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falderal : a moving images blog

Archive for the ‘1920s’ Category

More film watching

Monday, May 11th, 2015

I’ve been naughty and have been rewatching some films. I can’t always get myself to watch new movies — I don’t know why!!!

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The Age of Innocence (1993)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Geraldine Chaplin
Country: U.S.A.

First of all, I did like the film, but there were things that I felt were slightly off because of the casting of the main characters. Day-Lewis, Pfeiffer, and Ryder are great actors but I guess that I imagined these characters a certain way that I couldn’t get passed the cast. However, I do think that it says something about how great these actors are because I started seeing why these actors were chosen for their parts. Pfeiffer was graceful, the way I imagined Ellen to be; Ryder occasionally looked so sweet and innocent, which is how I saw May; and I started to get over Day-Lewis’ hair because I always imagined Newland to have a more slicked down hairdo. My ideal cast would have been John Barrymore for Newland, Mary Astor or Vivien Leigh for Ellen, and… oh May is such a hard one! Maybe Lana Turner? Joan Fontaine? Ooooh maybe Lillian Gish?!?! I think Lillian is the one I’ll stick with for May!
Because I have such an immense crush on Winona Ryder, I just have to say that the sweetness of May came through in the scene when she is reading (narrating?) the letter to Newland about agreeing to hasten the wedding. Also, she did a perfect job in the scene when she tells Newland that she is pregnant.
The only major complaint I have is the use of voiceover even though I know why it was used — I knew that voiceovers would be inevitable for this film. I wondered how in the world anyone could film this book due to how descriptive it is and how much of it is based on Newland’s perception of New York society, but I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up enjoying the film even though I hoped that Scorsese would find a way around voiceovers. I honestly was a bit wary to watch the film because I imagined that anyone who attempts to film The Age of Innocence would fail.
Beautifully shot film (especially the ending!!!) and I loved all the food porn. I still stand by that this is Scorsese’s Barry Lyndon because I didn’t expect either Scorsese or Kubrick to make the films.

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Chaplin (1992)
Director: Richard Attenborough
Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Geraldine Chaplin, Paul Rhys, Moira Kelly, Anthony Hopkins, Dan Aykroyd
Country: U.S.A., Japan, France, Italy

Since I do not know much about Chaplin’s personal history, I don’t really have anything to compare this film too, which I am actually glad about because knowing too much about Chaplin could have made me dislike the film because all I would be doing is moan about inaccuracies or wonder why they left certain things out. But maybe the film isn’t riddled with inaccuracies since Chaplin’s daughter is in the film and I doubt she would have been in it if she strongly disagreed with it. I don’t think the film itself is made well (it is ok but I had some issues with the way they edited it), but the acting was phenomenal!!! I also loved Mary Pickford’s hair in the film and even though she wasn’t portrayed in a good light, it is true that Chaplin and Pickford did not get along so I wouldn’t be surprised if Pickford was nasty to Chaplin.
Geraldine Chaplin and Robert Downey Jr. shine in this film and seeing their performance was a joy to watch. At first I was like, “Robert can’t get away with this. He can’t be Chaplin.” but I was proven wrong because his performance was so convincing that it was as if he became Chaplin. I wouldn’t mind rewatching this movie to watch Robert Downey Jr.’s performance again because it is just that good.

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Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Actors: Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Cyd Charisse
Country: U.S.A.

I’ve wanted to rewatch this movie for some time and I finally got around to it! The last time (and only time) I watched this was in 2007 or 2008 and my mom told me that she enjoyed this movie a lot and that I should watch it. I loved this movie back then because I thought that it was hilarious and fell in love with Gene Kelly’s dancing. I still love the same scene, which is when The Dueling Cavalier‘s sound synchronization goes out the window; it is one of the most hilarious scenes I have seen in any film that I’ve watched.
The reason why I wanted to rewatch this film was because I remembered enjoying it but didn’t remember why I liked it so much nor did I really remember much about it. After rewatching it, I found out that I still love the movie because I find it funny, but I now love it because of all the references to film history. When I first watched it, it was when I was getting my feet wet with film history, so I knew about silent films but not much. Now that I am more aware of film history, all the scenes related to the silent-to-talkie transition resonated with me.
It was rewatching this movie that made me keenly aware of Gene Kelly’s athleticism in regards to his dancing. In the “Moses Supposes” number, seeing Gene dancing next to Donald O’Connor made me think of Fred Astaire because O’Connor is slim and his dancing isn’t as full of power and energy like Gene’s. O’Connor is a great dancer but his style is different than Gene’s, just like how Fred and Gene are very different too. I saw so much power in Gene’s dancing that I was blown away.
I still can’t get over the beauty of how that long veil moves in the “Broadway Melody” sequence — Cyd Charisse looked awesome in it! The whole “Broadway Melody” sequence also made me think that Hollywood films can be very avant-garde and artsy-fartsy too because there were times when it looked very surreal. I actually find all of Gene Kelly’s ballet sequences to be really surreal and it takes the musical genre to a whole ‘nother level. Fred and Ginger tell a story through their dancing and Gene Kelly does the same thing too, but by taking the viewers into a whole different realm than the location of the story is a bold thing to do. I guess it isn’t as jarring in this film because Gene Kelly’s character is telling his idea for The Dancing Cavalier, but it was rather surreal in On the Town and (if I remember correctly) An American in Paris.
Also, does anyone think that Gene Kelly is not a very convincing silent film actor? I don’t know what it is about him but he just doesn’t look like one!!! I know that makes no sense whatsoever because there is no “look” when it comes to an actor in a silent film. I kind of felt that way about Jean Hagan too. Don’t get me wrong though because this movie would not be the same without them and I love them in it.

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On the Town (1949)
Director: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Actors: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Jules Munshin, Vera-Ellen, Alice Pearce
Country: U.S.A.

Around 2008 or so, I did a Gene Kelly marathon where I would hunt down as many Gene Kelly films as I can and watch whatever I could get my hands on. After several years passed, my memory of these films waned but I remember that back then, there was a film that I considered to be better than Singin’ in the Rain in Gene’s oeuvre. The thing is, I don’t remember what the movie was called but I thought that it was this film or It’s Always Fair Weather because I remembered sailors, Frank Sinatra, and Cyd Charisse.
Now that I watched this film, I don’t think this is the movie I was thinking about but at least I know which movie has Frank Sinatra and sailors — I hope that I don’t forget again. I wonder if my taste and perceptions of movies have changed so much that I won’t know which film I preferred back then. This film was fun to watch but I didn’t think it was anything special and I don’t think I’d watch it again because there isn’t even a scene that would draw me back to this film. Oh wait, I will rewatch parts of this film because I want to learn how to do the Charleston and I think that this film shows off the dance quite well! I wonder what I thought of this film when I first watched it; this is why I need to be more vigilant with my blogging!
Between the time I first watched this film and the time I rewatched it, I was on a Bewitched kick so I was so happy to see Alice Pearce because I love her as Gladys Kravitz.
Now I need to get my hands on It’s Always Fair Weather!!!

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Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Director: Vincent Sherman
Actors: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel
Country: U.S.A.

This is the first Bette Davis film that I’ve ever watched and the first time I watched it, I hated it! I hated the film, I hated Bette Davis, and I was a raging madwoman and didn’t understand the hype about this film or Bette. Well, things have changed over many many years and I think I’ve watched more Bette Davis films than Joan Crawford films >_>; I used to say that I love Joan more than Bette but I’m not too sure anymore!!! I now love them both and they’re brilliant in their own ways.
Anyway, I rewatched this film a year or two ago and I really enjoyed it and found it so touching. I don’t know why I hated it so much when I first watched it and why I found it to be such a bore then, but when I rewatched this film once again, I enjoyed it once more. When Job comes back and Fanny accepts him, my heart was wrung dry and my eyes watered from emotion.
I believe that I read this in Bette’s memoir when she said that she bluffed her way through this role because she knew she wasn’t the most beautiful woman. This film shows off Bette’s acting chops because she is totally convincing as the most desirable woman. I also find Bette to be pretty and wouldn’t mind if I looked like her at all — Warner Brothers knew how to make her up! Maybe all I need is a studio makeover?
I know I’m babbling a lot about Bette BUT HOW CAN WE FORGET CLAUDE RAINS’ PERFORMANCE? Jesus christ that man can act!!! He is so touching as Job and when Fanny keeps on mentioning his eyes, you completely understand what she means because Claude Rains is SO GOOD.

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Robin Hood (1922)
Director: Allan Dwan
Actors: Douglas Fairbanks, Wallace Beery, Sam De Grasse, Enid Bennett, Paul Dickey
Country: U.S.A.

I know the basics about Fairbanks due to reading a bit about Mary Pickford but I never watched any of his films because I had this odd abhorrence towards them for no good reason. I think it’s because I felt as if the kinds of films he was known for wasn’t my type but… I WAS WRONG! My reluctance to watch a Fairbanks film ended up being the way I felt about western films: my feelings towards them were completely irrational.
I have to say that this film is something special because no other film has drawn me in that I started to whoop and holler while watching it. Without knowing, when Robin Hood was kicking some booty, I was shouting, “YOU GET THEM!”, “HOORAY!!!”, and other related things. I was laughing, squealing, and rooting for Robin Hood and this is something that I’ve never done in my entire life. I can now understand people who shout at bars while watching sports. Because no other film gave me such an interactive experience, I have to think highly of this film and put it in a special place. It’s rather odd since it’s not really a film I would watch on repeat or whenever I want to cheer up, but I can’t disregard the experience that this film gave me. I wonder if contemporary moviegoers also rooted for Robin Hood while watching this film.
Fairbanks was so charming in the role of Robin Hood. He was ok as the Earl of Huntingdon but he truly blossomed when he portrayed Robin Hood and I wanted to see more of Fairbanks and didn’t care for any of the other actors because he was a joy to watch. Kind of random, but I was surprised to like Wallace Beery in this film because I usually don’t care for him and always see him as a douchecanoe (I don’t know why), but I did like him as King Richard.
The film was shot beautifully and I couldn’t get over the gorgeous sets and elaborate costumes. Also, SERIOUS HAIR INSPIRATION IN THIS FILM. If anyone says that old films weren’t polished or as great as modern films or talkies, they need to watch this film because it has the finesse of films from Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Did anyone else think of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in the scene where the court jester is murdered? Another thing that surprised me was that people getting hanged and hanged people were shown in the film — isn’t that a bit disturbing?!
I need to make a gazillion gifs from this film because there were so many great moments.
I’m glad that the ice is broken and I look forward to watching more of Fairbanks’ work!

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Ninotchka (1939)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Actors: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Bela Lugosi, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Alexander Granach
Country: U.S.A.

Before I start rambling about the movie, CAN WE PLEASE DISCUSS BELA LUGOSI AND ALEXANDER GRANACH BEING IN THIS FILM?! I was working on my “art project” (paper chain) while watching this movie and when the film started and the credits came on, my eyes went straight for Bela Lugosi’s name and I was like, “WTFBBQQQQQQ?!?!”, because I’ve watched this film probably 10+ times and I never noticed. When the credits came on at the end of the film, my eyes went straight for Alexander Granach and once again I had the same exact reaction as I did to Bela Lugosi’s name. HOW IN THE WORLD DID I MISS THIS THE LAST BAZILLION TIMES THAT I HAVE WATCHED THIS FILM? HOW?! I always associate Alexander Granach with German silent films (never forget the pig exit in Schatten) so to see him in an American film (and a talkie at that!) had my head reeling.
I haven’t watched Ninotchka in awhile and decided that this time around, I’m going to be a more active viewer and try to find Lubitsch’s brilliance because as much as I love Lubitsch, I also question why he is so great. Sometimes I wonder if Lubitsch is great because of the great scripts he has (I’m focusing on the sound picture era here) or if he’s great because he really brings out the greatness of a darn good script. I need to read some academic works on Lubitsch to help me out… but I should do that after I do another Lubitsch marathon! After rewatching Ninotchka, I think that maybe Lubitsch’s brilliance is that you forget everything and become a passive viewer; I just take in the jokes and have a good time. I guess that’s some dangerous filmmaking though… I think this is even more apparent in To Be or Not to Be because I always feel reluctant recommending that film because as much as I love it and find it hilarious, some people might find it offensive. I wonder how Russians would see Ninotchka, especially people who lived much of their life in the USSR.
I have a love/hate relationship with Greta Garbo but I absolutely LOVE, LOVE her in this film. I wish that she did more comedies because she is brilliant in this film. Her deadpan face expressions are perfect but she is also great when her character loosens up too. It’s a real shame that her last film, also a comedy, was kind of a dud. I remember not enjoying it when I watched it… or maybe I’ll change my mind like I did with Mr. Skeffington?

Some quick thoughts

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Since I got into grad school, I figured that I should brush up on my film knowledge before heading off because I say the following phrase too often: I’ve heard of the film, I know some things about it, but I haven’t watched it. Because of this, I am going to watch some films from my to-watch list. It’s about freaking time that I watched some of these!
I’m too tired to write fully thought out entries so this is the best I could muster.

8½ (1963)
Director: Federico Fellini
Actors: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo
Country: Italy, France
I FINALLY WATCHED THIS FILM. I FINALLY DID. AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE OF IT. My god, it’s beautifully shot and there were some parts of it that I loved but this was my reaction:
First third of the film: What is going on?!
Second third of the film: OH MY GOD THIS IS SO GOOD.
Last third of the film: What what what what?! (à la Kyle’s mom from South Park)
I will have to rewatch this after 10 years have passed, although this movie did make me wonder if I would give it a second chance if it wasn’t such a well regarded film. Also, ANOUK AIMÉE IS SO GORGEOUS IN THIS MOVIE.

Asphalt (1929)
Director: Joe May
Actors: Albert Steinrück, Else Heller, Gustav Fröhlich, Betty Amann
Country: Germany
I really loved the way the title was filmed along with the city scenes since it reminded me of Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt — I think I read that the film was filmed by the same people? It was nice to see Gustav Fröhlich in a movie that isn’t Metropolis (will forever love his pants in that movie) and Betty Amann was such a babe in this film! Can I please look awesomely vampy as her one day?! Her as Else in this movie is my vamp idol. I didn’t find the movie to be too enjoyable to watch although I found it very interesting in that I felt like the movie was a morality film. It’s like: LOOK AT ALBERT’S PARENTS. THEY ARE OLD FASHIONED THUS HAPPY AND GOOD PEOPLE BUT LOOK AT HOW THE CITY HAS CORRUPTED ALBERT BECAUSE ELSE IS THE EMBODIMENT OF MODERNIZATION. Outside of that point, the story itself was nothing special and seemed trite. I did like the happy ending though :)

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
Director: Tay Garnett
Actors: Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames
Country: U.S.A.
I DON’T REALLY CARE FOR THIS FILM BUT THIS MOVIE GAVE ME SO MANY FEELLLLLSSSSSSS. Cora, played by the oh-so-beautiful Lana Turner, is often labeled as a femme fatale and maybe I have the wrong idea of the definition of femme fatales, but to me, I always see that label as connoting something negative. Well, I don’t think Cora is a femme fatale and any trouble Frank got into in his movie was his fault. I found Frank so unlikable that I couldn’t help but side with Cora and couldn’t see her as anyone bad. I think it is because she is shown to be quite human (she is often stating her goals and she is jealous when she finds out Frank had a fling) whereas my personal ultimate femme fatale is Phyllis Dietrichson, who is cool as a cucumber and has an air of mystery. If you ask me, Cora doesn’t have that cool or steeliness that Phyllis does, although that kissing scene is AMAZING when she wipes her mouth and reapplies her lipstick after the kiss.
I wouldn’t watch this film for fun again but I really need to make a gif of that kissing scene because it is too great.

The Misfits (1961)
Director: John Huston
Actors: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, Eli Wallach
Country: U.S.A.
I adore Marilyn Monroe and a long time ago, I decided that I’ll watch all the films she starred in but I kept pushing off watching The Misfits. I enjoyed it in the same manner that I enjoyed watching The Night of the Iguana because both films portray the characters so well.
Thelma Ritter was A+ as usual but what I found so disturbing about the film was seeing Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable. The Gable I know is the way he looked and sounded in the 1930s and to see him in this film looking so old and not having that voice of his was shocking. I didn’t know how to digest it and I felt like the charisma he had in all his older films was gone. He was good in the role but he didn’t have that sparkle that he has even in his most banal roles from the 1930s. I always associate Clift with his role in A Place in the Sun because that was the first film I saw him in and he made such a big impression on me. In The Misfits, he looked so haggard that I couldn’t get over it. What made it worse was that I felt like Marilyn Monroe looked so beautiful in this film and to see her with these two stars looking very different than what I am used to emphasized how I viewed her character in this film. Roslyn is so different from everyone around her and her beautiful appearance emphasized that amongst the other actors. The character of Roslyn is actually how I imagine Monroe to actually be: a very sensitive soul that isn’t understood by many people.

The White Sister ; 1923

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Director: Henry King
Actors: Lillian Gish, Ronald Colman, Gail Kane, J. Barney Sherry, Charles Lane, Juliette La Violette
Country: U.S.A.

Part of the Gish Sisters Blogathon. Please check out the other entries!

What to say about The White Sister… I think that the best way to put it would be “conflicted”.

In regards to mise-en-scène, it is absolutely breathtaking. I was astounded by the sets and how lovely all the costumes were. It was truly an impressive picture to watch purely for the sets alone. As for the leads, Lillian Gish and Ronald Colman, that is where the “conflicted” feelings comes in. Both Gish and Colman are formidable actors in their own rights but I was less than impressed with Colman in this film and Gish left me both impressed and kind of cold. Personally, the chemistry between the two actors (their characters are lovers) worked and did not work at the same time because I could not wrap my head around the coupling of the two actors. Gish’s character isn’t a child but her looks made her appear to be like a child-woman and Colman appeared a bit too old for her that they looked mismatched. However, what made me think that Gish was a nuanced actress was that despite her youthful face, she appeared incredibly mature, which left me baffled because my brain kept going, “She looks so young, BUT SHE OBVIOUSLY ISN’T!” I think that my thoughts were obstructing my ability to immerse myself into the love scenes because I thought that they were very well acted, but then I would always have an afterthought that ruined the moment.

So why did Gish’s performance make me think that it was impressive but also unimpressive at the same time?
As a disclaimer, I am going to state that I think Gish fans are going to like her performance in this movie. Heck, I think that the sets and her acting were the best things about the movie and it’s those things alone that make this film worth a watch. I actually feel bad for criticizing Gish because I haven’t watched many of her films and only watched some of her most famous pictures, so all I’ve seen of Gish are similar characters. I’m falling into the mistake that people (myself included) made about Mary Pickford so I feel a bit iffy saying not very nice things about Gish.
When I see Gish in highly emotional scenes, such as in The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Broken Blossoms (1919), I am blown away by the power of her performance. It is both Brechtian-esque and immersing at the same time; Gish’s performance of emotional scenes makes my skin crawl and I become aware that I am watching a movie but at the same time, I am almost in a trance-like state where I am captivated by everything Gish does on the screen and all thoughts escape my mind. The reason I hold Gish in such high respect as an actress is because she is able to make me feel that way. I felt this way when I watched Gish in certain scenes in The White Sister (one of them is shown in Picture 2), but what was odd about watching this movie was that I felt as if I was watching Gish performing in the same mannerisms as she did in her previous pictures. What I loved most about Gish’s performance in her other silent pictures was what made me feel detached and a bit pooped in this movie. It’s quite a mystery as to why but I do have an inkling. I absolutely adored Gish in The Night of the Hunter (1955) because of her powerful performance and for me, it was a change to see her as this protective and strong woman whereas the characters I saw Gish perform in her silents were of girls and women who were helpless. While her character, Angela, isn’t completely helpless, she has a weariness to her that seems similar to Gish’s most famous silent film roles.

Overall, I think that this film is worth a watch for Lillian Gish fans but it wouldn’t be a movie that I would personally watch again during my free time.

IMDb Link: The White Sister

Shakhmatnaya goryachka (Chess Fever) ; 1925

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Director: Vsevolod Pudovkin, Nikolai Shpikovsky
Actors: Vladimir Fogel, Anna Zemtsova, José Raúl Capablanca
Country: Soviet Union

During my email conversations with my friend, K, I asked her what her personal favorite films were and she mentioned Chess Fever. I was very glad that she recommended it to me because it was a joy to watch! The film had everything that I loved about silent film comedies: slapstick and visual humor.

I think that this is one of those films that is great for introducing people to silent films because it is short, funny, and really cute. The male protagonist was adorable with his many cats, pockets full of chess boards and pieces, and his clothes reflected his obsession with chess; his hat, handkerchief, socks, and even his sweater resembled a chessboard. My favorite scene is definitely the one that I chose for this entry, when the male protagonist tries to woo his fiancee back, but then he ends up playing chess on his handkerchief.

Despite it being very funny, I did find the movie to be quite unsettling. Maybe I am over-analyzing, but it felt as if the movie was a reflection of movie making. In the movie, the only character that dislikes chess is the female protagonist, Vera (Zemtsova). However, everyone in her life, from her mother, her grandfather, is obsessed with chess and so is the rest of the town. In the end, she ends up loving chess by falling in love with the world champion of chess, and she is reunited with her lover (Fogel). Coming back to the idea of movie making, what made me think of that idea was that actors are like chess pieces and don’t have a will of their own: they are the chess pieces and the directors are the players controlling them. Even though actors may say what they want, most likely they will have to succumb to their director’s wishes, and this is just like Vera who in the end becomes like everyone else in the movie. Also, I don’t know if Pudovkin and Shpikovsky were trying to say something about the dangers of group mentality through this movie or if they were just having fun with the idea of chess, but that thought was a bit unsettling too.

Nevertheless, before I started thinking a BIT too much about this movie, I had a lot of fun watching it. It reminded me of Ernst Lubitsch’s silent comedies, which is probably why I enjoyed watching this so much. Also, I FINALLY watched something by Pudovkin, phew!

IMDb Link: Shakhmatnaya goryachka

Die Frau im Feuer ; 1924

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Because this blog is a free for all, I decided to post about my movie related travels.

For my last semester in college, I decided to undertake a research project related to Asta Nielsen and Mary Pickford and was able to travel to Germany and Denmark to dig through the archives and also do an internship. Some of the things I found were things that I didn’t find readily on the internet, so I thought I’d share.

In this entry, I’m posting the Illustrierter Film-Kurier for the presumed lost Nielsen film, Die Frau im Feuer. I found this on microfilm at the Deutsche Kinemathek. I am so glad that these Film-Kuriers exist because they are probably the only ties that we have in regards to Nielsen’s lost films.

What was most surprising about my finds was that Nielsen is rarely seen in fan magazines and the only time she is mentioned in fan magazines is when a new film of hers is released; I saw more of Jenny Jugo than anyone else. However, Nielsen was mentioned quite often in trade journals, especially in the late 1910s and early 1920s, except my German sucks so I have no clue what they are saying for the most part. One day I will master the language, ONE DAY!!!

Click here for the rest!

Morality and the New Woman

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Last semester was one that was both heaven and hell. I was taking classes that I enjoyed (for the most part) and the one that I was truly excited about was my independent study. My independent study was a research paper on Asta Nielsen and Mary Pickford and how both women portrayed the idea of the new woman overtly or subversively. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with my paper although I was worried about some of the holes I had in my argument, and the biggest hole is what I’m about to address.

I received my paper back from my professor and she brought up the same question that I had about my own paper: Is agency a good thing if one’s act is selfish and not moral?
I was using Nielsen’s film Hamlet as an example of how film portrayed a woman who embodied the idea of a new woman — the important part being what I considered to be a new woman. For me, the ideas of a new woman were ones tied to independence, intelligence, and worldliness, and the character of Gertrude was one that encapsulated all of them. Gertrude was just doing her thing throughout the whole film! She’d cheat on her husband, lie to her country, and kill her son/daughter and husband as a way to satisfy herself. In other words: she knew what she wanted and she’d do anything to get it.
To have such a character is refreshing because in cinema, many women are pushed around or are just “decorations” in a film (e.g. pretty girl being tied down onto a train track just to be saved, such as in Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life, 1913) but It reminded me of something that I think I read awhile back (things are getting a bit murky in my head, I admit!) about how strong female characters in cinema are shown in somewhat an antagonistic light, for example, femme fatales.
Femme fatales are intriguing in that I personally find those characters to be absolutely amazing (They’re completely the opposite of me in character that I guess I want to live vicariously through them. But enough with the pseudo-Freudian analysis…) but it is true that people can see these characters as symbols of corruption. Instead of women being picturesque Victorian “ladies”, the shift in gender norms led to the creation of the vamp/femme fatale. Just think about what “vamp” means. Like a vampire, these women are ones that suck the life out of men and make them putty in their hands.

Coming back to Gertrude and my paper, I am honestly struggling with the notion of independence and morality in female characters in film. I don’t believe that one has the choose one or the other, heck, I used Mary Pickford as an example of a woman who used the patriarchal system to her advantage. But when it comes to independent women in early-1960s cinema, where and how do we (I?) draw the line?
Am I severely obscuring the term “new woman” to fit my own arguments? Probably.
Are there strong female characters in early cinema? Sure.
But how are these strong female characters shown? Usually with a flaw or something that appeals to the male audience to placate them.
At the top of my head, I can’t think of a woman who is good and strong. Katharine Hepburn in Holiday (1938) is the closest I can come to.
But then I wonder why is it so good to be good? Or am I on the verge of becoming amoral? And I wonder if I would be stuck with this big headache if these characters were male. Would I brush off their actions or would I be ruminating over this?

When I come up with some form of conclusion, it will be time for another blog post.

Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (Diary of a Lost Girl) ; 1929

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst (G.W. Pabst)
Actors: Louise Brooks, André Roanne, Josef Rovenský, Fritz Rasp, Franziska Kinz, Andrews Engelmann, Valeska Gert, Edith Meinhard
Country: Germany

From all of the Pabst silents I have watched, I think that the following are the top three in no particular order:
-Die freudlose Gasse
-Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney
-Tagebuch einer Verlorenen

I really loved this film despite the terrible score that came with the Kino DVD. I never had a problem with any Kino films and the music scores because they were all quite good, but the one for Tagebuch einer Verlorenen didn’t even fit the film. I thought that the music was too overwhelming and was depressing even during the “happy” scenes.
The film was beautifully filmed and Pabst did a wonderful job directing it. I loved the staircase scene when the camera follows Louise Brooks’ movements. I was reading an article in Lulu in Hollywood and Brooks actually mentions Pabst being excited about finding out a way to make the camera turn for the staircase scene. If I didn’t watch the film before reading that, I would have not known which film or scene Brooks was referencing.

My favourite scene, outside of the staircase scene due to the fabulous way it was filmed, has got to be when the girls are exercising and the director’s wife (Gert) orgasms as she hits the gong (ref. Picture 2). The way the scene is filmed by cutting to the girls exercising, the hitting of the gong getting faster and faster, to Gert’s face as she climaxes is incredibly well done. Gert’s face expression says it all: her sadistic nature comes out and so does her sexual self despite her plain non-made up face and her nun-like clothes. The scene also reminded me of Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and Olympia and what Susan Sontag calls “fascist aesthetics”. The lines that I thought of when I saw this scene was “a preoccupation with situations of control, submissive behavior, extravagant effort, and the endurance of pain; they endorse two seemingly opposite states, egomania and servitude” and “the masses are made to take form, be design” (Sontag, “Fascist Aesthetics”). Then I remembered another line from “Fascist Aesthetics”: “The relations of domination and enslavement take the form of a characteristic pageantry: the massing of groups of people; the turning of people into things; the multiplication or replication of things; and the grouping of people/things around an all-powerful, hypnotic leader-figure or force.” As you can see, I read this essay maybe one too many times. Anyway, the girls in the film were like the masses, all doing the same movements, and Gert’s character was like the dictatorial figure who had full control over the girls. They followed her orders almost mechanically, without thought. I wonder what Kracauer said about this film; I think this film would fit his teleological argument (and flawed in my opinion) perfectly.

Along with Die Buchse der Pandora, this film succeeds in weeding out the melodrama and really hits the nail on the effects of societal norms on people. The realism of the film really hit me when I saw that Meinert (Rasp) is not punished at all but the innocent Thymiane is. It’s true that there isn’t always a happy ending and sometimes, bad people don’t suffer. What made me a bit annoyed with Thymiane is that she gave away her inheritance rather than giving it to the people who have helped her survive, such as Erika (Meinhard) and the other hostesses/prostitutes and the madame. It made me upset that she completely forgot about the people who she was with. Thymiane writes that she wants to forget the past, but the people she was with were incredibly supportive and friendly. None of them forced her into prostitution and even protected her when a man almost raped her. In the end, she does help Erika, which I guess does redeem her previous actions, but it was frustrating nonetheless. And Meta (Kinz) was the biggest bitch EVER. Even when she receives all the money that Thymiane has, she doesn’t even say a word of thanks. She is reluctant to let her child even go to Thymiane and although her letting her child go to Thymiane can be a sign of compromise, it just wasn’t enough. I yelled out, “YOU BITCH!” when I watched the film and was frustrated beyond words.

I’m pretty sure Pabst has meant this film to be a social critique, but I wonder if the scenes I considered to be criticisms were meant to be criticisms. I saw this film as a critique towards high society and how they shun the women for being “deviant” yet the men never suffer the consequences. Also, high society families are portrayed in a negative light with the philandering father and a family willing to cut off connections with their daughter. It is the prostitutes and lower class people who are genuinely caring and friendly. The hypocrisy of the self-righteous people are emphasized in this film, but maybe this wasn’t what the film was about? I hope I’m not too off the base with Pabst’s vision and the story.

IMDb Link: Tagebuch einer Verlorenen
Where to buy: Kino Video, Amazon.com

Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) ; 1929

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst (G.W. Pabst)
Actors: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alice Roberts, Gustav Diessl
Country: Germany

First of all, rest in peace Pabst. Your films are much loved by film enthusiasts, scholars, and most people who have watched your films. You will never be forgotten.
I watched Tagebuch einer Verlorenen, another Brooks film, without knowing it was the day of Pabst’s death until afterwards. Sad but somehow fitting. It’s a great film that I’ll post about next.

Since I’m a huge whiner, I want to start this post with a complaint: the Janus Die Büchse der Pandora DVD in the Essential Art House DVD set has a terrible score. I honestly wanted to stop watching the film because the music was so bad and half the time, I turned it off. It’s the score by Peer Raben, which is also available on the Criterion DVD, and the stupid score made me on the verge of tears (due to frustration) and I couldn’t help but think how much it ruined the film. I’ve watched it before without the music and it was quite enjoyable that way and I was excited to watch it with music, but alas, what a disappointment.

Other than that, I want to start with my honest opinion that I might get shot for: I think that this film isn’t exactly the best out of Pabst’s silents. Die Büchse der Pandora always gets the most attention along with Die freudlose Gasse and while I think it’s a film that deserves recognition, I don’t see all the hype about it. Yes, I like the film, but I would give it probably a 8.5/10 THE HIGHEST. Maybe I’m just bitter because this film gets so much attention, but I just don’t think it lives up to its hype. Hm, maybe I should take back everything I typed. I think I have more problem with the story that I’m just really angry. The film was beautifully directed and the ending was absolutely perfect, but my sense of justice made me aggravated with it. I hated that Lulu had to die, but then again, that is probably the only way to escape her dreadful life. She died in the hands of someone who she liked whereas her relationship with her previous lover was pretty much dead. Whenever I read about this film, people always say that it’s a film about a woman who brings the demise of anyone around her and that Lulu is a femme fatale, yet I do not see it that way at all. I can see the point in the argument because she is a gorgeous woman, and everyone enamored by her are like moths to a flame, and I purposefully use that idiom because while a flame can be beautiful and something that attracts you, it can also hurt you. I want to deemphasize the fact that she brings destruction to the people around her because the question is, does she really destroy the people around her? I think that she doesn’t because while people put her in this box of a “femme fatale”, I feel like a woman pursuing what she wants is always seen in a bad light when I don’t see anything wrong with it. Is it that wrong to be selfish? Was Lulu truly trying to hurt the people around her? I do not think so and I am incredibly sympathetic of Lulu. She didn’t deserve to be in prison because she didn’t mean to kill her husband and it was really Alwa’s fault that she had to live in a terrible state and eventually even prostitute herself. Rather than seeing Lulu as bringing ruin to everyone around her, I see her as a victim of circumstances. I believe that she was looking for love and some place where she would truly belong. In the end, she found it in Jack the Ripper (Diessl) and while it is twisted and tragic, it is as if she got her happy ending.

The ending for this film was perfect. Pabst did such a wonderful job directing everything and the mood of the last shot evokes so many things: loneliness, the meaning (or lack of) of life, death, continuation of time… it’s just so much that I can’t put it in words. In my opinion, from the scene of Lulu’s death to the end is probably one of the most powerful scenes in cinema. When I saw Schigolch (Goetz) eating the Christmas pudding, Alwa ignorant of Lulu’s death, and the Christmas parade, it made me think about how insignificant a life can seem or even be and how life goes on despite deaths. Lulu’s death seemed so insignificant especially when I saw Schigolch with the pudding because the only reason she went out to sell herself was because Schigolch guilt tripped her into it by saying how he would like a taste of pudding before he died and in the end, he got his pudding anyway. Instead, Lulu died and she could have escaped her fate if she didn’t go out. Some people say she deserved her death to stop the cycle of destruction, but I don’t see why. I don’t think she deserved death, although it could imply that it’s the only way to be happy for her. Rather than a cycle of destruction for the people around her, I felt as if Lulu was in a state of self-destruction due to the people around her. Speaking of the ending, the chemistry between Brooks and Diessl was perfect. Brooks did say that she was attracted to him and I could see why. I’ve seen Diessl in another Pabst film and didn’t find him to be attractive, but he was kind of handsome in this film. And seeing Kortner in this film made me laugh because I just find him to be really funny looking and a terrible actor. Funny that he didn’t respect Brooks as an actress when I think she was so much better. Although that can be based on what good acting was back in the 20s, Asta Nielsen was respected for her natural acting.

Louise Brooks has been immortalized by this film and I think that overall, she did a great job. The scene when she is in the courthouse (ref. Picture 3) and the ending is when I thought Brooks’ talent came out. She portrayed a beautiful, tragic, and sympathetic character to perfection and her presence on screen was great. Brooks said that she wasn’t a wonderful actress and that she was just being herself and I’m not going to complain because she was terrific. Many people credit her for natural and nuanced acting, but to me, I thought that she still had a very noticeable American style of acting of that time. Comparing her to Asta Nielsen (interesting fact: Asta is probably the first actress to portray Lulu on film), I would say that Asta is the one who truly acts in a nuanced fashion. While Brooks does so in certain scenes, when she is excited, she reminded me of Clara Bow in It rather than any European actresses in European silents. It’s not a criticism, but I just thought that Brooks didn’t live up to her reputation, but nonetheless I really admire her. She is such a charming person in the film and in her interviews and it’s such a shame that most of her films aren’t available. As much as I love Marlene Dietrich, I’m so glad that Louise Brooks was cast; I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job. I watched a short American sound film with Brooks in it and I felt like her acting wasn’t that great (neither was the film), which led me to my conclusion that Pabst brought the best out in her. But don’t take my word since I haven’t watch any other Brooks films and I heard Beggars of Life is another film that Brooks is great in. Of course, being a fan of Pabst, I can be totally biased.

IMDb Link: Die Büchse der Pandora
Where to buy: Amazon.com, Criterion Collection

Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (The Love of Jeanne Ney) ; 1927

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst (G.W. Pabst)
Actors: Édith Jéhanne, Uno Henning, Fritz Rasp, Brigitte Helm
Country: Germany

I’ve watched Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney in bits and pieces in semi-conscious states but I finally sat down and watched the whole film at once. I do not regret rewatching this film at all and I think that this is the best Pabst film I’ve seen. I really love Die freudlose Gasse, but there is something about Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney that is so much better. I’m not quite sure why I love Die freudlose Gasse, but I remember the first time I watched it, I thought, “Hey! I really enjoyed watching this movie!” and my fascination with Asta Nielsen began. Now that I think about it, I think the reason I love Die freudlose Gasse so much is because Nielsen’s acting really caught my eye and there was something about her in the scene when she was at the jeweler’s that drew me in. So what is it about this film that I like so much. I don’t know. Just like me being interested in Nielsen and loving her in every scene of Die freudlose Gasse, I think Brigitte Helm’s performance as Gabrielle blew my mind. I really liked Helm’s somewhat hammy acting in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (and it totally doesn’t help that her sneer is one of the sexiest things ever and that peacock dance at the Yoshiwara is one of my favourite scenes from all the films I’ve watched so far), but her acting in Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney was PHENOMENAL. Édith Jéhanne as the titular character was great as well along with the oh-so-delicious Uno Henning as her lover. By the way, I totally thought Henning looked like Ewan McGregor, but maybe that’s just me.

In Pabst’s Die freudlose Gasse, I thought that Pabst did a great job experimenting with slow motion, different film stock, and lighting; with Geheimnisse einer Seele, Pabst did a terrific job with special effects/various techniques (perhaps maybe even overdoing it), but with Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney, I think he was able to really find a happy middle. He used various techniques he used in Geheimnisse einer Seele but didn’t overdo it and used them to their full advantage by using them as a plot device that fit in seamlessly with the story. Whereas Die freudlose Gasse has the potential to be perfect, Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney has almost reached perfection. Maybe Die freudlose Gasse appears to be a bit rough due to missing parts and scholars/film archivists not knowing the order of the scenes, thus restored versions of the film don’t guarantee that the presentation of the film is that close to the original, but Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney really was a step forward. I’m not making sense and it’s a bit hard for me to try to explain my thoughts, but what I’m trying to get to is that this film was a huge improvement from his previous films.

The film is a (melo)drama, but it had me intrigued almost from the beginning. I hated that Pabst started the film with Fritz Rasp because Rasp is truly a hideous man. I noticed that he always plays the sleazy guy in films and his face is really perfect for that. Seriously, his face just annoys the hell out of me and he isn’t even a good actor. He brings on the lulz (I can’t believe I actually used that term), but… dskfhksdg I REALLY, REALLY DON’T LIKE HIM! Jéhanne and Helm’s acting is so natural and beautiful, particularly Helm’s, but Rasp overacts in almost every scene. What’s the point of slowly getting closer to a girl and then all of a sudden grabbing her? And the whole kissing-Hertha von Walther’s-eye thing was really weird. Jéhanne plays the sweet, innocent, and somewhat naïve Jeanne and although I would usually be annoyed with characters like Jeanne, I couldn’t help but like her. The story is of lovers who are madly in love with each other yet something happens that separates them. Then another incident occurs that could separate the lovers but a nice man comes along and patches things up. Misunderstandings happen, murder, and all other great things that probably happen in soap operas occur, but the film implies a happy ending.
I really adore this film, but my biggest problem with it is the story. Although highly enjoyable, I wonder why the film leaves Gabrielle with an unhappy ending and doesn’t even return to her after her father’s death. Out of all the characters in the film, I think she has suffered the most and deserved a happy ending. Jeanne deserves it as well but Gabrielle was such a tragic figure that I couldn’t help but almost cry when she found her father’s dead body. I also didn’t understand why Gabrielle first flinched from Khalibiev’s (Rasp) touch but then somehow fell in love with him. I thought that she was able to see, despite being blind, behind is “friendly” exterior, but she somehow fell for him because he brought her flowers and acted as if he really loved her when all he wanted to do was get into Jeanne’s pants (um, skirt?). Jeanne was never comfortable around Khalibiev and I kept looking forward to a scene when she would tell Gabrielle that she is not comfortable with Gabrielle’s engagement with Khalibiev but that never happened. The final shot is truly a beautiful one, but it’s too simple to wrap up everything: how will Jeanne and Andreas (Henning) be together when there are political problems surrounding their relationship? One of Die freudlose Gasse‘s criticisms is that the melodrama overpowers the message behind the film and that applies to the film perfectly. I don’t agree much with the criticism for Die freudlose Gasse, but the happy ending truly seems tacked on like it just needs to happen. But things really aren’t that simple! But nonetheless, that final shot means multiple things, which is why I love it. The obvious one is that the murderer has been caught, but the diamond also can be foreshadowing Jeanne and Andreas’ marriage, and perhaps maybe it is a happy ending for Gabrielle; since the diamond was found by her father’s company, most likely she would be able to have the reward money.

After watching this film, I really didn’t understand why Die freudlose Gasse got all the attention out of the many films Pabst directed. The film isn’t even complete and the film is arranged by scholars guessing what the order of scenes are, and in comparison, this film is pretty solid. Maybe there are some missing scenes since I did read that this film was cut by the censors, but it’s not in the terrible state that Die freudlose Gasse is. Is it because Die freudlose Gasse addresses the political, social, and moral problems in Germany/Austria directly whereas Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney brings forth what was going on around the time the film was made but is overshadowed by the melodramatic story? I just think that this film is one of Pabst’s strongest silent œuvre because everything fits so well, but that’s just my opinion.

By the way, sexy Hertha von Walther is in this film! I almost did a little jig when I saw her. I love that Pabst usually has eye candy in his films and I completely trust his taste in men and women. Édith Jéhanne, Uno Henning, and Brigitte Helm were lovely to look at, especially Jéhanne! I also wouldn’t mind having Henning as arm candy as well. I really wonder how Helm became type-casted as a vamp because she was such a wholesome character in this film. Gosh, I really love Helm!

IMDb Link: Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney
Where to buy: Kino Video, Amazon.com

Geheimnisse einer Seele (Secrets of a Soul) ; 1926

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst (G.W. Pabst)
Actors: Werner Krauss, Ruth Weyher, Jack Trevor, Pavel Pavlov, Hertha von Walther
Country: Germany

I have watched this film last semester and while finding it comical at times, I did enjoy it. When I rewatched it, I really enjoyed the cinematography once again and was amazed how Pabst did some of the effects. The way scenes were filmed such as having the dream scene be filmed in an incredibly surreal manner, flashbacks being filmed usually with a plain, white background (ref. Picture 3), and everything else looking as if it was set in location. The flashbacks/memories have somewhat of a surreal touch and I guess the white background sort of adds to that as well. Although I am no fan of psychoanalysis and Freud, this film is worth a watch for the cinematographic techniques and the visuals. The story is a bit bland, but it does give the viewer a taste of what psychoanalysis is.

My favourite scene would definitely have to be the dream scene, hands down. Every section of the dream is so well done that I wonder how Pabst filmed such things. There are some crazy things going on like a gate that grows really high, the husband (Krauss) flying and then getting shot down (this scene and one of the scenes from Lang’s Metropolis still confuses me because I don’t understand how they filmed it), a montage of his wife (Weyher) and friend/wife’s cousin, and the baby coming out of the river are… surreal. I really can’t come up with another word to describe the dream scene. My personal favourite out of all these has to be when the bells turn into heads. I can’t really figure out who the head on left belongs to (I think it’s either a nurse or someone who works in his house), but the one in the center is his wife and the one on the right is his assistant (Walther). When I first saw the scene, I almost yelped because it creeped me out and it really must have been a terrifying thing to see because apparently the laughter was something that the protagonist (the husband) couldn’t get out of his head. I wish that I can supply more screencaps from this film, but then it would just crowd up the entry. Oh well. Going on, the dream really brings together events from past, present, and his unconscious because the presents he received from his wife’s cousin (Trevor) are in the scene, the creepy doll/baby reflects the protagonist’s want for a child but also reflects a scene from his childhood, the totally crazy wife-stabbing scene triggers the protagonist’s fear of knives, his jealousy over his wife’s cousin, and his odd impulse to kill his wife.

Throughout the film there are various motifs, repetitions and recreation of certain scenes, and symbolism. The very first motif in this film would be knives. The very first shot of the movie is of the husband’s razor and whenever there is a knife/sharp object in the scene, it is always emphasized with an insert shot. Most of the time, the ones that usually have an insert shot are shown twice: the first time is when the husband isn’t scared of them and the second time is when the husband is afraid to touch or see them. So what could this mean? It seems silly to be scared of knives, right? This is when the psychoanalytic part comes in. His fear of knives symbolize his insecurity about his masculinity. Out of all the knives, the one that the cousin gives him is the biggest and longest one and his jealousy of his wife’s cousin is exposed later in the film. This could be tied into him being insecure because he still does not have a child and of course, the knife can be a phallic symbol. In Picture 3, the shadow you see is of the cousin and notice where his head is? Yes, between the wife’s legs! And then it cuts to the husband’s face where he look uncomfortable to see the shadow. In addition to the whole knife = masculinity argument, his fear of knives makes him even less masculine because he becomes a little kid who can’t take care of himself. His mother has to cut his food for him when he isn’t there and on top of that, she cuts them into little pieces!
Now that I think about it, a lot of the motifs refer to the husband’s want for a child and not having one, which connects to his masculinity. I can list quite a few, but I’ll just discuss one more! The prison bars/gates in the dream scene prevent the husband from going to certain places, particularly places where his wife and her cousin are. Gates would prevent him from going near his wife and her cousin multiple times in the main dream scene and in his other one where his wife is part of an orgy-like scene. In a scene of the present, there is a scene when the husband returns home and the psychoanalyst says that he looks reluctant to go back to his own house. The gate is what separates him from his wife and her cousin inside the house. Maybe he doesn’t want to go because he’s scared that he’ll see them together like he saw in his dream. Another thought I had was that the gate was also a symbol of how he will reach his cure. By meeting the psychoanalyst and having the psychoanalyst returning the key so that he can go home, the psychoanalyst is “opening the gate” to his cure. Just a thought.
And talking about symbolism, see Picture 1 because the tree represents the couple’s marriage and their hopes for a child, but while the tree grows, they don’t have a real child.

And of course, can you have a Stephany post without a superficial remark? NEVER! My crush on Hertha von Walther started when I saw her in an earlier Pabst film (Die freudlose Gasse) but she looked even sexier in this film! Look at that smirk! It’s such a shame that her films aren’t available to the public because I would like to see more of her. I also have a huge crush on Ruth Weyher as well and when I first watched this film, I didn’t realize that she was the same actress from another film I really liked. Weyher is absolutely gorgeous and reminds me of Clara Bow, in looks. Both are defintely talented too! Oh, and Weyher has amazing eyebrows in this film… not like it matters… but hey, I’m also the girl who told her professor that she can tell Zarah Leander right away in pictures due to her “distinct eyelashes”. *facepalm*

Anyway, I can go on and on analyzing this film but this post is long enough! But I should address the ending. It looks tacked on although one can see the techniques Pabst used in his earlier films being used in this film as well such as slow motion and using a hand-held camera. Although Pabst did a fabulous job directing this film (I loved the way all the scenes were set up and the actors were superb), the ending was a complete “WTF?!” moment for me. Yes, it’s obvious that the husband was cured because he finally has a child, but really? I thought the film could do without the epilogue. And the whole symbolism about water is repeated and then he catches a lot of fish, symbolizing… well, fertility and having lots of babies. But what threw me off the second time was that he drops the bucket of fish in excitement when his wife comes out of with their kid. First of all, yeah parents get excited to see their kids at times, but to the extent to drop something? And he has seen his child before, so why get overly excited? Second, in the earlier part of the film, the husband drops a test tube when he hears the news that his wife’s cousin has arrived. He looks happy to hear the news, but we all know that he is unconsciously jealous of him. The psychoanalyst says that such a response to the news was a sign that something wasn’t right, thus does that mean that something is still wrong with the husband when he dropped the bucket of fish?

I’m going to shut up now, but I think that this is a great Pabst film to watch. I’m doing a Pabst marathon so I’ll be posting about him quite often. I’m also reading scholarly articles on each film I watch, so maybe I’ll come back and post about this film again (sort of like a part two to this post). Also, I highly recommend that you read Herr Ferdinand von Galitzien’s post on this film as well; it’s much shorter than my long winded entry and I think it’s a nice complement to this post.
Although the story is cheesy, watch it for the cinematography. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

PS: Did you notice something funny and odd in the first picture? No? Look at the upper area of the picture. See it? If not there is a picture of a reclining nude woman (her head is on the left, legs to the right). I didn’t notice it nor did any of my group members for a class presentation of Geheimnisse einer Seele presentation notice it, but my professor pointed it out; he said that he didn’t see it until the film was restored and it really is an interesting touch to the scene.

IMDb Link: Geheimnisse einer Seele
Where to buy: Kino Video, Amazon.com