Archive for Emil Jannings

The Spice of Life

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , on March 29, 2016 by dcairns

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Accompanied by Stephen Horne (piano and various) and Frank Bockius (percussion), E.A. Dupont’s VARIETE was a triumph at the Bo’ness Hippodrome. Deliberately rather cold, the movie depends on visual strength to put across its impact, so the restored picture makes a BIG difference. My programme notes, adapted from an original Shadowplay post, have now been adapted into a Chiseler essay, available here.

One thing I never mentioned — excellent use of Emil Jannings’ bulging back. He’s introduced in prison from the rear, and during the long flashback which comprises the story, Dupont again focusses on the rear view each time the character takes an additional step on his journey to potential damnation. Very effective!

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The Sunday Intertitle: Fit as a Fiddle and Ready for Love

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2016 by dcairns

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Emil Jannings preposterously proposes himself trapeze-ready in an intertitle from E.A. Dupont’s fabled VARIETE, which will be wowing them at the Bo’ness Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema on March 19th. Attendees will receive a programme note written by myself.

What else? Ah yes, limericks, on various Nosferatus (Nosferati?) at Limerwrecks, herehere, here and here and a collaborative one (I contributed four syllables) here.

And — another look behind the scenes of THE NORTHLEACH HORROR. This time, meet the gaffer:

THE NORTHLEACH HORROR – Behind the Scenes Part 2 from Dave Jack on Vimeo.

If you’re lovely and would like to contribute to our Indiegogo campaign — funding to help enhance Jane Gardner’s score and Danny Carr and Garry Marshall’s amazing special effects and the sound design — go here. There are exciting prizes to be won and access to be gleaned!

Oh, and MAYBE I’ll watch the Oscars tonight, and MAYBE I’ll do some of that live-blogging.

The Dia de los Muertos Intertitle

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2015 by dcairns

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EYES OF THE MUMMY (1922) is a film in many ways a disappointment — we have Lubitsch, we have Emil Jannings, and we have Pola Negri, but we don’t have a great film. In his Lubitsch biography, Laughter in Paradise, Scott Eyman focuses harshly on a single moment when Jannings has considerable difficulties with his horse, wondering why on earth the shot wasn’t retaken or just excised. The conclusion is that Lubitsch didn’t care, that he lost heart at some point during this film.

The prospect of a Lubitsch horror movie is enticing, but this isn’t really it — the one uncanny image, the titular mummy eyes, is quickly revealed as a Scooby Doo plot to hoodwink gullible tourists. From then on, Jannings’ menacing blackface Arab is the only dramatic threat, and he’s of a wholly corporeal nature.

I did get a brief frisson when I first watched this, when the image below appeared ~

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Whoops, now it’s the image above. The pic appears in Denis Gifford’s Pictorial History of Horror Movies, and I realized I’d just inadvertently checked off a movie from my quest to see every film depicted therein, a quest I have called See Reptilicus and Die (a quest that has been more or less moribund lately as the few films left available to me are so very, very unappealing).

As lacklustre as the film is, it doesn’t deserve Alpha Video’s shoddy rendition, which replaces the German intertitles with cheesily-designed and semi-literate English ones. As the film goes on, these become fewer, as if the Alpha Video titling department (I’m picturing an intern with photoshop) had lost its enthusiasm even more markedly than Herr Lubitsch. By the end, you pretty much have to guess what’s going on, which does add a bit of entertainment value.

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Hey, Alpha Video, what the heck is a sejour?

Aaaand… the whole thing’s on YouTube.