Thursday, May 10, 2018


"With his silent productions, J'Accuse, La Roue, and Napoleon, he (Abel Gance) made a fuller use of the medium than anyone else."-Kevin Brownlow, The Parade's Gone By

"What is marvelous about Napoleon and La Roue is the narrative enthusiasm, the sweeping exposition of events, and the way the images reveal interior feelings through dynamic editing."-David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film

I knew about Abel Gance's Napoleon, but I had no knowledge of his epic drama La Roue (The Wheel).

But it really is a masterpiece of early cinema...the production design, the use of editing and dramatic storytelling.

And plotwise, it features a doomed romance...make that two doomed romances...make that three.

Of course, the fact that the plot borders on incest may be a little uncomfortable for some...

But there are trains...Lots and lots of trains!

And what about Severin-Mars, the star of the movie who is listed as dying in 1921...two years before the release of La Roue? Not even a Wikipedia article about the man?

I think he should at least warrant a Wikipedia article....Maybe I'll write one.

And a special mention to the engineer's loyal dog Toby. I had to at least mention Toby.

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go-Watching the Wheels, John Lennon


  1. Severin-Mars died two year before the release??? How long did it take to make this movie?
    Or was he edited into the movie, some 1921 CGI?

  2. Release date is listed as February 17, 1923. Severin-Mars death date in IMDB is listed as July 17, 1921. The film is listed from other sources as being in production from 1921-1923, I assume with the Severin-Mars scenes already shot. Or maybe it was just Peter Cushing all along!

  3. I saw it a few years ago and I like to think of it as "What if the French hired Bunuel to direct ten to 12 really weird episodes of "Petticoat Junction"?"