Donnerstag, Juni 12, 2008

"A Cottage On Dartmoor" (1929) By Anthony Asquith


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 skilful 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

-/-

De vez en cuando, es siempre muy recomendable para éste conde germánico, el revisionar algunos de los filmes silentes de su juventud, sobretodo para comprobar si el paso del tiempo ha influido positiva o negativamente en los aspectos más destacados y recordados de los mismos, sin olvidarse igualmente que afortunadamente muchos de esos filmes han sido restaurados tras tan largo tiempo, nada que ver con las decrépitos y borrosos nitratos que están almacenados en el sótano del Schloss de éste Herr Graf, el cual necesita un par de monóculos extra cada vez que una de dichas copias son exhibidas en el teatro privado del Schloss.

En esta ocasión tan recomendable y nostálgica práctica silente ha tenido excelentes resultados, pues tras haber pasado más de 70 años de su estreno oficial, “A Cottage On Dartmoor”, filme dirigido por Herr Anthony Asquith, mantiene intactas todas sus magníficas virtudes y ésa es precisamente la palabra que ejemplifica los méritos de dicho filme británico: virtuosismo.

La magnífica dirección de Herr Anthony Asquith comienza desde el mismo inicio del filme, presentándonos a un convicto que se ha escapado de prisión y huye por los campos de Dartmoor con el único propósito de vengarse, intentado encontrar a la jovenzuela por la cual ha estado en prisión, cuando finalmente la encuentra, un fascinante flashback da comienzo.

Magníficas muestras de hábil técnica cinematográfica se pueden apreciar en el filme, imágenes perfectas ( las influencias Expresionistas son más que obvias tanto en su concepción visual como en el ambiente oscuro del mismo ) o concatenaciones y fascinantes metáforas visuales ( el uso de la cámara es magnífica, usando planos imaginativos y sorprendentes en los cuales se escudriña la atormentada mente y malvadas intenciones del protagonista ), para narrar la intrigante, emocionante y original historia del barbero Joe ( Herr Uno Henning ) el cual está enamorado de la manicurista Sally ( Dame Norah Baring ); ambos trabajan en la misma peluquería pero las intenciones amorosas de Joe son rechazadas por Norah, el cual no acepta demasiado bien que la susodicha se enamore de un cliente, Harry ( Herr Hans Adalbert Shletow ).
Consumido por los celos, Joe intenta matar a Harry.

El filme posee el “tempo” perfecto para exponer y mostrar tan atormentada historia de amor que finalizará con un poético y triste final.
Solamente hay una tara en el filme y es la interpretación de Dame Norah Baring; probablemente ella se encuentra tan tiesa, inexpresiva y frígida debido al abuso del uso del té, esa horrible bebida que habitualmente beben tanto plebeyos como excéntricos aristócratas de la pérfida Albión, aunque ése es un problema menor que no afecta excesivamente a los grandes méritos artísticos de tan excelente filme británico.

Y ahora si me lo permiten, les tengo que dejar momentáneamente, pues este conde germánico tiene que ir bien repeinado a una decadente soirée.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien

Kommentare:

R-Lo hat gesagt…

My Dear Count:

I watched this fascinating film last night before reading your equally interesting review today, and I agree with pretty much all you said except for your condemnation of Dame Norah Baring (I thought her performance was fine, but at least now I know that you and I won't have to duel over that cute tea drinker's favors!). I do wonder what you made of the infamous talkie scene, though. In other words, did it make you sad to see a celebration of sound cinema in a silent movie or was that a touch that you liked?

Ferdinand Von Galitzien hat gesagt…

"The "Cottage On Dartmoor" talkie scene is liked by Herr Graf very much. That’s because, besides being a bizarre, original and bold idea to show such talkie scene in a silent movie ( probably the first one in the cinema history ), it signifies that things would not ever be the same in a movie theatre from that time on...

The audience certainly felt amazed by the "new invention" but they also felt that going to a movie theatre from that time on, would be a completely different experience.
An absolutely new artistic cinema era has begun ( for example, the orchestra pit scene is an excellent example of what this German aristocrat is talking about ).

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien