The Sunday Intertitle: A Thrill in Three Tongues

Lew Cody, whose performance in SOULS FOR SALE gets hammier each time he appears. The above image catches him at the midpoint between Act 1 restraint and Act 3 barnstorming.

I’m still wittering on about SOULS FOR SALE, mainly because I’ve been so busy (mostly with unproductive busywork) this week that I haven’t seen any more silent films. Still, this one is a doozy.

Having fled to Egypt in an undeveloped plotline that really should have been excised from the script (but the author of the source novel is screenwriter and director of the film), serial killer Scudder takes in a movie, and by chance discovers that his runaway bride has become a star. “Scudder couldn’t read the French or Arabic subtitle, but the English version held a thrill for him.”

So what we have here is a trilingual intertitle from a film within a film. Some novelty value there, I’d say. Don’t say you don’t get your money’s worth.

I’ve never seen a film in Egypt but I did see GHOST IN THE SHELL in Marrakech, which was an interesting experience. A movie ticket is very cheap in Morocco, so people mainly go for the air conditioning, to talk in the comfort of a cool, shaded environment. They not only do not switch off their mobile phones, they answer them and have long talks while the film is in progress. This wasn’t as distracting as it might have been, since absolutely everybody was doing it, all the time. Still, I wouldn’t really want to be a filmgoer in Morocco, since the kind of immersive experience I seek in a movie wasn’t really possible there.

This was at the Marrakech International Film Festival, an extraordinary beanfeast which I shall tell you all about another time.

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10 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: A Thrill in Three Tongues”

  1. Christopher Says:

    I have a copy of Souls For Sale headed my from Warner Archives..They were having a Silents sale..

  2. It’s a ton of fun! The intertitles are so anxious to make us feel for the motion picture people, hard-working artisans in bed by ten O’clock…

  3. Christopher Says:

    I’m a fan of films about films..and this one sounded too good to let go..I’m even more convinced after seeing that picture above of the multi-language title card in the picture show!

  4. There are lots of pleasures in this one. I gather that the burning big top sequence deploys actuality footage of Chaplin’s set burning down when he made The Circus.

  5. I gather that the burning big top sequence deploys actuality footage of Chaplin’s set burning down when he made The Circus.

    Wait, what? Forgive my puzzlement, but I thought The Circus was made years later.

  6. You’re right. Not sure where I picked that up / made that up. Chaplin is meant to be shooting A Woman of Paris when we see him in the movie.

    This is what a week of marking does to the brain.

  7. I make mistakes like that more often than I care to admit, and I don’t have reasons like marking and screenplays to blame them on, just brainfarts.

  8. Incidentally, we not only see Chaplin at work on A Woman of Paris, but Von Stroheim on the set of Greed, making this film a truly remarkable document.

  9. Christopher Says:

    my copy arrived today..in 3 days!..fast from Warner Archives…my first one of these Warners Archives discs..At those prices,don’t know many times I’d do this..This was free tho..had an old unused A EX gift card laying around..

  10. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It’s quite daft, but very colourful.

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