My copy of The Believer, featuring my article on William Cameron Menzies, arrived in the post today. I photographed it by torchlight and it came out looking funny. Probably due to ghosts.
Of course, this calls for a Menzies-related intertitle, so here’s one from THE LOVE OF ZERO, an expressionist short directed by Robert Florey (a director seemingly fated to work in low-budget B-pictures, and then TV, for life, despite his obvious imagination).
I’m not sure how Menzies, a highly-paid studio employee, came to be working on this avant-garde adventure in style, made for $200: presumably he was just tempted by the possibility of breaking rules and indulging himself. He did later go on to produce musical shorts in the early ’30s so he obviously had no prejudice against the short form. But most Hollywood employees have a prejudice against not getting paid, so it’s somewhat remarkable that he branched out so far.
The film also features text on screen that’s actually a prop positioned in frame with the actors — walk-in intertitles, or outertitles, or something. A unique case?
The plot sure ain’t much, but it’s a visual feast, showing the clear influence of CALIGARI on Menzies’ distinctive style.
Ah, here it is on YouTube ~