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Carl Theodor Dreyer
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An Austrian military officer and roue' attempts to seduce the wife of a surgeon. The two men confront each other in a test of abilities that ends surprisingly. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The studio insisted on cutting the film instead of letting Erich von Stroheim do it as he was deemed to be too unstable after allegedly killing a dog during production. Von Stroheim would ensure they didn't do this to him on his next film The Devil's Passkey (1920) by barricading himself into the editing suite with a loaded Winchester. See more »
In one shot, when the wife walks across her bedroom, a spotlight beam is visible on the ground following her. See more »
The story is simple and unoriginal: a love triangle, plus man's determination to conquer nature. But, this early effort by director Erich von Stroheim displays great restraint, especially for a filmmaker who would become notorious for excess. His films, such as "Greed" (1924), are better known for their production and post-production histories than for their actual merits. He would shoot an excessive amount of footage for films of extraordinary length, which the producers then butchered. That's not the case with "Blind Husbands", though; this one has a normal runtime.
It also features the familiar Stroheim touches on a smaller scale. The acting is rather subtile. Stroheim introduces his typical role as a villainous Teutonic womanizer, with a scar, a monocle and a history of military service--"the man you love to hate". Here, he's the other man. Furthermore, the mise-en-scène takes precedence over camera movement or editing. The décor is detailed and occasionally allegorical to the melodrama. Attention to lighting is also evident. "Blind Husbands" is sensational and too contrived and ruminant at times, but, for the most part, the simple story is harmonious with the restrained, yet detailed, film-making.
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