In Cannes this week, it has been announced that an agreement has been struck between Zoetrope/Film Preserve and the BFI/Photoplay.
Two primary versions of the film exist with different scores, one (BFI/Photoplay) in the UK with music composed by Carl Davis and the other (Zoetrope/Film Preserve) in the USA with a score by Carmine Coppola. With the new agreement in place, both versions will be available for screening internationally.
Gance's Napoleon was long unavailable in its complete original form as made in 1927, largely thanks to the different cuts made to satisfy different distribution agreements.
In the mid-1970s, revered British film historian Kevin Brownlow oversaw a landmark reconstruction and recreation of the film with the support of the BFI.
The full restoration was presented in the UK with a score composed by Carl Davis. A version of this restoration was first presented in the US in 1981 by Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Harris, accompanied by a score composed by Carmine Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola's father.)
Coppola and Harris acquired rights to the original film for the world excluding France and certain French territories
The BFI and Photoplay hold the UK rights for the Davis-scored version, which they jointly restored with newly found material and there will be no restriction on its distribution in the territory.
All parties will collaborate in the upgrading of the Zoetrope/Film Preserve version to take advantage of the improved material now held by the BFI and Photoplay.
It will also now be possible to screen the BFI/Photoplay version theatrically, with live performance of the Carl Davis score, throughout the territories for which rights are controlled by Zoetrope/The Film Preserve.
'We welcome the chance to develop the relationship with Francis Ford Coppola and his colleagues at Zoetrope and The Film Preserve,' Kevin Brownlow commented.