Written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Directed by Howard Dimsdale and Joseph L. Mankiewizc
A man (John Hodiak) wakes up in a military hospital, cognizant of the fact that he has been in battle for the United States but entirely oblivious of who he is or where he lives. Only a few cryptic pieces of paper in his pocket inform him of his name George Taylor; that a woman now hates him; and that a good pal of his, Larry Cravat, wants to meet him in Los Angeles transfer a significant amount of saved up funds through a bank account. Thus begins George’s vertiginous journey into the City of Angels, where the clues as to his true identity sometimes add up whilst other times stir further confusion. By all accounts, there are some people who view the name Larry Cravat as either a threat, as in the case of Lt.
Fyodore Otsep (Russia), also credited as Fjodor Ozep (Germany), Fedor Ozep (Canada) and Fédor Ozep (France) is probably best known as co-writer of sci-fi epic Aelita (1924) and director of Soviet classic Miss Mend (1926). His work in Europe and America is harder to see, and the whole lot is rarely grouped together for consideration as a whole, the curse of itinerant filmmakers like Dassin, Siodmak, even Ophüls.
To decide whether this is merely a quirk of film history, or a full-on case of major artistic neglect, simply watch this clip:
Amok (1934) is the third of Ozep's Pathé-Natan films, and the most baroque. It's based on a story by Stefan Zweig (Letter from an Unknown Woman) later filmed in Mexico with less fidelity but plenty of gusto. It's a very weird orientalist fever dream.
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