Filming began in September 1923 at the Joinville studios in Paris and had to be carried on at great speed because Georgette Leblanc was committed to return to America in mid-October for a concert tour. L'Herbier often continued shooting through the night, making intense demands on his cast and crew. In the event, Leblanc had to leave before everything was finished and some scenes could only be completed when she returned to Paris in spring 1924.
One evening of location shooting became famous (4 October 1924). For the scene of Claire Lescot's concert L'Herbier hired the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and invited over 2000 people from the film world and fashionable society to attend in evening dress and to play the part of an unruly audience. Ten cameras were deployed around the theatre to record their reactions to the concert. This included the American pianist George Antheil performing some of his own dissonant compositions which created a suitably confrontational mood, and when Georgette Leblanc appeared on stage the audience responded with the required tumult of whistles, applause and protests, as well as some scuffles. The audience is said to have included Erik Satie, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Léon Blum, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and the Prince of Monaco.
An impressive range of practitioners in different fields of the arts worked on the film, meeting L'Herbier's ambition of creating a film which united many forms of artistic expression. Four designers contributed to the sets. The painter Fernand Léger created the mechanical laboratory of Einar Norsen. The architect Robert Mallet-Stevens designed the exteriors of the houses of Norsen and Claire Lescot, with strong cubist elements. Alberto Cavalcanti and Claude Autant-Lara, soon to be directing their own films, both had a background in design; Autant-Lara was responsible for the winter-garden set and the funeral vault, while Cavalcanti designed the geometric dining hall for Claire's party, with its dining-table set on an island in the middle of a pool. Costumes were designed by Paul Poiret, furniture by Pierre Chareau and Michel Dufet, jewellery by Raymond Templier, and other "objets" by René Lalique and Jean Puiforcat. The choreographed scenes were provided by Jean Borlin and the Ballets Suédois. To bind the whole together L'Herbier commissioned the young Darius Milhaud to write a score with extensive use of percussion, to which the images were to be edited. (This musical score which was central to L'Herbier's conception of the film has not survived.)
The final sequence of the film, in which Claire is 'resurrected', is an elaborate exercise in rapid cutting, whose expressive possibilites had recently been demonstrated in La Roue. In addition to the juxtaposition and rhythmic repetition of images, L'Herbier interspersed frames of bright colours, intending to create counterpoint to the music of Milhaud and "to make the light sing".
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