Archive for Lucrezia Borgia

Old Haunts

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on October 6, 2011 by dcairns

A  pre-Halloween haunted houseful in this week’s edition of The Forgotten. I’ve written about this one before here.

AU SECOURS! is available as an extra on the DVD of Abel Gance’s LUCREZIA BORGIA, along with the film with the greatest title ever, LA FOLIE DU DOCTEUR TUBE (THE MADNESS OF DR TUBE).

Buy — Lucrezia Borgia

The Sunday Intertitle: Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2011 by dcairns


Known in English as THE ADVENTURES OF CAGLIOSTRO, it charts roughly the same narrative course as the Orson Welles BLACK MAGIC, despite being based upon a different novel. The conflicted attitude to the protagonist causes different but comparable problems in both films — Welles’ movie (partially directed by the Great Man himself) sets Cag up as a heroic revolutionary with a legitimate grudge, before transforming him into an out and out villain. Oswald’s portrays him as something of a scamp, but his slimy scheme to start the French Revolution a year early, motivated only by personal pique, renders him utterly unsympathetic, especially as he escapes the consequences and leaves Meery, his confederate, to take the rap —

Since my copy is a truncated English translation, I can’t tell if this is a shorthand version of a deleted scene, or just a lonely intertitler’s perverted fantasy.

Cagliostro is played by the unnaturally handsome Hans Stuwe, and expensive and imaginative production design (Lazare Meerson!) and striking expressionist photography result in a sumptuous visual spectacle, still dimly apparent in this shortened and fuzzy print. Oswald’s oeuvre, which includes the bold, sympathetic gay rights film DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS, and the epic LUCREZIA BORGIA, could do with restoration and reappraisal. He’s nothing if not resourceful, visually, taking particular pleasure in Cagliostro’s magic tricks.

German cinema’s first disco ball. It would not be the last.

A Wellesian flavour — see the title sequence of CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, soon to be re-released.

Cagliostro’s magic is a lot of balls…

…crystal balls, that is.


Posted in FILM with tags , , , on March 17, 2011 by dcairns

A spectacular siege from Richard Oswald’s LUCREZIA BORGIA.

Post number 3001 at The Daily Notebook seems to require something special… but instead, it’s me, with another edition of The Forgotten, a whistle-stop tour through the cinematic history of the Borgias. The family that lays together, slays together!