A young Jewish man is torn between tradition and individuality when his old-fashioned family objects to his career as a jazz singer. This is the first full length feature film to use synchronized sound, and is the original film musical.
Two young men, one rich, one middle class, both in love with the same woman (Jobyna Ralston), become US Air Corps fighter pilots and, eventually, heroic flying aces during World War I. Devoted best friends, their mutual love of the girl eventually threatens their bond. Meanwhile, a hometown girl (Clara Bow) who’s the lovestruck lifelong next door neighbor of one of them, pines away.
A massive 5 1/2 hour biopic of Napoleon, tracing his career from his schooldays (where a snowball fight is staged like a military campaign), his flight from Corsica, through the French Revolution (where a real storm is intercut with a political storm) and the Terror, culminating in his triumphant invasion of Italy in 1797 (the film stops there because it was intended to be part one of six, but director Abel Gance never raised the money to make the other five). The film’s legendary reputation is due to the astonishing range of techniques that Gance uses to tell his story, culminating in the final twenty-minute triptych sequence, which alternates widescreen panoramas with complex multiple- image montages projected simultaneously on three screens.