Monday, May 14, 2018

The Drunk Projectionist, Episode 7

This is the first — and likely only — podcast episode of The Drunk Projectionist featuring a movie I’ve never seen. Which is weird, I know. But I can explain.

In 2012, I was a finalist in a national radio competition. If selected, I’d spend a year in North Dakota covering the oil boom, an appealing project for an ambitious journalist. If I lost, I told myself, I’d travel to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival to watch Napoléon.

Oui, Napoléon.

The 1927 black-and-white silent, directed by France’s Abel Gance, rarely screened in the U.S., complete with musical accompaniment by a full orchestra, was being shown for four nights only at Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California. And I missed it. So the good news is I was one of the winner’s of the national radio competition and made this. The bad news: No Napoléon.

It’s six years later. And I still haven’t seen it. Because I’m waiting to watch Napoléon with a live orchestra and a giant screen. However, I did hear George Mourier, film restoration expert, speak about Napoléon at the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival. It turns out Mourier is working on a new restoration ... so I interviewed him for Episode 7 of the The Drunk Projectionist podcast about the mystery and magnificence of the movie.