This is a biopic of the 19th Century actor, Edmund Kean.
You may remember him for his famous last words: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”
Made some 90 years after his death, the film tells of the greatest actor of his time, a man toasted as the greatest actor of all time.
Great though he may have been on the stage, his personal life was a wreck.
He was hounded by creditors, had a problem with alcohol, and to make matters worse, had fallen in love with the wife of an ambassador.
Troubled by the fact that he loves, and is loved, by someone he cannot have, he drowns his troubles in drink, seeming to have a grand time dancing till all hours of the night while really in terrible pain. Continue reading
Every Day was a film that German avant-garde filmmaker Hans Richter made as part of a film production course run by the Film Society. It features filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein playing a policeman, whilst Len Lye and Basil Wright provided technical assistance. These contributions reflect the sense of internationalism occurring at this time in British film circles. The film was completed in 1929 under the title The Daily Round, but was never released because Richter was unhappy with the result. Richter began to rework the film in 1975, but died before its completion. It was finally restored, with the addition of a soundtrack, after his death. Continue reading
about the production
The film began production as a silent film. To cash in on the new found popularity of talkies the film’s producers, British International Pictures, gave Hitchcock the go-ahead to film a portion of the movie in sound. Hitchcock thought the idea absurd and surreptitiously filmed almost the entire feature in sound along with a silent version for theatres not yet equipped for talking pictures.
Lead actress Anny Ondra was raised in Prague and had a heavy Polish accent that was felt unsuitable for the film. Sound was in its infancy at the time and it was impossible to post dub Anny’s voice. Rather than replace Anny and re-shoot her portions of the film actress Joan Barry was hired to actually speak the dialogue while Anny lip-synched them for the film. This makes Ondra’s performance seem slightly awkward. Continue reading
All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues) is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers’ extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home from the front.
The novel was first published in November and December 1928 in the German newspaper Vossische Zeitung and in book form in late January 1929. The book and its sequel, The Road Back, were among the books banned and burned in Nazi Germany. It sold 2.5 million copies in twenty-five languages in its first eighteen months in print.
In 1930, the book was adapted as an Oscar-winning film of the same name, directed by Lewis Milestone. Continue reading
Prostitution, Statistics And Harangues, 13 November 2009
“Prostitutka” (1927) is a Bolshevist silent rarity, unusual because of its subject matter, that being prostitution in the U.S.S.R. The world’s oldest profession requires a treatment both delicate and balanced, not an easy topic for a first time director like Herr Oleg Frelikh. Actually, this little known work was Frelikh’s only film as a director (prior to this, he had been an actor) and it’s a flawed but interesting effort. Continue reading
Jannings’ character, the doorman for a famous hotel, is demoted to washroom (bathroom) attendant, as he is considered too old and infirm to be the image of the hotel. He tries to conceal his demotion from his friends and family, but to his shame, he is discovered. His friends, thinking he has lied to them all along about his prestigious job, taunt him mercilessly while his family rejects him out of shame. The man, shocked and in incredible grief, returns to the hotel to sleep in the bathroom where he works. The only person to be kind towards him is the night watchman, who covers him with his coat as he falls asleep. Continue reading
Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967) embodied the modernist ideal of the maladaptive artist so well that a balanced evaluation of his work as filmmaker and painter depends on one’s ability to withhold automatic beatification based solely on his biography. Born and educated in Germany, exiled to Los Angeles when Hitler came to power and abstraction was decreed a “degenerate art,” Fischinger was an uncompromising abstractionist who throughout his life retained a dogged faith in the transcendental potential of pure geometry and color. Persecuted in Germany and condemned to grinding poverty after he settled in L.A., Fischinger’s devotion to the integrity of his art was exemplary. Continue reading