*Moviegoershave a rare treat coming up atRadio City Music Hall -- the chance to rediscover a film classic that had been virtually lost in its original form for more than 50 years. it's called Napoleon, and it was directed in 1927 by Abel Gance, who will be present for the special New York showing on Jan. 23-25. First shown at the Paris Opera House, the film was simply too advanced for its time -- running about four hours and featuring scenes in polyvision, which was Mr. Gance's 1920s version of Cinerama. Now's our chance to see if time has caught up this pioneering picture, which has reconstructed by film scholar Kevin Brownlow.
Making the event even more special will be its musical score, composed and conducted by Carmine Coppola (father of Francis Ford Coppola, who is sponsoring the revival) and played by the American Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Coppola tells me he has centered his music onthemes for different characters and moods, though he doesn't "hammer the motifs at you like Wagner." The score is based on "the music Napoleon would have heard," which means echoes of Beethoven and hints of Mozart -- though the composer hasn't hesitated to throw in "a little polytonality" for a contemporary touch. Between polytonality and Polyvision, "Napoleon" promises to deliver a unique four hours of for ward-looking nostalgia. Tickets are still available.