The Last Battle


Thanks to Reveletor60 for supplying me with a subtitled copy of Abel Gance’s not-even-final-film AUSTERLITZ — so this edition of The Late Show: The Late Movies Blogathon can begin with an edition of The Forgotten on that august subject. Click here.

I’ve been really lazy and haven’t chased anyone up to contribute this year. Still, I hope there will be entries. Use the comments section to announce them, or send me texts and I’ll publish here.

[Cold, Felliniesque wind whistles through…]



2 Responses to “The Last Battle”

  1. revelator60 Says:

    Happy to help! I agree about the airlessness of the first half, though the bit with the coronation models was a charming attempt to compensate for the limited budget. Gance-Mondy’s Napoleon is contrasts strongly to the 1927 God-among-men version in his pettiness, adulteries, and blaming of others for the murder of the duc d’Enghien.

    It’s tough to pinpoint Gance’s true swansong—Bonaparte et la révolution is more of a remix than a new work, while there are two Victor Hugo adaptations (Marie Tudor and Varmy) made for TV in the late 60s. The theatrical feature he made in 1964, Cyrano et d’Artagnan, might be the most likely swansong; unfortunately it’s not available with subtitles. The feature he made before Austerlitz, La tour de Nesle (1955), is also on an un-subtitled DVD, but as I mentioned a while back it closely follows its source play, which has been translated as “The Tower” by Charles Wood. It’s a lush, slightly kinky film and worth a viewing.

  2. Agree re the charming miniature coronation: a creative dodge when faced with an inadequate budget is always preferable to a lumpen attempt at compromised epic.

    I’m very intrigued by Cyrano et D’Artagnan: it’s written in blank verse and has Jose Ferrer reprising his big-nosed turn, and Jean-Pierre Cassel is sure to be a fine swashbuckler. Incidentally, he gets to play Cyrano in Richard Lester’s ill-fated Return of the Musketeers, having played King Louis in M3 and M4. Lester liked having him around.

    La Tour de Nesle was Nelly Kaplan’s first collaboration with AG. And slightly kinky? Sounds intriguing. Gance had a fairly overt sexy side, though alas in Austerlitz it’s limited to the fine assortment of busty ladies.

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