One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
Dishonored is a bit of an odd bag because, although it's by far one of the most impressively shot films of the 30's - right down to the use of lighting and shadows - and had a daring ending for the time, it rings hollow in nearly every other aspect apart from maybe editing (mainly because of the fades). The plot, while sounding interesting on paper - to me at least - also fails to leave a lasting impression - and the wooden performance from lead actress Marlene Dietrich - who I may or may or may not have seen in other stuff - only serves to highlight just how big of a quality difference there is between the photography and everything else. Victor McLaglen fares a bit better than the rest of the cast despite some odd moments in his performance, but ultimately, even his portrayal left me cold by the end. In fact, the entire film has a very cold feel to it, which, normally appeals to me (hey, I love Kubrick's work), but this film just came off as obnoxiously insipid, almost completely vapid if it weren't for the visuals. The humor, which I can understand is very much of the time, fell flatter than a pancake. "MEOW!" (repeated) - That's not funny, that's just f-cking annoying.
Josef von Sternberg knew where to place his camera, as showcased well here, but I have no idea what he was going for in regards to mood and tone. It's just all over the place. During the midpoint, one character ends up being killed off, but the scene feels so insignificant that the only thing that came to mind was, "Oh, somebody died. Oh well." In the midst of a serious story, there also all these goofy moments that feel out of place as well. It may seem like I'm trashing the film, but I really didn't think it was that bad; I admired the look, didn't I? I just expected a lot more considering the story premise is one that greatly appealed to me before deciding to watch the film, and because I expect a lot more out of films than just some pretty images. I suppose my biggest disappointment was that this was my introduction to a supposedly great director. Well....maybe next time.
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