40 L'Argent

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Cronenfly
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40 L'Argent

#1 Post by Cronenfly » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:44 pm

L'Argent

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Adapted from Émile Zola's novel of the same name, Marcel L'Herbier's L'Argent [Money] is an opulent classic of late-silent era cinema. Filmed in part on location at the Paris stock exchange, it reveals a world of intrigue, greed, decadence, and ultimately corruption and scandal when business dealings and amorous deceit combine.

Business tycoons Saccard and Gunderman lock horns when the former attempts to raise capital for his faltering bank. To inflate the price of his stock, Saccard concocts a duplicitous publicity stunt involving the unwitting aviator Hamelin and a flight across the Atlantic to drill for oil, much to the dismay of his wife Line. While Hamelin is away, the lascivious Saccard attempts to seduce Line, whose own temptation by the allure of money puts herself and her husband in danger – pawns in a high-stakes chess game played out by unscrupulous speculators.

With an all-star cast (Brigitte Helm and Alfred Abel, fresh from Fritz Lang's Metropolis, alongside Pierre Alcover, Yvette Guilbert, and luminary of the French avant-garde Antonin Artaud) and a mammoth budget, L'Argent is comparable in period and scale with other celebrated epics of the silent era, such as Abel Gance's Napoléon. With its use of portable cameras that literally descend into the Bourse and revolve around its lavish contours, L'Argent represents a type of cinematic Impressionism distinctive to the "silent art" – a poetry that would change forever with the coming of sound.

Special Features:

• A pristine transfer from a fine grain print struck from the original negative, featuring the director's cut fought for by L'Herbier over many years, the film speed as projected in the late 1920s, and the entirety of each frame fully displayed
• New and improved English subtitles
• Newly improvised musical accompaniment by French composer and pianist Jean-François Zygel, who also provides a video introduction to the film and a documentary about accompanying silent cinema
About L'Argent [Autour de L'Argent] (1928), Jean Dréville's 40 minute "making of" documentary
• Archival footage of star Brigitte Helm (fresh from Fritz Lang's Metropolis) arriving in Paris for the shooting of L'Herbier's film
• Archival screen-tests of the L'Argent actors
Marcel L'Herbier: Poet of the Silent Art (2007), a 54 minute documentary profiling the director
• A demonstration of L'Herbier's innovative sound techniques, which used 78rpm records during key scenes of L'Argent
• A lavish 80-page perfect-bound booklet with archival publicity stills, a long essay by noted professor of French film Richard Abel, newly translated interviews with L'Herbier, and newly translated extracts from the director's biography.
Last edited by Cronenfly on Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#2 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:47 pm

Cronenfly wrote:Confirmed by Beaver as coming in October as a 2-disc set. It's the silent 1928 Marcel L'Herbier film.

MoC's really digging into France...
Badass again.

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#3 Post by denti alligator » Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:01 pm

This is really fantastic news!

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#4 Post by david hare » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:42 pm

I hope this will port the phenomenal second disc of extras from the Carlotta release.

Nick?

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#5 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:50 pm

It's like MOC is my own personal label with all these wonderful new French releases!

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#6 Post by zedz » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:32 pm

Woo-hoo! Looks like this is MoC's year. Is this the first English-territory release of anything by L'Herbier?

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#7 Post by Steven H » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:37 am

Just *WOW*. I couldn't be more excited to see this. L'Herbier is one of the most exciting silent film directors for me (which is saying a lot, since I get kind of excited about great silent film directors in general.)

There are so (too) many excellent MoC releases to buy this year.

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#8 Post by mikeohhh » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:41 am

my knowledge of MoC trivia is failing me: what used to be spine #40?

I am thrilled by this news, but I have to ask: L'Inhumaine is the L'Herbier I've really been after. 1924 is a year on the "awful teaser" thread. Could it... ?

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#9 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:13 am

Lang's Die Nibelungen

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#10 Post by SoyCuba » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:13 am

mikeohhh wrote:my knowledge of MoC trivia is failing me: what used to be spine #40?
I think it was reserved for Nibelungen previously, but the release has since been postponed to 2010 or possibly even futher.

Anyway, this is amazing news!

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#11 Post by Tommaso » Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:40 am

Fantastic news, of course. But as a result of Nick just teasing and not saying this was coming, stupidly (or not) I bought the French 2-discer just last month; and it's plain fabulous. Indeed MoC should port the second disc of that as well. A fantastic documentary on L'Herbier and other things....

Well, I think I have to take an OrangeCrush on this MoC release.

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#12 Post by Cabiria21 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:50 pm

zedz wrote:Woo-hoo! Looks like this is MoC's year. Is this the first English-territory release of anything by L'Herbier?
No. Image released La Nuit Fantastique.

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#13 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:48 am

How the fuck did this get by me?

Yessssssssssssssss...

Tom, we're not going to have much left to trade if the year keeps playing out like this.

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#14 Post by rollotomassi » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:47 am

It seems with the removal of the cover picture that this release has bit the dust indefinitely. There was never a release date, there are MoCs planned for November, so I'd say it will be at least spring 2009 before we hear anything more.

Can peerpee update us, please. I can wait as I have the French version and have my own Eng subs, but intend to buy the MoC if it is eventually forthcoming.

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#15 Post by peerpee » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:25 am

The cover has been removed from where?

It's on track. L'ARGENT will be our only November release. We've moved a bunch of titles into 2009 because we'd bitten off more than we can chew, and we need to have a little holiday.

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#16 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:55 am

Even so, and I'm not kissing ass, this has been MOC's year. You shamed Criterion at every turn

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#17 Post by denti alligator » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:31 pm

domino harvey wrote:Even so, and I'm not kissing ass, this has been MOC's year. You shamed Criterion at every turn
I agree it was MoC's year (bravo!), but no shame to Criterion: Vampyr, Varda set, Silent Ozu, Lubitsch Musicals, Brand Upon the Brain, Salo reissue, and Blu-ray! Nothing to belittle.

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#18 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:33 pm

domino harvey wrote:Even so, and I'm not kissing ass, this has been MOC's year. You shamed Criterion at every turn
probably true.. I just realized yesterday, when picking up these new Fox Noir titles hitting the streets that I had no idea-- and this was really a first for me-- what the release schedule was for CC.. i e what's hitting the streets this month, what's hitting the streets next month, etc. That's something I'd always carry around in my head, fully memorized, with itchy fingers & a restless wallet. Beyond the Ophuls (and perhaps these last Melvilles, though I can't believe they're still blooping over the crucial Silence de la mer.. a sub job I'd be interested in seeing) I really have little idea what's on deck.

A bunch of color films no doubt haw haw haw... this actually may be the first year that CC released about as many color films as b&w-- maybe more in fact.

"Not that (scratch scracth) there's anything wrong (scratch scratch) with that".

Pardon moi. Hives, you understand.

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#19 Post by Finch » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:25 pm

Glad to hear L'Argent is still on track. Will there be any December releases, Nick?

I found Criterion's line-up this year underwhelming myself, only Vampyr and their reissue of High & Low have stood out for me personally. As of now, the BFI's The Long Day Closes release is my favourite DVD release of the year but MoC have undoubtedly done some sterling work in 2008 (my personal fave is their Chikamatsu Monogatari edition but also really appreciated the reissue of Der letzte Mann).

PS.: Just wanted to add that while many haven't been overly impressed with Criterion this year, it's easy to forget how utterly disappointing Warner have been this year. No Greed, no Ambersons, no The Crowd.. The reissue of LA Confidential and the October release of The Picture of Dorian Gray as well as the last Looney Tunes set are the only Warner titles that I've been looking forward to all year.

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#20 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:53 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:A bunch of color films no doubt haw haw haw... this actually may be the first year that CC released about as many color films as b&w-- maybe more in fact.
Sorry to be pedantic, but no! 18 of the Criterion releases have been colour films so far this year versus 21 black and white films. I excluded Brand Upon The Brain for being both.

In terms of the Eclipse films, there have been 14 black and white films versus 5 in colour.

Though I can understand many of the black and white films being considered 'minor' (i.e. the two Louis Malle films, Miss Julie, Blast Of Silence, Death Of A Cyclist, Mafioso, Classe tous risques, Fanfan La Tulipe, The Small Back Room), reissues and as such of limited interest (24 Eyes, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold) or actual addendums such as Patriotism when compared with the major in reputation releases both in studio terms (The Ice Storm, Mishima) or 'classic' films that come from director's colour periods (Pierrot Le Fou, Autumn Afternoon, Thief Of Bagdad), they've all been pretty important releases in their own rights.

I think it's been a pretty good year for both Criterion and MoC so far, especially considering the huge upheaval of Blu Ray causing confusion and holding consumers off from buying DVDs.

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#21 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:40 pm

There's been a handful of good releases, but taken on a whole, this has been Criterion's worst year since I've been following the label, and certainly MOC's best-- more risks, more surprises, mo' money mo' money

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#22 Post by Finch » Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:44 pm

Last off-topic post of mine: completely forgot about Anthony Mann's The Furies which I love to death, third-act flaws and all. That's the one Criterion release that's stuck with me the most but La Ronde and Autumn Afternoon could still change that (not seen the Ophuls but love the Ozu and am more curious about the extras at this point than the film itself, the Bordwell commentary sounds very promising). The other unseen film in the line-up that I reckon might pleasantly surprise me is Missing.

Overall though, I agree it's been a fantastic year for our UK labels who've equalled or surpassed CC's efforts for much of 2008. Like domino, I've waited for new MoC (and BFI) annoucements with greater anticipation than Criterion who haven't had enough major discoveries like the Bernard set this year. L'Argent excites me more than any of Criterion's November releases but I'm hoping there's still more to come in December from either label.

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#23 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:44 pm

colinr0380 wrote:Sorry to be pedantic, but no! 18 of the Criterion releases have been colour films so far this year versus 21 black and white films. I excluded Brand Upon The Brain for being both.
Why, you... (trembling... beads of sweat jumping out on forehead) you... (fists balling).. Pedantic British Person, you!

Actually, not a problem, Colin.. I knew my typing the post above would trigger someone to Sort By Spine and count em up! I was too lazy to count up, which is why I said this "may" be the first year yadda yadda. The whole point of the post was to work my way to the punchline sum-up of the year for CC as "a bunch of color films". I cracked up when typing it, because even if inaccurate, it distills well the vision of the 08 catalog in my mind.

So I for one don't agree it was a good year for CC-- at least not when measured against previous years. Never since the birth of the label have I bought so few CC's. The majority of films (besides a few gems like the Mann & of course Vampyr and Ophuls, etc) just don't register for me in sum as knockdown all-out classics. But that's just my tastes, which are well known around here.

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#24 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:03 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:I knew my typing the post above would trigger someone to Sort By Spine and count em up!
No problem, I did a quick check over a nice cup of tea! Though I'm surprised that a year in which Criterion finally releases three silent films (alebit the long in coming Ozus) can be considered too modern!
So I for one don't agree it was a good year for CC-- at least not when measured against previous years. Never since the birth of the label have I bought so few CC's. The majority of films (besides a few gems like the Mann & of course Vampyr and Ophuls, etc) just don't register for me in sum as knockdown all-out classics. But that's just my tastes, which are well known around here.
I generally agree with the gist of your argument - MoC and the BFI in particular have been extremely eclectic and exciting in their releases recently while Criterion seem to have had a more of a consolidation year again.

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#25 Post by Tommaso » Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:08 am

I certainly agree about this having been the worst year for CC since the company started releasing dvds; however we should not forget the Eclipse line, which had some extremely exciting releases. Lubitsch Musicals, Shepitko and of course the forthcoming Mizoguchi set completely made my day (nay, weeks...). Haven't seen Silent Ozu yet, but would assume it's equally great. One should also probably consider "High and Low" and "Salò" as new releases. The difference to the original releases in both transfers and especially extras is so big that there's virtually no resemblance between them anymore. Perhaps in the forthcoming year's end poll this development should be reflected by no longer splitting-up the categories into new releases, re-releases and Eclipse releases. I'm sure none of the 'new' releases in the main line would make it into the Top Five this way ("Vampyr" possibly being an exception).
colinr0380 wrote:I generally agree with the gist of your argument - MoC and the BFI in particular have been extremely eclectic and exciting in their releases recently while Criterion seem to have had a more of a consolidation year again.
I only hope this continues (MoC and BFI's exciting choice of releases, I mean, not CC's mainstream tendencies). However, Nick's announcement a while ago that for instance no further Mizoguchis will be coming any time soon because they didn't sell particularly well makes me fear it might work out differently. While one cannot call "La vie de Jesus" or "Mad detective" particularly mainstream, I still fear that there will be more emphasis on newer films next year (either to round out the collection or to get a broader audience, also catering to the Blu Ray market). This seems also to be indicated by the production years of forthcoming films on MoC in the 'Awful Teaser' thread. Also the replacement of MoC#65 (Sirk for Murnau) worries me: nothing against Sirk, of course, but what can possibly be the reason for postponing "Phantom" almost indefinitely now apart from worries about its marketability?

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