Finding the Fulcrum
How lucky we are to have these old films! God bless Scorcese and the many others involved in preserving the legacy. These films, particularly this one, aren’t worth watching for the purpose they were designed for: entertainment. That’s because they don’t work.
But that is what makes them so interesting. This was a period when filmmakers did not know what would work. They had hundreds of years of practice on the stage, more than that in literature and tens of thousands of silent films. But much of that did not apply and there were perhaps eight years of experiments, a bit longer in the detective genre.
This film is one of the more well financed of the early period. It is based on a successful play and emphasises everything that worked on the stage: short term reversals, energetic dialog, motion within the confines of a set. More important, the story is carried by the actors and not the camera. We have no presence in the thing.
Audiences in that day would have been happy with it as a filmed play, but it failed to be one of the surviving forms of what brought us the conventions we have today.
Posted in 2015
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.