Archive for Pensive Crackle

I Confess

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on April 4, 2012 by dcairns

In a new post at The Chiseler, I talk about PENSIVE CRACKLE, its origins and purpose no longer a total mystery.

The Sunday Intertitle: Broadway Malady

Posted in FILM with tags , on April 1, 2012 by dcairns

Here’s a recently discovered experimental film from 1929, A THEATRICAL HOTEL on 46TH ST, NEW YORK also known as PENSIVE CRACKLE. It uses the particular quality of the early soundtrack, that “warm bath of audio hiss” Guy Maddin has spoken of, with its accompanying soft crackle and bump, as an atmospheric effect, and lets it gradually seep into the onscreen characters, poisoning them as surely as a diet of gunpowder and wasp venom. It starts quite funny, and slowly turns bleaker and bleaker.

There are no credits, so we don’t know who made it or why. It was apparently found in the archive of a secretive Swiss film collector after he died.

While it’s no ROSE HOBART, I do like the way its co-opting of Hollywood imagery, with music, dialogue and narrative stripped away, creates a mysterious, haunting sense of absence, of life ebbing away. And the sapphic implications make it at times reminiscent of MULHOLLAND DRIVE. Maybe it, too, contains a set of “clues” which can be used to decode its fractured storyline?