12 June 2008 | FerdinandVonGalitzien
British Silent Film Virtuosity
From time to time, it is very laudable for this German count to re-watch some of those silent films of his aristocratic youth. Overall, this in order to check if the passage of time has positively or negatively influenced his recollection of the remarkable aspects of such films. That's not to mention that fortunately many of those films after such long time are now cleaned and restored -- nothing in common with those rotten and blurred nitrates that are stored at this Herr Graf's gloomy cellar that necessarily need an extra pair of monocles each time that they are shown at the Schloss theatre.
This time such advisable aristocratic and nostalgic film habits had excellent artistic results. That's because after 70 years from its official release, "A Cottage On Dartmoor", a film directed by Herr Anthony Asquith, preserves intact its many and excellent virtues. The perfect word that summarizes the merits of that British film: virtuosity.
Herr Anthony Asquith skillful film direction begins as the films starts. It introduces a convict that escaped from prison running away along Dartmoor meadows. With the sole purpose of revenge, he tries to find the girl that causes him imprisonment; when finally he finds her, a fascinating flashback starts.
A superb display of film technique can be seen in the film. There are such as perfect images ( Expressionism influences are obvious in the film, in its obscure and visual conception ) concatenations or fascinating visual metaphors ( the use of the camera is astounding: remarkable and imaginative camera angles that scrutinizes the tormented soul and evil intentions of the main character of the film ). It depicts an intriguing, thrilling and original story. A barber, Joe ( Herr Uno Henning ) falls in love with a manicurist, Sally ( Dame Norah Baring ) in the same place where both work. Joe is rejected by her and doesn't accept that ultimately Sally loves a client, Harry ( Herr Hans Adalbert Schlettow ). Consumed by jealousy, tries to murder Harry.
It has a perfect "tempo" in order to explain and show such a tormented love story that will finish with a poetic, sorrowful ending. Only one thing is lacking in seeing the film and is Dame Norah Baring's performance. Probably she is so stiff, inexpressive and frigid due to the abuse of the use of tea -- that awful beverage that usually is drunk by commoners and even eccentric aristocrats in the perfidious Albion. But that's a minor flaw that doesn't damage excessively the excellent artistic merits of such remarkable film.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must go to a decadent soirée pretty well-combed.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/