CineSavant Column

Saturday September 19, 2020

Hello… national events just keep getting more incredible…

Dependable correspondent-advisor Gary Teetzel has been scouring the web lately…

… first up is a link to conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen guiding the Los Angeles Philharmonic through the furious music cue for Bernard Herrmann’s Death Hunt, from the score for the great noir pic On Dangerous Ground. The editing is nicely done. Is it just me, or does the orchestra seem a bit off-balance, as if not everybody is keeping up the tempo? ┬áThe Herrmann- conducted versions just seem twice as sharp, more focused. I’m really overstepping my range of competence with that thought.


Gary also forwards a FB link by the helpful Jack Theakston, to 3.5 minutes of beautiful Two-Color Technicolor excerpts from the 1925 The Phantom of the Opera held by Holland’s Eye Filmmuseum. I’ve never seen those scenes look this good. Those 2-Color ballet sequences, we are told, haven’t been seen for 95 years. For a few seconds the Artist’s Bal-Masque becomes the Masque of the Red Death, it seems. Lon Chaney strikes some terrific poses — it’s too bad that director Rupert Julian so rarely puts the camera in a good position in this classic. I readily believe that Chaney himself dictated the camera angles and cutting in the big face reveal scene, the one at the pipe organ deep in the underground catacombs. The magical moment plays as if it’s from a different movie.


Then there’s Andreas Feix’s 2015 German short subject ‘Citipati’, which ruminates on the end-of-days theme of When Worlds Collide from a metaphysical viewpoint. A chicken-like prehistoric dinosaur seems to comprehend the cyclic nature of worlds in collision, of a continuous cycle of creation and destruction. Plus, the computer animation is spectacular. The IMDB says that the original is in 3-D. When you see the so-so image of worlds crashing together in the Pal film, just mentally substitute some of the imagery in this movie, which compares an apocalypse to pebbles colliding in a swift-flowing brook.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson