So Woody Allen has at last restored his fortunes in the America that so cruelly forgot him. Yet it's not a fresh helping of his trademark insights into the inner life of his homeland that have brought this about: instead he has taken a short cut to his countrymen's hearts by treating them to a bucketload of schlock.
This bucket is labelled "nostalgia", but Midnight in Paris depends for its effect on transporting the wishful to a mystical place that might still exist, rather than to a temps perdu that's doomed to be unreachable. Allen has been looking to glossy travel pages for his films' go-faster stripes for most of the past decade. London didn't do the business; a side trip to Barcelona was a touch too excèntric (Catalan for
The enormous 81 inch square poster for Miss Mend (Boris Barnet & Fyodor Otsep, Ussr, 1926) promises the thrills and spills (as well as a fair share of capitalist indifference) of this epic, four hour long adventure serial, which is one of the few films promoted by the Stenbergs that has actually survived. Set partially in an imagined America, the film was based on a serialized detective novel written by Marietta Shaginian under the yankee nom-de-plume "Jim Dollar." The film, which follows three reporters and an American office girl attempting to stop a biological attack by a cabal of western business leaders determined to wipe the Soviet Union off the face of the earth, was one of the most popular Soviet films of the 1920s although it was condemned by the Soviet press of the time as lightweight "Western-style" entertainment.
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