Back in the days when I was a college student, Dr Paul Czinner was universally regarded as a no-talent opportunist who blandly filmed stage productions of ballet and opera which were then marketed at roadshow prices. True, Czinner's 1936 "As You Like It" was available, but it was thought to be somewhat dull.
It seems we were wrong. Dead wrong! Paul Czinner was a poeta major poet of the cinema with a passion for creating a romantic drama with an overwhelmingly compelling atmosphere, using hauntingly scenic location imagery and super-charged studio effects.
Czinner has also taken advantage of the sound track to augment the highly engrossing appeal of his beautiful visuals. Music and songs are creatively employed. Although there is no spoken dialogue, it is not missed. Indeed speech could well have become an unwelcome intrusion. Even sub-titles are pointedly kept to a minimum. In fact, the film editing is a model of artistry and skill.
The camera focuses often on the fascinating Miss Negri, who proves more than equal to the task of making her sordid character highly sympathetic. Ward and Rehmann lend excellent support.
A film to be savored again and again!
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