Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Narkose / Anesthesia

Alfred Abel: Narkose. Briefe einer Unbekannten (1929), Renée Héribel. Donation Roger Corbeau. Localisation: Charenton-le-Pont, Médiathèque de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine. Crédit Photo © Ministère de la Culture - Médiathèque du Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image RMN-GP.

Narkose. Briefe einer Unbekannten / L'Inconnue.
    DE 1929. PC: G.P. Films. P+D: Alfred Abel. EX: Ernst Garden. SC: Béla Balázs – based on the short story by Stefan Zweig (1922). DP: Günther Krampf. AD: Julius von Borsody, Willy Brummer. Titles design: M. Tuszkay.
    C: Renée Héribel (Angélique Laumain), Jack Trevor (writer René Vernon), Alfred Abel (manservant Jean).
    2426 m /24 fps/ 88 min.
    Print: Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchivum (low contrast copy on sound stock with left side missing and a light bar below) 1352 m /24 fps/ 49 min. E-subtitles AA. Translator's screening at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 17 September 2008.

Revisiting a forgotten gem from the golden age of German cinema, praised in its time by René Jeanne and Charles Ford and Lotte Eisner.

Only a torso survives, but it is makes sense even so.

A fascinating dream film, much of it the hallucination of the woman in her ether narcosis in the delivery room.

The art of the moving camera, art direction and text design. The expressive details. The fascinating special effects. The elaborate superimpositions. The poetic use of the shimmer of the water and the swelling drops in the superimpositions. Beautiful montages. Expressionism very effective in the dream. The dazzling glasses of the teacher.

There are the white roses, the roses that are seen first are a bit fading. Montages of roses.

Montages of letters returned to sender.

There are changes to the original story. The persons have French names. Towards the end the bestselling author is falling out of favour. Unsterbliche Liebe is no longer wanted, instead, Moderne Liebe is in demand. The writer's hand is paralyzed, and he cannot type. Sister Angélique gets to take dictation for his new work Die Unbekannte (The Unknown Woman), but she rejects it as a lie and leaves. But she comes back to his arms.

The only film adaptation of this story with a happy end.

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