A colonial scene in the U.S. An old lady sits astride a bell while a man in blackface, wig, and livery pulls the bell rope. From an upper door emerges an old man, dressed as a dandy, who ...
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A colonial scene in the U.S. An old lady sits astride a bell while a man in blackface, wig, and livery pulls the bell rope. From an upper door emerges an old man, dressed as a dandy, who tips his hat to the woman as he walks down stairs grinning. Others leave the same door and walk down the same stairs: a shabby man, a cop, and, several times, the same dandy. The man in blackface hangs himself; the dandy continues to smile. A bell tolls, a grave beckons. In the dark, the dandy plays the piano. Is he Death? Written by
Watching Orson Welles' first film is like listening to one of the early (emphasis on early, like pre-pubescent) compositions by Mozart- you know things can only go up from here. What Welles' decided to do before he reached the heights of fame as a theater actor/director and with his Mercury company, he tried his hand at making a film. According to the commentary on the DVD, it's an intentional spoof of Cocteau's Blood of a Poet, and Bunuel's first surreal efforts. In that sense it's actually very interesting, as it doesn't make sense plot-wise, but is evocative and spooky when just soaking in the images. There's Welles' himself with a mask of Death. There's a friend of Welles' as some odd character. Then a piano plays. Symbols seem to come and go as they please. Simply put, The Hearts of Age succeeds best at being an test of skills and technics/visual ideas more than a concise film with a carefully structured story as with Citizen Kane or The Trial. However, if you took it out of the context that it's directed by the future 'wunderkind bad-boy' behind some of America's most cherished and truncated artistic works, as just a short film by a college-aged chap it's not that bad (to put it another way, I've seen worse).
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