Archive for March 22, 2015

The Sunday Intertitle: A Month of Sundays

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on March 22, 2015 by dcairns

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I like this spiritually uplifting intertitle from HELL’S HINGES — the art looks like a Terry Gilliam cartoon.

On a more sombre note, Gerhardt Lamprecht’s CHILDREN OF NO IMPORTANCE begins with some PEOPLE ON SUNDAY-style leisure activities, but he’s making the point of class inequality — while one child, a pampered ectomorph in a sailor suit, rides a goat-drawn carriage around his spacious estate, two waifs watch through the bars, then one gets a ride on a carousel free, but only because her big brother is spinning the whole thing by hand.

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“It was Sunday… and the weather was hot…”

Mixed reaction to this one among my fellow Bo’ness punters. I quite liked it — the kids’ acting is brilliant, and despite the often depressing scenes of squalor, brutality and child exploitation, as with Oliver Twist it all turns out alright in the end, without obviating the call for social reform. Dickens had neater plotting, though.

Lamprecht was clearly a good egg, though — he wanted to make his audience aware, make them think, and to some extent make them suffer, but he didn’t want to leave them feeling miserable at the end. There’s light and shade. Also, unlike most social realist films, it seemed reasonably realistic to me, though maybe the historical distance is helping Lamprecht get away with a few dramatic contrivances I would question in a modern film.

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Also viewed Saturday — THE NAVIGATOR (Keaton); PICCADILLY (Dupont); SALT FOR SVANETIA (Kalatazov). I did the programme notes for the last-named. I’m going to try to add something about all of these, but especially SYNTHETIC SIN, viewed on Friday. A hilarious Colleen Moore vehicle — an audience full of flappers. Great fun.

This year’s Hippodrome Festival of Silent Film — which ends today with Lillian Gish as ANNIE LAURIE — has been a real treat.