Archive for May 24, 2009

Intertitles of the Century

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on May 24, 2009 by dcairns

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We have a winner! Jacques Feyder’s L’ATLANTIDE, AKA QUEEN OF ATLANTIS, has maybe the most beautiful intertitles I’ve ever seen. And the film itself is worthy of them, a hypnotic, erotic, melodrama/fantasy set in the lost kingdom of Atlantis, which is located, we are told, behind inaccessible mountains in the Sahara (!)

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It’s an incredible film, too — expect more on it soon. Pierre Benoit’s weird novel has a long and mostly honourable cinematic history, sucking in such assorted adaptors as GW Pabst, John Brahm, Douglas Sirk, Edgar Ulmer and Bob Swaim (remember Bob Swaim?).

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This first adaptation of Pierre Benoit’s piece of literary exoticism has everything except a compelling Queen — Stacia Napierkowska, despite the impressive name, isn’t really my idea of an irresistible temptress. But Feyder conjures such an incredible atmosphere around her (any woman looks alluring and sophisticated with a lynx by her side), aided immensely by the costumes and sets of Manuel Orazi. I’d go so far as to say this is the best film for patterned costumes and wall hangings outside of Fritz Lang’s KRIEMHILD’S REVENGE. And the best film for cushions EVER.actually projects one character’s fantasy of Antinea, the Atlantean monarch, on a throw pillow. They’re so perfect, those soft furnishings, that they actually contain dreams.

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OK, one more intertitle. Couldn’t resist this one: an intertitle with kitties!

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