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First there was the crash, then there was the novel, and then there was the film…

In 1882, the Union Générale bank collapsed, which subsequently led to the French stock market to crash, causing the worst economic crisis of the 19th century in France. Less than a decade later, the novelist, playwright, and journalist Émile Zola published a serialized novel, L’Argent, which criticized the stock market speculation practices of the mid-1800s. Then, in 1928, filmmaker Marcel L’Herbier loosely adapted Zola’s novel to comment on the 1920s greed-fueled fascination with global economies. His masterful efforts resulted in the film L’Argent, the newly restored edition of which is now available on Blu-ray through Flicker Alley.

Though much changed from book to silver screen, a fair amount of L’Argent remained intact. In order to provide the serious L’Herbier (and Zola) fans with a small peek at this adaptation process, then, the staff here at Flicker Alley has plucked out a scene from the both the original (albeit translated) text and the film version. Here below is introduction of Gundermann (or, rather, Gunderman).

Émile Zola’s L’Argent (1882):

















Marcel L’Herbier’s L’Argent (1928):

Flicker Alley