Archive for November 10, 2019

The Sunday Intertitle from the Future

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on November 10, 2019 by dcairns

More mad science! LA CITÉFOUDROYÉE (THE CITY THUNDERED) was made in 1924 but its first intertitle — a scrap from a letter composed by our dubious hero — tells us that the events are transpiring in the far-flung year of 1930.

“This is my confession. I am the greatest criminal of all time. By hate and by money ~”

We then see the hero getting to work on his great invention which will destroy Paris. I have no idea how faithful this seventeen-minute film — possibly edited down from a feature for the Pathe-Baby 9.5mm home projection system — is to the novel by Jean-Louis Bouquet. But it pulls off an ending that seems unlikely to stem from its source.

Director Luitz Morat gives the public what it came to see — Paris blown to bits, in a mixture of time-lapse clouds, authentic footage of disasters, and quite good model effects — then, in a surprise twist, reveals that the great criminal enterprise our hero has been working towards is a NOVEL — entitled La Cité Foudroyée, in which Paris, as we have just seen, is destroyed. An outrageous cheat, but quite a sweet one.

Unseen Maniac Proves No Hoax

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on November 10, 2019 by dcairns

Good sub-hed from James Whale and RC Sherrif’s THE INVISIBLE MAN.

Pretty damn suave housecoats on display also.

Watched this tonight with our friend Ali, who remarked on the wild tonal shifts, It’s not just that the film contains both slapstick knockabout and stark sadistic horror, but, as Ali remarked, it doesn’t waste time building up to the horror or lingering on its consequences — it’s just straight on with the comedy, and the bodies still warm.

Gloria Stuart is pretty terrible but it doesn’t matter. William Harrigan, hovering over her shoulder, is on first sight a pretty repulsive specimen of the genus actor, but proves to be perfectly cast. Entirely charmless as a screen presence, he is thrust into horrible situations where he ought to invite our warmest sympathy, but fails to. So that the invisible and very hostile man remains Our Hero, despite his complete lack of admirable attributes.

Note how Mr. Invis, setting Harrigan off bound hand and foot in a brakeless auto, describes lovingly how the fall will shatter his arms, then his neck. Which is then fullsomely depicted in a spectacular model shot, with the added detail that he bursts into flames also, just for jolly.

THE INVISIBLE MAN stars Captain Louis Renault; Old Rose; ‘Mac’ McKay; Clarence; Matilda Thrawn; Honesty Nuttall; Sir Karell Borotyn; Nurgomaster; Casper Guttman 1st; Giacomo the jester; Mrs. Hudson; and Renfield.