Review

  • A creator of such intellect as Albert Lewin, the director/adapter of The Moon & Sixpence, rarely had the opportunity in classic period Hollywood to showcase such a unique talent as he had and we are fortunate to have had him. There were only a handful like him that beat the odds and actually were allowed to produce true art instead of common trash -- Sternberg, Ulmer, Sturges come to mind -- and in many ways Lewin stood apart because he worked the system without challenging the former tailors and junk dealers that ran Hollywood. He made a quartet of films that express his unique style magnificently. These are, in order: The Moon & Sixpence, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami and Pandora And The Flying Dutchman. The common threads are stateliness, pacing and intelligence, with literate dialogue that has a sophistication that belies the commercialism of the time. His lead of choice was George Sanders, who was perfectly cast in the first three titles as a symbol of an age. The Moon and Sixpence is the first of this quartet and showcases what a small budget but superior talent can create. Each film was an improvement on its predecessor, and I recommend that those out there interested in stylized film follow Lewin's work chronologically to observe the course of aesthetic refinement, beginning with The Moon & Sixpence.