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Abel Gance's Beethoven (Un Grand Amour de Beethoven) [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b04ca88) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b05024c) out of 5 stars Un amour de Beethoven... 13 Dec. 2002
By Patrick Selitrenny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
There are not many filmed biographies dedicated to the Music master of all times, the latest being "Beethoven in Love" (which is Hollywoodiana at its worst).
In Abel Gance's version, "Un Grand Amour de Beethoven", not only do we find some of the best French actors of an Era long gone, but we have a true effort at character study.
Like in the Austrian movie, which nowadays is practically unavailable, called "Eroica", another excellent example of a screen translation of the man's life, "Un Grand Amour..." is a fair attempt at giving us Beethoven, the man, not the lover, not just the composer, but a man in his time.
In this one, somebody may still ask himself if Beethoven's love went to women, to a particular woman, or to a simple and probably more logic choice, to his music.
But there is more. The man's interior struggles are shown.
In a time period in which Revolutionary thinking seemed to permeate society, Beethoven comes through as the German "revolutionary" composer he was.
Beethoven craved for human love like any other human being, but in the end, as a realist as he was, and viewed the handicap he was facing, deafness, he concentrated totally and exclusively to his music.
In this movie, one can see that struggle for love, but instead of being a defeat to Beethoven (as in the above mentioned trashy movie), the man turns it into a triumph over the senses and brings himself, as well as his own music to an apotheosis never since equaled by any other composer.
Abel Gance seems to have understood this and respecting the genius of another master of the artistic trade, delivers a very touching account of the master's life.
The only downside to this effort is the poor technology filmmakers had in those days. At times the sound is dreadful and some conversations can only be understood by reading the subtitles (mind you, I speak French fluently, but I still could not understand some passages).
The music is hauntingly beautiful, but lacks depth and roundness. Poor Abel Gance, he must have struggled hard to finance this project.
Despite all this, this is, together with "Eroica" (if one can find it), the only true effort made, at bringing the great master back to life.
Being a theatrical director and an actor myself, I am still hoping to be able to, one day, put together some music historians, a dignified cast and crew and start what I always wanted in my childhood: film the entire life of Ludwig van Beethoven, according to his own letter exchange and the biographies of his closest friends and admirers.
Beethoven needs and deserves a faithful reconstruction of his life, told to generations to come.
He was more than just a musical genius. He was a highly controversial historical, philosophical and revolutionary/reactionary figure.
Abel Gance's effort is just a tiny cut in Beethoven's life and by reducing it into a two hour effort, he just partially managed to expose the man behind the composer, turning it naturally, as one would expect from a master such as Gance, into a masterpiece.
And yet, it is still lacking amplitude.
Nevertheless, this movie is a must for every Beethoven fan, if not of master Abel Gance.
Let's hope to find soon a larger and better product than "Bethoveen in love".
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b0502a0) out of 5 stars "Immortal Beloved" done correctly... 28 Mar. 2000
By Johnny Woklin - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
"Un grand amour de Beethoven" (1936), Directed by Abel Gance, is so full of passion, love and music -- beautiful music! It is a lyrical biography with actors who are well cast and quite talented -- unlike the 1994 movie version "Immortal Beloved".
Harry Baur's acting performance, as Beethoven, is heart felt and very strong. Abel Gance was a true cinematic artist, we could see that in the restored version of his silent epic "Napoleon". But his movie version of the life of Beethoven may truly be his greatest achievement, his masterpiece.
If you love Beethoven's music and you long for movies that tell an interesting story with passion, heart, truth and honesty (unlike most of todays movies), I highly recommend this movie to you.
HASH(0x9b050dc8) out of 5 stars Great Fantasy! 21 Sept. 2014
By John E Klapproth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A great film with a moving plot: Two young women, his pupils, are in love with him. Thérèse de Brunsvik's love remains unrequited, even though she and Beethoven are engaged for years; Juliette Guicciardi, whom Beethoven loves but who marries a Count, regrets her decision, but by then he and Thérèse are engaged...

Alas, all fantasy (no wonder, made in 1936 when almost nothing was known about Beethoven's Only Beloved: Josephine! (2nd ed.): First English Biography of the Only Woman Beethoven Ever Loved (see also Beethoven and His "Immortal Beloved" Josephine Brunsvik: Her Fate and the Influence on Beethoven's OEuvre).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b050660) out of 5 stars Gance's Beethoven 2 July 2009
By Cliff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For Beethoven fans this is a unique and classic addition to the collection. Gance delivers a different portrayal of the great Maestro, occasionally happier, and not necessarily resembling " to a t " Ludwig Van's facial features. Like other Beethoven movies it touches on the " true to life" Immortal Beloved" mystery etc.. but all very reasonable and acceptable. There are very moving passages and the tears will be rolling. Even though It is a talking picture it has the feel of a silent movie, which fits perfectly the deaf Maestros sad situation. The first time I saw the movie it didn't grab me, maybe because I wasn't paying attention or being a modern viewer I had not acquired a taste for the atmosphere and pace of a very old flick. The second time however ( three years later ) it "bit me". Perfect casting with legendary actors of their era, Harry Baur, and a very young Jean Louis Barrault. Inspired visionary direction by Gance.
HASH(0x9b050228) out of 5 stars Un Grand Amour de Beethoven 23 Dec. 2013
By Alan N. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I very much like the movie and music is great. I wish some company will take care and to re-master the picture quality and the sound, though it is an old film. I still I highly recommend it for movie buffs.
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