Search This Blog

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Cottage On Dartmoor (1929)

A barber (Uno Henning) is infatuated with the pretty manicurist (Norah Baring) who works in the shop but she does not return his attention. When she shows favor toward one of the shop's customers (Hans Adalbert Schlettow) however, he becomes almost psychotic. One of the last British silent films before sound films became dominant (even in the film, a couple goes to a "talkie"), Anthony Asquith's A COTTAGE ON DARTMOOR is technically quite innovative and complex in its narrative structure. It begins with a man escaping from prison and breaking into a woman's house but even before we are able to get our bearings and can grasp what is going on, the film goes into a flashback that takes up the majority of the film. The editing and montage process are quite sophisticated. A lengthy sequence in a film theater as the jealous barber spies on the couple while the audience around them reacts to the film is near astounding in its finesse. The film has the feel of an early Hitchcock and the first hour and ten minutes are compelling. Which brings us to the film's last 20 minutes or so where it falls apart. The narrative ceases to make any logical sense and it feels phony and contrived. Granted, it just might be me, I find forgiveness an overrated virtue. But while it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, it's not enough to dampen my admiration for the film's first hour or so.

No comments:

Post a Comment