4 November 2012 | Mozjoukine
Been there ...
Well let me admit I bought out of this one after three hours, at the point where the word "Sound" comes up in big letters.
Here are all the familiar titles and talents being trotted forth once more, this time in murky dupes spaced by some quite nice travel shots, that they thrash for no particular reason other than to get the running time up or justify the plane tickets. Poor Stanley Donen figures at intervals without saying anything notable - probably because he wasn't asked to.
We get to the end of the silent section without seeing a cowboy. Florence Lawrence has a (not bad) section. Bronco Billy Anderson doesn't. The writer-director-pundit ticks off the eight (count 'em) national industries that provide the qualities he can't find in Hollywood and, once again, we never set foot in the Balkans or the Hispanic nations. Ruan Lingyu stands in for Shanghai, three of the thirty "Expressionist" films for six hundred German titles.
You sit there waiting for the kind of "Hey, that makes sense!" moments that you got in the US CINEMA BBC series or the breath catching quality of the images in Enno Patalas' METROPOLIS documentary.
I don't know which is more depressing, this series or the much touted critics poll that an English magazine called Sight & Sound just ran again. Suspect achievements are lauded. Making notable talents invisible is endorsed.