Abel Gance’s silent epic “Napoleon” has had a turbulent history since its premiere in 1927, but the film has not yet met its Waterloo, thanks to Kevin Brownlow. The cinema historian has spent decades restoring the film’s scattered fragments. Starting this weekend, the five-and-a-half hour account of young Napoleon Bonaparte’s life will be shown at Oakland’s Paramount Theater, complete with symphony orchestra and requisite three-screen finale. We discuss the film and its significance in film history.
Anita Monga, artistic director of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Kevin Brownlow, film historian and filmmaker