Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Friday Sept 26



Matt's Notes

For the second day in a row Papa delivers a barely-there diary entry, which to me is as sure a sign of his overwhelming internal struggles as the blank entries from earlier in the week. It's not that he's too busy, or tired, or distracted to write more. I think the changes he's going through in the wake of his father's death, and the contemplation of these changes triggered by the onset of the Jewish High Holy Days, have simply left him speechless. With his relationship to the world in question, with sadness and doubt shaking his foundations in ways he cannot yet understand, it must seem pointless, foreign, to discuss his day-to-day activities, maybe even dangerous to say anything at all. So, from this mass of emotion and contained turbulence he allows one word -- "movie" -- to escape before he clamps the lid back on, afraid, perhaps, of what else he might want to say.


Still, Papa did go to the movies, so we should mention a few that he might have seen:

  • - Merton of the Movies, a "brilliant pictorial effort" (according to the New York Times) adapted from a George S. Kaufman play
  • - Sinners in Silk, a tale of idle rich New Yorkers
  • - Sinners in Heaven (looks like sin was in that Fall) a shipwreck story deemed "one of the dreariest efforts we have seen for some time" by the Times
  • - The Clean Heart, a touching tale of a writer's nervous breakdown and recovery
  • - The Alaskan, a scenic drama about competing ranchers
  • - Captain Blood, criticized by the Times for its poor directorial technique
  • - Open All Night, a feature with little, it seems, to recommend it other than a well-depicted bicycle race
  • - Wine, a story of bootlegging and frivolous youth
  • - Feet of Clay, a Cecile B. De Mille effort dismissed as an indulgent trifle by the Times review. Interestingly, this review also mentions a "Phonofilm" -- an early form of sound film -- featuring 1924's three major Presidential candidates, incumbent Calvin Coolidge, Democratic nominee John W. Davis, and independent Robert M. La Follette. A Times article from earlier in September describes Davis' experience while filming his interview for this novel effort:
    Mr. Davis spoke on the lawn a short distance from his home. The motion picture camera was set up about ten feet from him and a microphone placed on a stand about four feet away to his left. Behind the microphone was a cabinet enclosing and amplifier. This connected with a second amplifier in the motor truck which carried the apparatus to the Davis home...

    Dr. De Forest [the director] explained that the film with sound waves photographed on it is made to pass in front of a fixed light. This light, when transmitted through the film, is flucutating. With the aid of a device known as the Case cell the fluctuation light is translated into electric current. This current is amplified a million times and then turned into sound waves again through loud speakers...
Great stuff. Meanwhile, other films hanging around town included:

  • America, one of D.W. Griffith's great masterpieces
  • Yolanda
  • The Sea Hawk
  • Monsieur Beaucaire
  • Wine
  • Captain Blood
  • The Iron Horse
  • The Man Who Came Back
  • Flirting with Love
  • Janice Meredith
  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Thief of Bagdad

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