The use of (partly extremely fast) cuts and montage to build up tension and to suggest increasing velocity is still marvellous. Also Gance's use of light and shadow, his way of showing the faces, is terrific. Robert Israel's music for the restored version is very good and founded on late romantic and early modern music, using elements from Arthur Honeggers "Pacific 231" to illustrate the train sequences.
One of the great silent films this marathon tale of tragic seduction proves thoroughly staisfying not only in terms of its formal innovations and the bold cinematography but also because of its ambitious content. The latter is diffused in various directions like work, life, happiness, love, technology, narrative structure all told through the schema of the circle. Sisyfian and Christological it is great human drama!
Une merveille du 7eme Art, inoubliable, géniale et unique, dont hélas la plupart des (rares) projections sont tronquées, raccourcies, amputées. Une excellente version DVD, d'une durée de 5 heures 05, est désormais disponible, projetée au Festival du Film Muet de Pordenone... www.cinefiches.com
Lust scorns frontiers. Watching the adult man's Circean degradation from the initial knightly Samaritan who rescues a girl from a train crash to his subsequent crush on her pubescently elongated legs, I was hell-bent (like locomotives in Part 1) to call it quits. But the "funicular-speed" slowdown in Part 2, its Bergfilm overtones (the first mountain film ever made coincidentally depicted a Mont Blanc ascent), lead's
OMG I've had relationships that seemed shorter than this film. Despite some fine examples of editorial technique during some sequences the film , for so slight a plot, goes on forever. Also not assisted by the mugging of lead Severin Mars. To think this 4 1/2 glacier was once near 9 hours is a staggering thought. The moments of brilliance do not compensate for the whole. The entire final hour is superfluous.
It wasn't until about 160 minutes in did the story finally grip me. Why did I stay for such a length when the film is already 273 minutes long? Because the filmmaking here is excellent, beginning to end. I can't imagine anyone who loves the art of the places cinema can take you not liking it. I was delighted to stay just to admire the craft, but the final hour truly repaid me with a heartbreaking finale.