La Roue (La Rose du rail) (The Wheel) (1923)
Critic Reviews for La Roue (La Rose du rail) (The Wheel)
This 1923 family tragedy from the director of Napoleon dates badly today: the restored four-and-a-half-hour print is often agonizing to sit through.
Gance took this moldy, soapy story about a railroad man who adopts a young orphan girl and turned into a sprawling, half-mad, 4-1/2 hour masterpiece.
Gance's command of cinematic vocabulary is simply breathtaking...required viewing for anyone who cares about the development of movies as a form of communication.
[Abel Gance] is a master conductor who plays scenes like symphonies of feelings...
Audience Reviews for La Roue (La Rose du rail) (The Wheel)
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!
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.
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.
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