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Monday, June 2, 2008


Yasujiro Ozu remade this 1934 silent in 1959 (see above), but I’m writing this up before watching the remake. Taken from THE BARKER, a 1928 part-talkie by George Fritzmaurice (which no doubt played in Japan as a silent), it survives in pristine condition which befits Ozu’s pristine technique. It’s an all but flawless work though more traditionally melodramatic than we expect. A theatrical company land in a town where the leader supports his illegitimate child. His current mistress becomes jealous as his attention wanders & she bribes the troupe’s ingenue to seduce the son. But tru-love rears and all the buried lies & lives float to the surface. When the dust clears, a new beginning for all is coming into view. If there’s a misjudged shot or bit of overacting in the swift moving 90 minutes, let me know. Much of Ozu’s special technique is on display (little still-lifes between scenes, low-camera angles), and the film is an unmissable gem.

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