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  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a disappointing silent circus melo from the L'Herbier outfit. Catelain, lead of the drear L'IINHUMAIN is even worse here. Hard to see how his Riquets sub-Harlequin dance act has made him the star of the Buffalo traveling circus - a shadowy anticipation of Freaks.

    One of the tribe of gypsies who sleep in the snow outside the Castilian town, He pairs with local girl Moran (the Al Jolson MAMMY) in her first role. They are turned out

    Later (how much later?) they are raising a baby in the Buffalo traveling circus arriving in Toledo. Montage of acts - a tumbler, cowboys, clowns, musicians and a fakey menagerie with a rigged human torso, a bearded lady who is obviously a bloke & the skinny girl as a mermaid.

    The spurned owner lusts after Moran & lets the lion into the cage where she dances (so so montage). Catelain is made to do his act while they are waiting for the doctor.

    The circus acts turn on the boss, vaguely anticipating FREAKs. Flossie the spangles girl and the cowboy lion tamer who stole a kiss from from injured Moran are considered to have redeemed themselves and the leads and their baby get to drive their caravan back to her village Can't see that going too well.

    This one offers curiosity value in it's excellent Lobster Films restoration in a square format. Serge Bromberg did a pro-piano accompaniment at the Forum des Images screening in Paris.
  • Directed and played by handsome Jaque Catelain, very close friend to Marcel L'Herbier, "la Galerie des Monstres" is a rare melodrama in a circus in Spain. It is his second direction after "le Marchand de Plaisir".

    Jaque Catelain : "Showing two persons ripped from their primitive existence by their destiny, driven from town to town through the world in a traveling circus where their youth, their naïve love, unleash passions and drama ... To show the contrast between artificial movement of dizziness, of pleasure of a fair, and the pain of two defencedless young people - here is "la Galerie des Monstres" - script I wanted above all accessible to the audience - touching, human." Jaque Catelain was helped for directing by Marcel L'Herbier for his very precious artistic direction and by Calvacanti as a first assistant. "La Galerie des Monstres" is a subject close to "Freaks" by Tod Browning, but much less heartbreaking.

    For silent movies lovers, it is sad to say there ain't any DVD edition.