Any Resemblance Of Herr Scully's Film Adaptation To Herr Poe's Original Poem Is Purely Coincidental
In past and recent silent history, there were bold longhaired youngsters who had the nerve to adapt to the silent screen great oeuvres of literature; a very complicated matter this, to try to capture the essence and spirit of such classics in a free or faithful adaptation. Such attempts inevitably give rise to controversy about literature and film versions, a fruitless discussion, ja wohl!.
"Annabelle Lee" (1921) directed by Herr William J. Scully is an excellent example of what this Herr Graf is talking about.
Educated youngsters know that the film title of the picture coincides with the famous eponymous Herr Edgar Allan Poe's poem, a mere coincidence this because any resemblance of Herr Scully's film adaptation to Herr Poe's original poem is purely coincidental.
Herr Scully quotes Herr Poe's first verses from the poem leading the audience to expect the evocative, romantic and gloomy atmosphere of Poe's poem but, on the contrary, the picture is done in a modernistic, conservative and traditional style.
But let's forget for a moment the distinguished literary background of the story and turn to the film itself: The movie tells the tale of a girl from a good family, Frau Annabelle, who is in love with a young fisherman, Herr David, from a working class family. Obviously Frau Annabelle's father disapproves of such a relationship but promises the young fellow that if he keeps apart from his beloved for one year and then still feels the same, the couple may marry. Frau Annabelle agrees to wait.
The eternal song , boy meets girl, social classes differences, wealth and poverty if you add to this the search for a sunken legacy that belonged to Herr David's father, a mutiny afterwards and a long time on a solitary island in the middle of nowhere, well, then you even can add to the film more literary references ( Herr Shakespeare, Herr Stevenson), making the film a kind of hodgepodge of unoriginal ideas borrowed from here and there.
If it wasn't for Herr Scully pretentiousness of taking advantage of Herr Poe's poem ( a futile attempt at the expense of the Bostonian writer ), the film even could work as an interesting romantic story, emphasizing especially those scenes showing Frau Annabelle's waiting in vain at the seacoast, but due to its lofty ambition, the movie fails badly in its artistic purposes and does a disservice to the literary masterpiece with which it has nothing in common.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count has to go to his kingdom by the sea.
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