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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great silent classics, 24 Nov 2008
This review is from: L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] (DVD)
L'Argent is one of the little known silent masterpieces that have been rediscovered in recent years. The film is distinguished for many reasons. The acting is magnificent led by Pierre Alcover and Birgitte Helm (of Metropolis fame). The costuming and staging are fantastic, in fact the film makers made use of the Paris Bourse for several scenes. Most wonderful is the camera work, which although adanced for the day, even experimental, is completely natural to the story. L'Argent was at the time the most expensive French film to date, designed to compete with both Hollywood and UFA of Germany. David Shepard has written enthusiatically of the French edition of the DVD. A must buy for film buffs and silent film buffs of all kinds.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of the French Silent Era, 30 Jan 2009
By 
Barbara Underwood (Tumut, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] (DVD)
First of all, the 5-star rating applies to both the film itself as well as the 2-disc set by Eureka! which has quite an impressive, thick booklet with many photographs from the film with extensive notes, and many surprising bonus features on the supplement disc. And "L'Argent" certainly deserves this first-class treatment because it stands out as one of the world's finest films from the late silent era (being the late 1920s) and would even surpass most modern films in many aspects of cinematography. "L'Argent" equals silent classics like "Metropolis", "Sunrise" and other French classics such as "La Roue" and "Napoleon", but just as each of these films has its own style and characteristics, so does "L'Argent" under the direction of French director, Marcel L'Herbier.

L'Herbier utilized what was at that time new and innovative camera techniques and angles which still impress viewers today because they are part of a visual art form, namely that of the silent film telling a story with images; and a few subtitles when necessary. The story is easily understood because it could be taken right out of today's headlines, and the concept of greed and power are universal and even timeless in this modern age. Based on Emile Zola's novel set several decades earlier, L'Herbier decided to place the story in contemporary times, showing the hustle and bustle at the Paris Stock Exchange with striking and breathtaking angles, camera movements and editing, along with many other exciting scenes from the year 1928. For me, "L'Argent" is both an historic visual document, showing the life and mentality of people in the late 1920s, and a powerful human story conveying the message of how money has power: power to corrupt, enslave, manipulate, control and destroy.

The actors were well chosen and suit their roles perfectly. German actors from "Metropolis" fame, Alfred Abel and Brigitte Helm, play unforgettable characters alongside prominent French stars who portray business tycoons riding the highs and lows of the share market to their own advantage, while others become pawns and victims of the lust for wealth and power. It is a good story made even more brilliant with lavish and unusual sets, artistic imagery and a very high standard of `glossy style'. The effort and cost involved in such a grand production are revealed in an extraordinary 40-minute "making of..." documentary on the supplement disc, "About L'Argent" - which was one of the first of its kind, and is surely a most valuable item for film historians especially, but also fascinating for the general viewer and admirer of early cinema. Another lengthy documentary is about L'Herbier and his work, and other varied and shorter film footage related to "L'Argent" make up the bonus disc features and help to appreciate the high artistic qualities of the film. Anyone looking for artistic style in films should see "L'Argent", and those who value the high quality of late 1920s silent films will not be disappointed either.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early masterpiece from L'Herbier, 19 Jun 2011
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This review is from: L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] (DVD)
This film is not to be mistaken for the film of the same title by Robert Bresson, which was inspired by a Tolstoy novel.

I hadn't seen the work of the french director L'Herbier before, but since I am interested in pioneer (silent period) european cinema, thought it worth a watch. This film is notable for a number of reasons, not the least being the obviously lavish production values financed by a huge budget. Technically it is a masterwork and features a very mobile camera. Eisenstein used editing (montage) to generate movement in his films - here, a lot of the movement is generated by single shots taken from a very dynamic camera.

The plot is a 'modern' adaptation of Emile Zola's 1891 novel of the same name and has some echoes for today's money markets in the way the chief protagonist, Saccard, played by french actor Pierre Alcover, massages the money markets and dupes others in order to get himself out of financial trouble. The film features Brigit Helm, fresh from her role of Maria in Metropolis. Whilst the film makes Saccard out to be a 'baddie' I found myself sympathetic towards him. The love interest is not Baronne Sandorf played by Brigit Helm but Line Hamelin played by french actress, Marie Glory, the wife of Saccard's business 'partner' Jacques Hamelin. Saccard arranges for Jacques Hamelin to fly to South America in search of oil, thereby boosting the market share of his bank and giving him an opportunity to seduce Line for whom he has very deep passionate feelings. Whilst Saccard is the master manipulator, the real 'puppet master' is his rival in finance, Gunderman played by Alfred Abel who finally brings about his downfall.

It's not too difficult to understand why this film was picked up by the producers of the Master of Cinema series - there are very interesting extras with the DVDs for thise who wish to explore the work further.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 4 Jan 2009
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This review is from: L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] (DVD)
I can but echo the opinion of the previous reviewer and say this is a stunning film. The acting is generally very naturalistic and, like many silent films (despite a common perception to the opposite) not bogged down by histrionic overacting. This is a sophisticated and elegant film made on a grand scale and should be of interest to film fans, particularly those of the silent era. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A NEARLY FORGOTTEN MASTERWORK IN SILENT ERA., 8 Feb 2014
By 
HAN XIAO "heaven851102" (CHINA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] (DVD)
A NEARLY FORGOTTEN MASTERWORK IN SILENT ERA. THIS FILM DESERVES A BRILLANT TREATMENT LIKE WHAT MOC DOES IN THIS DELUXE EDITION. THE BOOKLET IS WONDERFUL AND THE DISC IS ALMOST FULLY-LOADED.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT'S A MAD MAD MAD WORLD 1928 VERSION., 18 Dec 2013
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This review is from: L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] (DVD)
An interesting film and in some ways foretells the crash that was to come in 1929. Some of these old silent movies reflect accurately the times in which they were made and some can be prophetic. There is a supplementary disc about the film and a very large booklet as well. Brigitte Helm of Metropolis fame is in this film as well. Well acted and produced the DVD is good value and this is a film that deserves more detailed analysis.
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L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD]
L'Argent [1928] [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] by Marcel L'Herbier (DVD - 2008)
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