had to work with at the time. Coppola also reworked the tinting to make it more consistent, whether or not that squared with Gance's intentions.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the full Monty 2 July 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This (Korean pressed) DVD edition is not an over-shortened version, but the image quality is not good - very compressed which gives a poorly contrasted and 'blocky' image on a reasonably-sized tv. Looks better if you can squeeze it down to U-tube size on your computer. I'd only allow one star on image quality alone, but, but, but ... there is currently no other version available, so if you want to see Napoleon, this is it. For a much more detailed and erudite review go to and read Streeb-Greebling's essay about the same edition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see 20 May 2011
Whilst I am in agreement with other reviewers that the image quality of the Korean DVD leaves a bit to be desired. If you can ignore this the film and the soundtrack are absolutely amazing. Hopefully the legal wrangling surrounding the film will be resolved and the fully restored original will eventually become available on DVD.
Until then my advice is get yourself a copy of this. It is worth it if only for the climax of the film - I,for one, cannot believe these scenes were filmed as long ago as 1927 - they look years ahead of their time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only half of the film 20 Dec 2013
By Martin
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This dvd only goes as far as the Seige of Toulon. It also uses the music composed by Carmine Coppola, and not the superior Carl Davis score.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The film is a classic, well deserved, technically ahead of its time etc. So the pedigree of the film content and virtuosity is well established. SO why the one star? - basic problem - image quality of the DVD. The quality is not universally poor through the film - but much of it is pixelated, has horizontal distortion when characters move quickly etc. As one reviewer states, if you can make the image small - on a computer, then this is not so much a problem. By extension, this means that the film looks better the further away you observe it... and as the other reviewer states this is not exactly a good solution! The fact that some of the image quality is relatively high in other parts of the film, it implies that this was not a problem with the source images. Clips of the film seen elsewhere, on documentaries etc, all look better than this.

In the end I got through the film, I think it is an excellent film - but because of the image quality, I will not want to look at it again in a hurry.

So unfortunately, "joy-free" viewing.... hope some one will make a good transfer in future!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great epic on Buonaparte 25 Jan 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I received this DVD earlier than I thought. I saw this at the BFI and was impressed with the film.
Good quality DVD.
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