1 December 2010 | Mozjoukine
Silent Italian Kiddie Pic fills a gap.
There is so little of the Italian silent cinema accessible that this Turin-made 1922 children's movie deserves more attention than it might on its own merits.
It belongs in the group of films like the early Sidney Franklins or the Australian KID STAKES, which tried to reach their target audience with child leads.
The plot has young Pim Poco, son of the quarry owner, set out to follow Jules Verne's model and journey to the centre of the earth, down a nearby shaft. He however runs into the bandits who have kidnapped his sister. Chases, shoot-outs and mistaken identity follow apace.
It's all set in a curious version of the old West, which runs to motor bikes and London bobbies. The film making is quite competent with matching action editing advanced, devices like cutting or dissolving closer on action and even some fairly obvious split screen. The playing is adequate but the stocky heroine, who looks so robust, keeps on fainting under the strain, which is a bit much.
The actor directors and their associates careers seems to have come to a near halt at this stage.
A recent restoration is attractively tinted and has a score that uses a xylophone and the the ukulele, new in 1922. They have transferred it visibly faster than the taking speed, which is unfortunate.