25 April 2020 | brogmiller
You will never get through the opening performance!
Astute producer Carl Laemmle invited talented German director Paul Leni to join Universal. This proved to be a masterstroke. Before his untimely death in 1929 Leni directed four films one of which, 'The Chinese Parrot' is considered 'lost', the other three of which are superb. From its astonishing opening sequence 'The Last Warning' is a brilliantly inventive and imaginative piece that holds our attention throughout. A great deal of credit must surely go to cinematographer Hal Mohr who, although American born, had assimilated European film techniques during a brief sojourn in Paris. His greatest achievement is the 'Midsummer Night's Dream' of Max Reinhardt. The specially composed score although a little over-orchestrated, is far superior to the usual incongruous, excruciating, tacked on scores with which so many restored silent films are cursed. Such a sadness to lose a director of Leni's gifts but his influence on Universal's classic horrors of the 1930's is there for all to see.