S. T. Joshi points to Berkeley Square, a 1933 fantasy film, as an inspiration for The Shadow Out of Time: "Lovecraft saw this film four times in late 1933; its portrayal of a man of the twentieth century who somehow merges his personality with that of his eighteenth-century ancestor was clearly something that fired Lovecraft's imagination, since he had written a story on this very theme himself--the then unpublished The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (1927)." Lovecraft called the film "the most weirdly perfect embodiment of my own moods and pseudo-memories that I have ever seen--for all my life I have felt as if I might wake up out of this dream of an idiotic Victorian age and insane jazz age into the sane reality of 1760 or 1770 or 1780." Lovecraft noted some conceptual problems in Berkeley Square's depiction of time travel, and felt that he had "eliminated these flaws in his masterful novella of mind-exchange over time." See more »
[to his sister, after being caught kissing the maid]
You all look alike in the dark.
See more »
Creaky Yet Strangely Haunting Version of a Theatrical Classic
BERKELEY SQUARE was a success d'estime of the late Twenties and early Thirties. Based on a short story - THE SENSE OF THE PAST - by Henry James, it tells the story of how Peter Standish (Leslie Howard) travels back in time from the contemporary world into the late eighteenth century, and discovers to his cost that life isn't quite as idyllic as the history books might suggest. John L. Balderston's script isn't without its sentimental moments, but generally takes a hard-nosed look at the ways in which individuals remain as self-centered in the past as they might have been over a century ago. Leslie Howard, who created the past of Standish on the Broadway stage, here recreates his part; he doesn't have to do much other than to look bewildered, which he achieves very competently. Valerie Taylor makes an ideal romantic interest. Director Frank Lloyd was one of Twentieth Century-Fox's most competent contract directors; his version of Noel Coward's CAVALCADE (1933), based on another theatrical hit, is particularly memorable. In BERKELEY SQUARE he creates a brisk narrative, containing a memorable series of transitions between past and present. Definitely worth a look if a copy of the film can be found.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?