Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Blind Husbands

US © 1919 Universal. D: Erich von Stroheim. Restored Österreichisches Filmmuseum version (2006) 2045 m /18 fps/ 99 min * deutsche Fassung * the original English intertitles presented as e-subtitles operated by Lena Talvio * viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 9 Nov 2010. This is the best print I have seen of Blind Husbands. The prints I have seen before have been pretty complete but with a low-contrast image. Here the image quality is much better, and the print is struck from a colour source. It is a different cut from the ones that have been generally available. - Blind Husbands is one of the great debut films of all times. The touch is assured from the start. The milieu is richly painted with a feeling of vitality in each shot. Stroheim also already shows his talent in the witty detail. Stroheim plays the fake lieutenant Eric von Steuben with relish, in rich caricature, and lets his character also be caricatured by others, including his valet and the children of the village, who love to imitate him. This is an ironic story of seduction, and Stroheim also shows the heart-breaking consequences of the wily seducer's action. This film gets better with each viewing.

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