La Roue (La Rose du rail) (The Wheel) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

La Roue (La Rose du rail) (The Wheel) Reviews

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½ June 29, 2014
Too elaborate and repetitive; the story loses interest. It needed a lot of editing to have pace.
½ January 5, 2014
I forced myself to watch this, due to its important place in film history, and was dreading the 4 1/2 hours of viewing to come. However, I was quite surprised with how engaged I was throughout. It is slow, melodramatic, and tedious at times - but likewise full of beauty, and washes over the senses like a daydream. It is also quite dark and a bit depressing - but in a poetic & symphonic way. It was a similar experience to listening to compositions by Debussey while gazing out a window as Spring blooms or Autumn falls.

I admit that I was annoyed at the continual overwrought expressions made my Sisif (Severin-Mars), and particularly his eye aerobics upon going blind. A touch of subtlety would have been nice. Overall I enjoyed it. I wouldn't want to watch it again - but I'm glad I finally did!
½ January 19, 2013
Abel Gance's La Roue, is the epic story about the railroad worker Sisif, who witness a fatal train crash that causes many people's life. He rescue a young girl named Norma English from the ruins, whom he adopts and raise as his own, along with his own son, Elie. Then we jump fifteen years forward in time, where we see a drunken and miserable Sisif, who is that way because he has fallen in love with his own adoptive daughter. His son does not know, but there is still a very strong connection between them. Sisif tells this secret to the railroad owner Jacques de Hersan, who propose that he might help Sisif, by marrying the young and beautiful Norma, in order to take her off Sisif's mind. Which of course Sisif does. But does it really help?

La Roue is a masterpiece of epic proportions. Gance's use of fast editing is also quiet amazing. This was some years before Sergei Eisenstein started experimenting. We have the fast editing when the train is rolling too fast, to make us audience more scared. And it also feature the very first "life flashed before my eyes" scene, with a bunch of random images from the past. There's no doubt that La Roue is a technical wonder. But the story itself is also great. It's an epic tale about forbidden love and selfless devotion. It's such a deep story, with a lot of deep characters. It's certainly no ordinary love story. It might even be something that todays directors can learn from. Thumbs up.
½ July 17, 2012
Not too bad, but less than 4.5 hours would have been nicer. I guess I should be glad this was the short version.
April 3, 2012
At times La Roue was exciting yet too many times it drug on without an end in sight. There were some amazing shots and camera work as Abel Gance really brought some new ideas to light. The acting became a bit overdone and Severin-Mars who played the father tried so hard to roll up his eyes to appear blind that it lost its effect on the viewer. La Roue had all of the elements to be a good movie and is a decent movie but at four and a half hours it just drug on way to much. Not for people looking for a good movie but one that film buffs and historians should seek out.
March 26, 2012
Though full of beautiful images and jaw-dropping camera work, I found the story to be too melodramitc to qualify as a supreme epic. Still wonderful, not amazing.
March 25, 2012
gance takes 2 the rails in this silent
December 26, 2011
At times La Roue was exciting yet too many times it drug on without an end in sight. There were some amazing shots and camera work as Abel Gance really brought some new ideas to light. The acting became a bit overdone and Severin-Mars who played the father tried so hard to roll up his eyes to appear blind that it lost its effect on the viewer. La Roue had all of the elements to be a good movie and is a decent movie but at four and a half hours it just drug on way to much. Not for people looking for a good movie but one that film buffs and historians should seek out.
November 24, 2011
Overlong and thin on story, Abel Gance's film remains eminently watchable. Its visual technique never fails to dazzle--varied use of filters, superimposed images, shots from all angles, creative framing, and an often aggressive use of montage all contribute to what is ultimately a tale told with visuals. However, 4.5 hours is inexplicable as a running time for what is essentially a simple melodrama of familial love and obsession.
March 9, 2011
Originally 9 hours? 4 hours and 22 minutes made a long enough melodrama about two pathetic schlubs pining for the same lady. Pioneers some filmmaking techniques, though, so I'm not saying it's a waste of time by any stretch.
½ January 30, 2011
Overrated, melodramatic, but with some memorable images.
½ December 4, 2010
finally found and finished this one. i'm now up to date. it was sort of like "There"s Something About Mary" only it's 4 1/2 hours long, has a lot of trains, and everyone dies at the end. sorry for the spoiler but you aren't going to watch it anyway.
½ February 26, 2010
Silent film makers held nothing back, and the original cut of Abel Gance's excellent feature The Wheel originally ran about nine hours. But even in its pared down form, none of the film's power to haunt and mystify is lost.
April 16, 2009
somehow this film really works in spite of being highly melodramatic and quite often self consciously arty. it's very emotional though and it contains many poetic images.
½ January 13, 2009
Endlessly inventive irises and overlays, but at the cost of being, well, endless.
January 6, 2009
4 1/2 hours is too long for any movie, let alone a silly one about creepy incestuous idiots.
December 27, 2008
It's tedious, but once you get through the four hour film, you'll never forget it. It's much like what I call, "The Kubrick Effect." It's one of those films you sit through and you feel pressured to pay attention to every detail because you think it will all pull together in the end. Well, it does and it doesn't. The film DOES have an end, but at the very moment when the production credits begin to roll, you'll feel a little disappointed. However, after a few minutes, you'll begin to put it all together in your head and it'll make a huge impresion on you. The film is not a circular journey, as is the popular style to make movies in America. There is no glitzy glamour to this film, except for the very vreative use of cinematogprahy and editing. Gance made the camera a cannon which fired images rapidly for intense sequences which he would later repeat in his most famous film NAPOLEON. The Kubrick Effect is that you can probably only sit through the film, in it's entirety, once. You feel drawn to view fragments, but you know you couldn't possibly sit through it all at once again. The reason I call it The Kubrick effect is that most of Stanley Kubrick's film strike me the same way---espescially A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. David Shepard, who produced this film for video, told me that after the reconstruction was completed, another reel was discovered. Although I am more than curious to see what the reel adds to the film, I agree with him that the story is more than complete and there is not much more that can be added to it, unless it developed the early downfall of Sisif's mental capacity and subsequent blindness, further developing the subplot of the love traingle between Sisif, his son and his adopted daughter. The memories of various scenes and images, specifically the brawl between Pierre Magnierre and Gabirle de Gravone on the cliff and the unusually placid ending to the film---the look of peace on Sisif's face. Gance is a great director, and my favorite of french cinema. This film is a must see for anyone who wants to learn anything about early film in the making and the score by Robert Isreal is etheral and beautifully orchestrated. My hat goes off to Film Preservation Assosciates and Flicker Alley forthis marvelous primiere release (primiere meaning that this is the first American release of the film since it's 1923 theatrical release).
June 29, 2008
It's been a real privilege seeing this 270-minute Abel Gance-epic! Thank you "Flicker Alley" for a great DVD-release and Robert Israel for the amazing new score!
½ June 25, 2008
Brilliant, groundbreaking, boring, frustrating, ahead of its time, and antiquated. This is not the first silent film a person should ever see (try City Lights instead). On the other hand, despite the incredibly slow pace, the power and beauty of the cinematography make it worth the time.
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