The Sunday Intertitle: Mad March Flair

My copy of The Believer, featuring my article on William Cameron Menzies, arrived in the post today. I photographed it by torchlight and it came out looking funny. Probably due to ghosts.

Of course, this calls for a Menzies-related intertitle, so here’s one from THE LOVE OF ZERO, an expressionist short directed by Robert Florey (a director seemingly fated to work in low-budget B-pictures, and then TV, for life, despite his obvious imagination).

I’m not sure how Menzies, a highly-paid studio employee, came to be working on this  avant-garde adventure in style, made for $200: presumably he was just tempted by the possibility of breaking rules and indulging himself. He did later go on to produce musical shorts in the early ’30s so he obviously had no prejudice against the short form. But most Hollywood employees have a prejudice against not getting paid, so it’s somewhat remarkable that he branched out so far.

The film also features text on screen that’s actually a prop positioned in frame with the actors — walk-in intertitles, or outertitles, or something. A unique case?

The plot sure ain’t much, but it’s a visual feast, showing the clear influence of CALIGARI on Menzies’ distinctive style.

Ah, here it is on YouTube ~

2 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: Mad March Flair”

  1. Christopher Says:

    lets see what your 200.00 will buy…Quite alot if you have a good cameraman and a person who knows how to dress a set with not much more than their own imagination.Like Menzies,Mario Bava was a master of making something out of nothing with simple lighting and colour..Other than Murders in The Rue Morgue,Florey directed the last yet one of the most imaginative Weissmuller-Tarzan entires on location in mexico,Tarzan and the Mermaids…also a good Twilight Zone episode-Perchance To Dream..and an Alfred Hitchcock Presents-The Opportunity .

  2. His Twilight Zone work was terrific, and his Warner precodes have all the zing you could wish for. Recently enjoyed Bedside, with Warren William as a fake doctor, and a little later there’s Daughter of Shanghai, Face Behind the Mask and The Beast with Five Fingers…

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