A close-up look at sand urchins and rock urchins. At the seashore, a man digs up a sand urchin. We look closely. He sets it back in the sand, and it burrows out of sight. Its intestines ... See full summary »
This short experimental film tells the story of a man who comes to Hollywood to become a star, only to fail and be dehumanized (he is identified by the number 9314 written on his forehead),... See full summary »
Against a dark background, several bright, curved or rounded shapes pulse towards the center of the screen, one at a time. They are followed by many other shapes, some irregular, some ... See full summary »
Black and white rectangular images fade in and out of the screen. Their movement make them sometimes look like they're panning from side to side. Their movement also make the black and ... See full summary »
'Melody of the World' is one of the very first German sound films. Although this film was produced more than a year after 'The Jazz Singer' (which isn't really the *first* talkie, but let it pass), 'Melody of the World' seems to be firmly convinced of its own importance as the *first* talking picture, or at any rate the first one seen and heard by German audiences.
We first hear the blast of a steam whistle as an ocean liner pulls out of Hamburg's harbour. A breathless narrator excitedly tells us that we're embarking on a voyage round the world, and we will be witnessing sights and sounds from many nations.
From here, the film is a melange of travelogue clips. People of diverse nationalities offer bland good-will messages directly to the camera; these are intercut with wildlife scenes from exotic climes. I suppose that the opportunity to see these things -- and, even more so, to *hear* them -- was exciting for cinema audiences in 1929.
Near the end of this film, we are treated to a rather static conversation between George Bernard Shaw and English film director Ivor Montague. Their discussion is self-conscious and stilted, with neither man displaying much screen presence. In dialogue that sounds suspiciously rehearsed, the two men agree that this wondrous new invention, the talking picture, will dissolve boundaries between nations and between people. I found this wishful thinking to be more than slightly ironic. In the days of *silent* film, movies were praised as a universal visual language that had no national barriers. It was only with the arrival of sound recording -- when each movie had to acquire its native tongue -- that films ceased to be universal.
Most of the photography in 'Melodie der Welt' is clumsy even by 1929 standards, but this is likely down to the unwieldy sound-recording equipment that was necessary at that time. More for its historical significance than for its entertainment value, I'll rate this movie 6 out of 10.
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