masters of cinema
L'Argent [Money]

L'Argent [Money]

Marcel L'Herbier ,

Film Summary

Country:

Language:

Year:

Runtime:

165

Aspect Ratio:

1.33:1

Colour:

Black & White

Certificate:

PG

Subtitles:

English (optional)

Genre:

World Cinema

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. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present – for the very first time on home video in the UK – this crowning moment of silent cinema.

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  • 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 [Marcel L’Herbier: Poète de l’art Silencieux] (2007) – a 54 minute documentary profiling the director
  • A lavish 80-page perfectly-bound booklet with a long essay by noted professor of French film Richard Abel; newly translated interviews with L’Herbier, and copious archival production stills.

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