Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jason goes the Niles Film Museum for a talkie matinee of ONE WAY PASSAGE plus a few shorts

David Shepard was still here in town, and just for fun showed some gems from his collection. First a few shorts:

PRECIOUS IMAGES (1986): I've seen the similar effect many times, but this is the first time a montage of scenes from the history of movies was made (according to Shepard, who worked on the film). This was commissioned for the 25th anniversary of the Director's Guild of America

MOODS OF THE SEA (1941): An experimental film by Slavko Vorkapich, who claimed he tried to create the same feeling through images that are evoked by music (i.e., the thesis is that cinema is more closely aligned to music than literature, and this film is an experiment to show how this works). It's completely images of the sea, alternately calm and violent.

PAS DE DEUX (1968): Another experimental film, this time with two ballet dancers enhanced with trailing after-image 'echoes' (I don't know the technical term, but it's dizzying).

Then, after a brief intermission, the feature

ONE WAY PASSAGE (1932): An early talkie in which William Powell stars as Dan Hardesty, a smooth operating criminal in Hong Kong who is finally tracked down by Steve, the cop who's been chasing him around the world and will bring him back to San Francisco to stand trial for murder (a capital crime). He meets Joan (the lovely Kay Francis), who is also a passenger on the boat to San Francisco. While she doesn't know he faces the hangman's noose, he doesn't know that she's terminally ill. But they have one whirlwind romance on the boat, leading up to an attempted escape in Hawaii. Great story, well told, with an amusing side story with some of Dan's criminal confederates.

Total Running Time: 98 minutes
My Total Minutes: 209,400
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