The Sunday Intertitle: A Certain Capital


From THE GARDEN OF ALLAH — ravishingly beautiful but somewhat dull from a dramatic standpoint.

Nobody seems to have come up with a name for this kind of title: it’s not really an intertitle as it’s only “inter” the opening credits and the main body of the film. It goes over an establishing shot and augments it with geographic or temporal detail, although in this case it’s oddly coy.


THIS one, however, seems to me to qualify as an intertitle. It’s well into the film, and it describes a plot development in abstract terms rather than merely giving detail of a location. True, it’s superimposed over action instead of being a static card with text and maybe illustrations on, but it’s behaving in a silent movie way.

Strange how these retrograde devices (which I love) followed Dietrich about — see also THE SCARLET EMPRESS.

4 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: A Certain Capital”

  1. Perhaps my greatest weakness is that I need to identify with a central character in a movie. Otherwise I don’t like the movie. This is my big problem with all of Von Sternberg‘s movies. I know they are great movies but I simply don’t appreciate them

  2. I think Clive Brook is surprisingly sympathetic in Underworld. He might be the only example of an empathic Sternbergian character, though.

  3. bensondonald Says:

    All I really remember is Dietrich and Boyer agreeing they must renounce their love because they are believers. It sounded like being a believer was a regrettable medical condition rather than a matter of faith.

    That, and Basil Rathbone seething during a wedding.

  4. He seethes beautifully, doesn’t he?

    There’s a great exotic dance number with tiers of hand-picked extras. That’s the bit that stays with me.

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