After serving in the trenches of World War I, Jean Diaz recoils with such horror that he renounces love and personal pleasure to immerse himself in scientific research, seeking a machine to prevent war. He thinks he has succeeded, but the government subverts his discovery, and Europe slides with seeming inevitability toward World War II. In desperation, Diaz summons the ghosts of the war dead from the graves and fields of France to give silent, accusing protest.
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|Dimensions||5.25 × .5 × 6.75 in|
No Abel Gance film is without interest and the first third of "J'Accuse" is a powerful antiwar statement, almost up there with "Paths of Glory" (the zenith to which all antiwar films aspire). Unfortunately, once the Armistice is declared, the narrative thread meanders and sputters, trying to re-engage the viewer. But there are compensations, such as the haunting vision of World War I's dead arising from their graves and marching upon you, not to mention the fine performance of Victor Francen in the title role, a difficult part which requires him to emote heavily in tight closeup. Olive Films provides a beautiful transfer, with subtitles in easily legible yellow but a dearth of chapter stop, hélas. Recommended,