The Sunday Intertitle: The Greatest Shoe on Earth
My Russian is rudimentary — confined to a series of crude coughs and hand gestures — but I think what this is saying is “Roll Up! Roll Up! See the enormous footwear!”
As Randy Quaid so justly says in Alex Winter’s FREAKED, “Now that’s a big shoe.”
This may even be my favourite outsized boot since the flaming Elvis pump that floats downstream in Philip Ridley’s preposterous THE PASSION OF DARKLY NOON. The magnificently insane thing in that movie is not the vision of the Viking funeral boot, but the lost circus entertainers who turn up an hour later to explain its presence, as if anything in that film would benefit from explanation. I mean, if you’ve got Brendan Fraser running about in a barbed wire bra, you really should have the courage to embrace the numinous. Because, you see, whether you like it or not, you have already done so.
Our b&w boot, meanwhile, derives from LA GALERIE DES MONSTRES, a circus revenge story rather in the Tod Browning vein, but directed by Jaque Catelain (don’t know who he is) and produced by Marcel L’Herbier (very much know who he is — L’INHUMAINE, THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW CHAMBER, LA NUIT FANTASTIQUE). The Russian intertitles in no way spoil the fun, since the plot is biblically simple and the roar of a ravenous lion needs no translation. And, as in my all-time favourite film (a circus revenge story) HE WHO GETS SLAPPED, where there’s a roaring lion, a sad/sinister clown cannot be far behind. This one’s a doozy ~