L.A. wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 18, 2021 3:05 pm
surely you’d think Gaumont
and Národní filmový archiv
have good relations so shouldn’t be a problem?
I wish I knew more about the background to the release to answer this. It may be that Gaumont simply did not have the means or interest to pursue a more complex presentation of surviving material. As discussed here
, this is also what happened with Gance’s J’ACCUSE (1938), where Gaumont did not pursue the possibility of a longer restoration for their Blu-ray release.
Regarding the Czech copy, a few years ago I contacted the Národní filmový archiv to ask about LA FIN DU MONDE. I was told their print was in too fragile a condition for study, so I was never able to see it. At 1700m (c.61 minutes), it may not contain anything that isn’t already in the Gaumont print – hence it not being deemed worthy of a digital transfer for the Blu-ray.
A potentially more interesting alternate print would be the US release version of the film, THE END OF THE WORLD (1934). Though it uses the French-language version as its basis (the planned English-language version was seemingly never completed in 1931), it at least offers evidence of how the film was handled by foreign distributors. THE END OF THE WORLD circulated on various “grey market” DVD-Rs, but I’ve no idea where the original print came from. It did have a few fragments not in the Gaumont print (as well as a huge amount of additional stock footage, and a ghastly “prologue”). The only example I particularly remember is the film’s very first music cue, the Dies Irae theme. You can hear the whole theme at the start of the US version, whereas you only get the last couple of notes in the Gaumont print.
For me, the most interesting alternate would have been any surviving copies of the German-language version of the film, DAS ENDE DER WELT. I recently discovered that at least one archive holds material from this version, a fact that no source has ever mentioned. It does make you wonder what else it out there.
It would be nice to think any/all surviving versions of LA FIN DU MONDE could come together in one package, but it may never happen. Besides, this wouldn’t be a film by Abel Gance unless it were whelmed in unending complications that forever postponed its ultimate presentation…