July 23, 2004

Lost films

It probably wasn't among the greatest works of art or even the greatest of silent horror films, but watching the reconstructed version of London After Midnight, the 1927 film directed by Tod Browning (Dracula) and starring Lon Chaney (The Phantom of the Opera) with the five year old tonight (who likes all things monsters), I wished a full print had survived. The production stills, on which the reproduction is based, exude a menacing atmosphere, and even without the motion of a normal silent film, we both felt a bit of chill on this otherwise humid day. I thought the plot was incoherent, but reading what I think is the script from the film, I suspect that the incoherence was part and parcel of the original. Still -- a mysterious murder, ghosts haunting an abandoned mansion, a vampiric stranger and his bat girl companion, and an intrepid detective (who, like the vampire, was played by Chaney) proved eerily fascinating.


Posted by Ideofact at July 23, 2004 11:15 PM