7.4/10
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16 user 27 critic

The Wheel (1923)

La roue (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 17 February 1923 (France)
Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally ... See full summary »

Director:

Abel Gance

Writer:

Abel Gance
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Cast

Credited cast:
Séverin-Mars ... Sisif
Ivy Close ... Norma
Gabriel de Gravone ... Elie
Pierre Magnier ... Jacques de Hersan
Max Maxudian ... Le minéralogiste Kalatikascopoulos
Georges Térof Georges Térof ... Machefer
Gil Clary Gil Clary ... Dalilah (as Mme. Gil-Clary)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Géo Dugast Géo Dugast ... Le cheminot Jacobin
Edit

Storyline

Sisif, a railwayman, and his son Elie fall in love with the beautiful Norma (who Sisif rescued from a train crash when a baby and raised as his daughter), with tragic results. Originally running nine hours, this epic tragedy is notable for the way it foreshadows Gance's later 'Napoleon' in its use of innovative cinematic devices, particularly rapid cutting. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

17 February 1923 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Wheel See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Films Abel Gance See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Séverin-Mars died shortly after shooting completed. See more »

Goofs

When Sisif is running in front of the locomotive, the first shot has the locomotive numbered 475. In subsequent shots, the number on the loco is 2013. See more »

Quotes

Dalilah: He's getting crazy with that station girl of his!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released to the public with a running time of just over 5 hours. Later edited down to 2 1/2 hours. . See more »

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User Reviews

recommendation
21 November 2006 | by rschmeecSee all my reviews

Gance seems overwhelmed by the theme of humanity crushed by incredible suffering, and some of the symbolism may seem heavy-handed, but this film deserves to be listed among the greats for its wonderful cinematography, the strong contrasts between the first parts portrayal of trains and the second parts moving to the beautiful, impassive scenery of the high Alps.

I have always been an admirer of Gance's Napoleon, but his J'accuse turned me off. La Roue has restored my desire to see the others: La fin de monde, Beethoven, and Austerlitz.

As for the suffering, this was made in 1921 in the aftermath of WW I, which is sufficient to account for Gance's obsession with the theme.


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