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Johnny Yong Bosch,
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Marguerite De La Motte,
The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His ... See full summary »
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Rowland V. Lee
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Restaured wonder with palpable silver-screen magic
Last night, I incidentally tuned on Arte, and the first part was on (pre-intermission I guess). It was late and I thought a silent black & white flick would drown me into sleep in a gently manner, as usual.
Well, let's just say that sleep was simply not to come about soon...
Oddly, the long expected slide down the dozing-off slope was perversely disrupted by the interest I began to gradually feel sipping through the thick walls of my legitimate exhaustion.
For sure I can't comment on the whole movie until I watch the second part which will be aired next Monday (July 28th), but I wouldn't miss it for the world.
Although the restoration could not be complete as a couple of visual bugs persist on the odd instant (probably remnants of unfixable damages), the work accomplished allows the viewer to "touch" the picture : the characteristic make-up used in black & white movies, along with the slight overacting de rigueur in mute movies confer a kind of 3rd dimension in conjunction with the brilliant setting of the lights, and after this laudable & technically optimal restoration.
I guess we can get here an idea of the magic felt by non-blasé early 20th century movie-goers as they couldn't help but let the movie lead them to another sphere peopled by characters that look extremely human & close to us, yet somewhat otherworldly...
A scene in particular struck me as brilliant and reminds me of the main gimmick in "24 hours" some 75 years later : as Julie Morrel is returning home with her dowry as well as the receipt that saves her father from going bankrupt & imminent suicide, the scene is sliced with many shots at a clock to enhance the suspense... except that the shots were made in such a way that I still have to re-watch it to determine whether the same clock was used or not, even though I had a dozen opportunities to verify that after I'd noticed the trick !!!
I just can't wait for next Monday !!!
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