The 1937 version of Abel Gance’s (1889–1981) J’Accuse is hardly the director’s best film, but I thought it would it would make an interesting and instructive companion piece to the 1919 silent version, which we showed in the recent To Save and Project festival. (Gance’s La Roue is familiar to Museum audiences, and we were unable to screen Napoleon because of the restoration work currently in progress.) The 1937 film begins at almost the end of World War I, after the male protagonists in the story’s love triangle have been reconciled. The original, a peculiar but impassioned antiwar epic, was mostly taken up with the rivalry of the two for the heroine, which was finally interrupted by the coming of the war. So the 1937 film is only partially a remake.
Posts tagged ‘Abel Gance’
These notes accompany the Abel Gance program on January 26, 27, and 28 in Theater 3.
Over the course of film history, there have been directors who chafed at the restrictions the medium seemed to impose on itself. D. W. Griffith established a revolutionary but enduring film grammar and enjoyed enormous success, albeit tainted by its subject matter, with The Birth of a Nation (1915). This encouraged him to envision the film fugue Intolerance (1916), which was too advanced for its time, too far outside the envelope for audiences to comfortably comprehend.
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