Archive for May 28th, 2014

by Allan Fish

(USA 1928 115m) not on DVD

No honeymoon

p  Pat Powers, Jesse Lasky Jnr, Adolph Zukor  d  Erich Von Stroheim  w  Harry Carr, Erich Von Stroheim  ph  Hal Mohr, Ben Reynolds, Ray Rennahan  ed  Frank Hull, Josef Von Sternberg, Julian Johnson  md  Carl Davis (including various classics)  art  Erich Von Stroheim, Richard Day  cos  Erich Von Stroheim, Max Ree

Erich Von Stroheim (Prince Nicholas Ehrhart Hans Karl Maria Von Wildeliebe-Rauffenberg), Fay Wray (Mitzi Schrammell), Matthew Betz (Schani Eberle), Zasu Pitts (Cecelia Schweisser), Maude George (Princess Maria Immaculata Von Wildeliebe-Rauffenberg), Cesare Gravina (Herr Schrammell), George Fawcett (Prince Ottakar Von Wildeliebe-Rauffenberg), George Nicholls (Schweisser), Dale Fuller (Frau Schrammell),

The opening caption to Von Stroheim’s romantic folly confirms that it is “dedicated to the true lovers of the world.”  That in itself might seem a supremely romantic statement, were it not for the fact that Von Stroheim is referring not just to physical romantic lovers, but to true lovers of any aesthetic, in this case Von Stroheim’s beloved Vienna.  He’s not the only master director to create love letters to that most imperial of cities (Max Ophuls did so many times a few decades later), but Von Stroheim’s films have an altogether grander quality.  They are follies, but also amongst the most grandiose statements in silent cinema history.  None of his classics can be seen as originally intended; Greed, Queen Kelly and Foolish Wives only survive in grossly butchered states, and The Wedding March is actually only part one of a story which was continued in The Honeymoon, which is now probably the most sought after lost film of them all.  Originally the second film finished on a note of doomed romance.  As it is, minus the second stanza, this poem to romance leaves a somewhat cynical but in some ways more realistic aftertaste. (more…)

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© 2014 by James Clark

      In the 1950s, actress Giulietta Masina starred in two films deriving from her husband, Federico Fellini’s, internationally consequential cinematic reflections. In one of them (La Strada) she richly embodied a young woman having run away to join a (ramshackle) circus act; in the other (Nights of Cabiria), she brought to glowing life a low-rent prostitute. Each of these movie charmers came replete with a kinetic repertoire directly transmitting not simply a strange gusto for life but an unmistakably (though undefined) dangerous gusto. Fellini’s researches into that danger came—after the steps that were named La Dolce Vita and –upon a means to exploit Masina’s former effervescence along lines of totally extinguishing it, giving us a figure bereft of kinetic/carnal cogency, namely, the Juliet of the movie in question here (from 1965). The upshot is a cinematic experience remarkably hard to warm up to, its attendant riot of sybaritic flare-ups notwithstanding. This package has inadvertently dragged along, for the sake of scuttlebutt in lieu of comprehension, a tide of marital and Jungian and Surrealist baggage, not to mention a charge of creative comeuppance for a lazy but canny millionaire. (As to that latter point, it is ironic that producing this attenuated horror vehicle nearly bankrupted the supposedly play-it-safe fat cat. That Jonathan Glazer’s recent minefield, Under the Skin [2013], could be seen as featuring a vastly [though plausibly] changed Samantha hitherto from Her, excitingly speaks to the endless investigative dimensions of the problematic of avant-garde film, which does not abandon history for the sake of the scientism of classically imprisoned perceptual phenomena.) (more…)

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