In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what ... See full summary »
In a London nursing home, Jean Wilson, a happily-married American woman, while in a state of self-consciousness, hears Jimmy Del Palma, angrily berate the hospital management for the ... See full summary »
Publisher Martin Jamison sends for Philo Vance as he wants to hire him as a technical advisor on the crime stories he publishes. Paul Morgan, Morgan's partner, regards the plan as foolish. ... See full summary »
Buck Boswell and his all-girl troupe are stranded in Paris, but Buck manages to con the manager of the 'Hotel de Navarre' in furnishing accommodations for his group, but the proprietor's ... See full summary »
William K. Howard was given the task of turning a popular radio serial into a movie, and succeeded. A carefully-written script that actually paid attention to the way cases are tried was the first step. Some great support, particularly Skeets Gallegher and the always fascinating Zasu Pitts helps. A restless camera helps keep up speed, and some interesting sets -- particularly the nightclub set -- make this a fine movie, even if the leads, who became lovers more than twenty years later, had no memory of working together on this one.
I wish to call your attention, if you ever have the chance to see this movie -- it is very rare and the one print I saw was a 16 mm. print, blurry as you would expect -- to the swish cuts. A swish cut is when the camera starts to pan away, then the illusion of high speed movement starts and when the camera slows down it is panning into a new shot -- maybe a quarter second elapses. It adds tremendous excitement to a sequence and Howard uses a lot of them here.
Unhappily, a lot of editing techniques for shot changes were on their ways out. By about 1935, Hollywood had settled on the now-standard techniques, except for a few movies which attempt to evoke the older movies. A loss to film grammar, but what can we do about it now, except to enjoy these techniques when we see them?
May 20 2010: I just noticed a modern use of the swish cut: any Doctor Who fan out there should take a look at Season 5 Episode 4 for the use of one, four minutes into the proceedings.
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