Archive for April 4, 2021

The Easter Sunday Intertitle: Storm

Posted in FILM, literature, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , on April 4, 2021 by dcairns

THE PASSING OF THE THIRD FLOOR BACK (available to watch free on the BFI Player) is such a terrific film that I’m not bothered by it being a sentimental Victorian Christ allegory at all. I like original author Jerome K. Jerome generally, partly because his name is Jerome K. Jerome, mostly because he wrote a great comic novel but seamed it with history and mysticism. Here, the last-named quality dominates. But it’s a very pragmatic mysticism — the Christ-like stranger (Conrad Veidt) effects change in the brutal inhabitants of a lodging house by simple politeness and kindness.

My dream product would be a set that includes this, LITTLE FRIEND by the same director (Bertholdt Viertel), and the novel Prater Violet by Christopher Isherwood, a roman a clef about his collaboration with Viertel on the script for LF. The BFI would be the people to do it, but the fact that they’re providing TPOFTFB for free suggests they don’t think enough of its commercial chances.

Alma Reville on screenplay duties here! And the very fine cast all giving career-highlight performances, including the magnificently repulsive Frank Cellier, whose Priestleyesque self-made monster slowly reveals himself as every bit a Biblical creature as Veidt’s Stranger…

THE PASSING OF THE THIRD FLOOR BACK stars Paul Orlac; Mary Macree; Capt. Jeremy Stickles; Mrs. Malaprop; Inspector Lestrade; Mrs. Pleasant; Mrs. Midget; Mrs. Corney; Mrs. Fairfax; Matthieu Dreyfus; and Edna, the Church Organist (uncredited).