Sunday, November 15, 2009

Don't Change Your Husband

Älä vaihda miestä / Älä vaihda miestä (liian usein) / Mannen du gav mig. USA © 1918 Famous Players-Lasky Corp. Premiere 1919. Pres: Jesse L. Lasky. D: Cecil B. DeMille. Ass. D: Sam Wood. SC: Jeanie McPherson – based on the novel by David Graham Phillips [Old Wives for New, 1908 or The Husband's Story, 1910]. DP: Alwin Wyckoff. AD: Wilfred Buckland (art director), Howard Higgin (decorations). COST: Margaretta Hoffman. ED: Anne Bauchens. CAST: Elliott Dexter (James Denby Porter), Gloria Swanson (Leila Porter), Lew Cody (Schuyler Van Suthpen), Sylvia Ashton (Mrs. Huckney), Theodore Roberts (the bishop), Julia Faye ("Toodles" Thomas), James Neill (the butler), Ted Shawn (the faun). Print: Jugoslovenska Kinoteka > Cinemateket / Svenska Filminstitutet (reconstructed Swedish titles only):  /22 fps/ 71 min. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 14 Nov 2009. - An incomplete print from a battered source. I realize now that of this film particularly the most brilliant print would have been essential, as this is a glamorization / satire of consumer society. - 22 fps is too fast, we should have screened this at 20 fps. - Revisited a film that is fascinating for many reasons: 1) the launching of the Jazz Age in the cinema, 2) the launching of Gloria Swanson as a new kind of star, 3) the cinema becomes an engine for the consumer society (not just a reflection of it), 4) an important stage in the development of sophisticated erotic comedy, 5) an important step in the comedy of remarriage. - Cecil B. DeMille's visual storytelling is still inspired. Already by 1923 (The Ten Commandments) he was getting more clumsy and awkward. - This film is a great pleasure to see, and it is a story of contradictions. Apparently DeMille was, himself, not happy with this cycle of films, launched by Jesse T. Lasky.

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