Got back too late last night to write anything remotely sensible about "Napoleon", but now that I've slept, I can happily report back that it was, as expected, a remarkable day. It's the third time I've seen the film live with Carl Davis conducting his score, and if I'm being ultra picky, perhaps he wasn't quite on the button last night - his tempi must have been microscopically out, as there were quite a lot of scenes where the music finished several seconds before the scene did. But I know how difficult it is to be accurate to the second over spans lasting quarter- or half-hours, so as I say, I'm being ultra picky. But he got some fine work out of the Philharmonia, and the film remains as remarkable as ever. The fact that it's about to be commercially released in the definitive Brownlow version will, I hope, lead to the film finally getting the acclaim it deserves as an actual film beyond its legendary reputation.
One really amazing moment last night, though - about ten minutes into the fourth act there's a scene where Napoleon visits the deserted Convention on the eve of his journey to Italy, and in front of the ghosts of Danton, Robespierre, Saint-Just and Marat, he spells out his vision for taking the revolution beyond France, and describes his vision of Europe, thus:
"Europe will become a single people, and anyone, wherever he travels, will always find himself in a common fatherland."
(and the title card bears the legend "Historical" at the foot, to indicate that it's based on contemporary sources)
A ripple of applause broke out in three or four pockets of the audience, and spread across the whole auditorium (clearly a pro-Remain crowd in last night, then!
). Carl Davis noticeably looked up at the screen to try to ascertain what had provoked the reaction...
And speaking of the imminent dvd/Blu-ray release, they were indeed selling some pre-release copies, so I snapped up a Blu-ray! Just having a spin of the fourth act now, and thankfully, they've put the whole triptych on in the 4:1 ratio, rather than zooming in and out or cutting between the panels (there is also the option to have a single-screen ending rather than the triptych - additionally, each of the three discs features one of the triptych panels in isolation, to allow for a closer reading of the imagery in each one, after all there is a LOT to take in during the triptych!). The one annoyance is about the package - the outer box is nice, but the inner part is a fold out card panel with the discs in slots, rather than on spindles like you'd have in a keep-case. I'm really not a fan of having to slide the playing surface of discs over the packaging like that!
But anyway, looking forward to getting to know the whole package in more detail soon. Stanley, you're in for a treat, and to anyone else who's wanted to see the film in the past but hasn't had the opportunity to do so, I heartily recommend the release when it hits the shelves in three weeks.