Coppola copyright dispute blocks silent film "Napoleon"

Reader Londonfilter says:

In the 1980s, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola helped film expert Kevin Brownlow restore Abel Gance's lost silent masterpiece Napoleon. Recently, though, Coppola tried to shut down the British Film Institute's screening of Brownlow's latest 5-hour-long print of the film, over a dispute over — you guessed it — copyright. Director Abel Gance gave Brownlow UK rights to the film but Coppola claims that Gance didn't have the legal rights to do so. The screening went ahead anyway, with Brownlow joking beforehand that he half expected process servers to swoop in by helicopter with Ride of the Valkyries blaring in the background. Gance was a brilliant, iconoclastic director of huge, ambitious films. He was, in short, a spiritual forefather of Francis Ford Coppola, and it's disappointing that Coppola is trying to surpress his work.

Link to Times UK story, and link to IMDB listing for Abel Gance's Napoleon.