Abel Gance's Napoleon (1927) was not only one of the longest and most expensive films ever made, it was and is one of the most complex. Gance staged panoramic scenes, shot on location, and tried out all manner of new approaches to cinematography in the hopes of involving the viewer in the spectacle of history.
He succeeded. But not all went well.
Napoleon was a massive and ambitious undertaking. Certainly, some of Gance's cinematic experiments failed to accomplish their desired result and ended up on the cutting room floor. And at other times, actors were injured - if only slightly - in the staging of battle scenes, as this newspaper article from the time states.
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival is presenting Kevin Brownlow's restoration of Abel Gance's five-and-one-half hour Napoleon for four performances only on March 24, 25, 31 and April 1. This once in a generation cinematic event is set to take place in Oakland, California at the historic, art deco Oakland Paramount theater. Carl Davis will conduct the Oakland East Bay Symphony.
More info and ticket availability at http://www.silentfilm.org/