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 Post subject: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:17 am 
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On 24 July, Abel Gance’s J’accuse (1938) will be released in a Dual Format Edition. Following the BFI’s award-winning release of the director’s epic Napoleon last year, this celebrated anti-war classic was a remake of Gance’s earlier 1919 silent film and will showcase a new High Definition restoration.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:30 am 
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1916 ? Isn't it rather 1919 ?


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:37 am 
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It is indeed - fixed!


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:57 am 
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Image


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:20 am 
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Both versions included. [-o<


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:47 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:55 pm
L.A. wrote:
Both versions included. [-o<

That would be wonderful. But I could not find that in the description provided.
Could you please provide the source of that information? Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:49 am 
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He is praying for them to add it.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:33 pm 
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That certificate is wrong as well - it was passed 12 recently. It was an H in 1938.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:05 pm 
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I wonder who has the rights to the silent version in the UK if not the BFI. MoC hopefully. If not MoC, it'd be a nice start for Arrow's silent film catalogue.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:38 am 
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kekid wrote:
That would be wonderful.

Wouldn't it?

kekid wrote:
But I could not find that in the description provided.

Me neither because it isn't there.

kekid wrote:
Could you please provide the source of that information? Thank you.

Unfortunately, I can't. Like swo mentioned couple posts back, I was praying that they would add the silent version as well.

Do these answer your questions?


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:54 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:55 pm
L.A. wrote:
kekid wrote:
That would be wonderful.

Wouldn't it?

kekid wrote:
But I could not find that in the description provided.

Me neither because it isn't there.

kekid wrote:
Could you please provide the source of that information? Thank you.

Unfortunately, I can't. Like swo mentioned couple posts back, I was praying that they would add the silent version as well.

Do these answer your questions?

Thank you; and I am sorry that after all these years of being on the forum I still cannot tell when a statement is an assertion and when it is a wish. Any way, thank you for clearing it up.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02 am
I guess this edition will contain the post-WWII re-edit of the film, out on US Blu from Olive Films.


SPOILERS



Originally, the film ended with Victor Francen burning at the stake, then returning to the Verdun graveyard.
This ending can be seen in the 1991 restoration by Robert A. Harris, out on VHS in the US from Corinth Video.
https://www.hometheaterforum.com/commun ... ay.350041/
Descriptions of this scene here:

https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream ... sequence=2
See p. 14 and p. 32, note 35

https://trailersfromhell.com/jaccuse-1938/

http://filmint.nu/?p=20033

https://books.google.se/books?id=za8Fam ... ns&f=fals


END SPOILERS



Gaumont has announced a box set for 2017 with the 1919 and 1938 versions, the 1956 version in Magirama, the short "Gaz mortels" (1916) and the feature "La fin du monde" (1931): http://www.dvdclassik.com/article/entre ... umont-2017

Sadly, this box will not include the alternate ending for the 1938 version. I asked Jérome Soûlet, head of home video at Gaumont, about this on the DVD Classik forum. Mr. Soulet replied that Gaumont decided not to include this material, since they haven´t found all missing footage, and there was a time limit.

The alternate ending was once up on Dailymotion, then taken down (breach of rights).


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:00 pm 
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I would hope the 1919 version of the film would be seen as fit to warrant its own release! I'll still get this one, of course.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:45 am 
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Full specs announced:
Quote:
J’accuse
A film by Abel Gance


Dual Format Edition (DVD/Blu-ray) release on 24 July 2017

From the director of the silent epic Napoleon, and acclaimed as one of cinema’s finest anti-war movies, Abel Gance’s rousing indictment of warfare is as powerful and relevant today as it was on its original release in 1938.

Previously unreleased in the UK, J’accuse comes to DVD and Blu-ray, presented in a Dual Format Edition and released by the BFI on 24 July 2017. Special features include a new full-length audio commentary by leading Gance expert Paul Cuff.

Having experienced the horrors of the First World War, idealistic inventor Jean Diaz (Victor Francen, A Farewell to Arms) hopes to harness technological innovation in his bid to prevent further barbarity. But a meddling and unscrupulous bureaucracy allows Jean’s plans to be hijacked as Europe slides towards another great conflict.

Using his epic 1919 silent version of the film as a template, Gance pits mankind’s romanticism against its capacity for savagery. Originally released on the eve of the Second World War (and the same year as Jean Renoir's La Grande Illusion), J’accuse urges us to honour the memory of the fallen by learning the lessons of a catastrophic past.

Special features
• Presented in High Definition and Standard Definition
• New full-length audio commentary by leading Gance expert Paul Cuff
• Stills and special collections gallery
• Illustrated booklet written and compiled by Paul Cuff, including a specially commissioned essay and newly translated contemporary reviews

Product details
RRP: £19.99/ Cat. no. BFIB1285 / Cert 12
France / 1938 / black and white / 119 mins / French with English subtitles / original aspect ratio 1.37:1
BD50: 1080p, 24fps, PCM 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/24-bit)
DVD9: PAL, 25fps, PCM 2.0 mono audio (48kHz/16-bit)

And here's a clip.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am
Same cut as the Olive, I presume?


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:18 pm
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Both Olive and the BFI rely on the same recent restoration by the CNC/Gaumont. As with so many of Gance’s other films, the release history of the 1938 J’accuse is rather confusing…

Between Gance showing a 4510m (162 minute) print to his producers in January 1938, the film was reduced (with Gance’s reluctant approval) for a test screening at Villeparisis in mid January 1938, then again (with Gance’s even more reluctant approval) for its exclusive first-run at L’Ermitage cinema in Paris in late January 1938, then again (without any consultation with Gance) for its general release in February 1938 – by which point it was only 3300m (119 minutes). It was shown in the UK in April 1938 with a length of approx. 2860m (103 minutes), and was distributed in the US in late 1939 (as That They May Live) in a print of approx. 2000m (73 minutes). It reappeared in France in 1946-7 when it was reduced to either 2750m (99 minutes) or 2900m (104 minutes) – the only two sources I could find offer different figures here.

The Gaumont restoration (as issued in the US by Olive and in the UK by the BFI) is 119 minutes (3300m) and represents a version that likely accords with the general release version of 1938 (with one notable exception, discussed below). The Robert A. Harris restoration (as issued in the US on VHS in 1991) is 125 minutes (approx. 3460m) and includes about six minutes of footage missing from the Gaumont print. (There was also a VHS release in France in 1997, which is listed as 90 minutes long [approx. 2600m, presuming 4% SECAM speed-up] – but I’ve not seen this copy.)

The footage missing from Gaumont’s version that is included in Harris’s version consists of some very minor cuts to some scenes, as well as some significant (though still brief) scenes cut in their entirety. The Gaumont print also contains at least one instance of a sequence being put in a different place – I imagine that the film’s distributors did this to distract the viewer from what would otherwise be a shoddy censorial ellipsis right in the middle of a scene. The Harris restoration seems to switch from one source print to another for all the above instances – I can only presume he took his footage from at least two different prints. (Given that the above scenes possess subtitles in a different size and font, I’m guessing that they derive from an earlier export print – 16mm, by the looks of it – which already had subtitles. The description by Kramer and Welsh in their book on Gance implies that the 16mm print of 116 minutes they viewed in the early 1970s contained all the additional fragments mentioned above, but was missing the original ending [see below]. It may be that some export prints of J’accuse were assembled before the French general release cut was finalized, hence a small amount of footage was preserved in the former while being lost from the latter.)

In comments cited by Stefan Andersson (see earlier post), Harris suggests that the Gaumont print is “the reissue version” from 1946, but this doesn’t account for its longer overall running time. The only element in the Gaumont version that certainly dates from 1946 is the rolling text that appears at the very end. (It is essentially a repeat of an earlier shot, over which new text has been superimposed – i.e. this is Gance’s footage from 1938 but the distributor’s text from 1946.) Other than this one instance, I would be confident to assert that everything preceeding it derives from 1938. This includes what Harris calls the “happy ending”. I’m not sure if he is implying this ending appears only in the 1946 reissue version, and/or if he thinks it was an imposition by Gance’s distributors. This ending is in fact detailed in Gance’s screenplay, as well as being described in the synopsis issued at the premiere, and cited in contemporary press reviews. In sum, it was always meant to be there in 1938 and it always was there in 1938 – no one had need to add it in 1946.

Just to be clear on this issue of “alternate” endings, here is the original order of events in the finale of J’accuse – as per Gance’s wishes in 1938:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
the dead rise up and cause panic, Diaz is burned at the stake by terrified locals, Flo drops dead beside him, Diaz and Flo join the legions of the dead, the march of the dead halts war, universal peace is declared, the dead return to Verdun, The End.

By comparison, this is how the Harris restoration ends:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
the dead rise up and cause panic, Diaz is burned at the stake by terrified locals, Flo drops dead beside him, Diaz and Flo join the legions of the dead, the dead return to Verdun, The End.

By comparison, this is how the Gaumont restoration ends:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
the dead rise up and cause panic, the march of the dead halts war, universal peace is declared, the dead return to Verdun, The End.

Though the absence of Diaz’s ultimate fate on the Gaumont print is unfortunate, I think the exclusion of the final sequence on Harris’s restoration is far more narratively/morally significant – after all, it negates the entire purpose of Diaz’s mission and also that of Gance’s film.

If you added the one (final) sequence included on Gaumont’s print to Harris’s (otherwise longer) print, you would get something around 128 minutes (3545m) – still around 34 minutes shorter than Gance’s preferred pre-release cut. Whether any of the latter material survives somewhere… well, who knows. But in the meantime, let us be thankful that J’accuse is being released at all – and in a version which at least presents us with an approximation of what most French audiences in 1938-9 would have seen in cinemas.

(As per the Beaver review, the BFI release has significant extras whereas the Olive has none at all.)


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:09 am 
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Great post. Thanks for the detailed run-down.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02 am
Clé du Ciel -- thank you very much! Wonderful post. Good to have all that background information.


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 Post subject: Re: J'accuse (1938)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:13 am 
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La Clé du Ciel wrote:
It was shown in the UK in April 1938 with a length of approx. 2860m (103 minutes),


According to the May 1938 issue of Monthly Film Bulletin, it was 104 minutes and 9377 feet (2858m). However, interestingly the BBFC passed a longer version on 12 April that year - 121:53 or 10970 feet (3343m). It was given the old H certificate - for "horrific",not that often used, and naturally mostly for horror films, with some councils restricting H films to the over-sixteens. (It's now a BBFC 12.) The distributor was given by the BBFC as Miss G Wolf. She presumably had something to do with Curzon the distributors, as the MFB listing names them. It played at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair, premiering on Thursday 5 May 1938. The review in The Times under the heading "New Films in London" is from Monday 9 May.


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