‘Napoléon’ – a new restoration

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The BFI has announced details of a new chapter in the remarkable history of Napoléon, Abel Gance’s 5 ½-hour silent epic, which was feared lost until the film historian Kevin Brownlow set about piecing it together by tracking down surviving prints more than 60 years ago.

 

A new digital version of the film will be shown in cinemas and made available on DVD and Blu-ray as well as on the BFI Player this autumn, accompanied by Davis’s ground-breaking score, written for the then partially restored film’s screening at the London Film Festival in 1980. In November the film, which dramatises Napoléon’s youth and early career, will be screened at the Festival Hall with Davis’s score – the longest ever composed for a silent film – performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by the composer.

 

Heather Stewart, the BFI’s Creative Director, said:  'Napoléon is a landmark in the history of cinema and we are grateful to all of the great talents who have helped us along the way but especially, of course, Kevin Brownlow for his indefatigable championing of the film and Carl Davis for his amazing score.’