The Sunday Intertitle: The Mystery of Mister Mistol
DAS GEHEIMNIS DES AMERIKA-DOCKS (1919) is an early effort by E.A. Dupont, and it’s uncharacteristically… sprightly? A rather testy master detective is called in when Mr. Mistol is unexpectedly defenestrated from his chemical plant. Zestful, if somewhat grotesque and overbearing performances from the cast, in what is basically a Weimar whodunnit
The surviving print has Dutch intertitles, and many the characters seem to have Dutch names, robbing the thing of a certain Amerikan atmosphere. Also, is it really wise to print CINEMA PALACE on every intertitle? Doesn’t that tend to take people out of the film? Ah well, maybe it’s Brechtian.
The film has little or nothing to do with Amerika, or docks.
The best touches are little humanizing moments of comedy: as he and his associates are about to hide to await the killer, the detective advises anyone who needs to sneeze to get it over with now.
Actually, I don’t know if Mistol is a Dutch name, nor Hatt, or if they’re the Germans’ idea of Amerikan names. Can’t ask anyone from the picture, that’s for sure.