February 24, 2010

The Irregular Blather Feb. 24, 1931

No Journal was published Tuesday, Feb. 24, 1931, following Washington's Birthday. More film fun, courtesy of Youtube. A triple-feature from Feb. 17:

Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi - I have to agree with the lukewarm review:

Although produced with "eerie atmospheric backgrounds," conveys little of the terror which made Bram Stoker's novel such exciting reading. Dialogue and action are too slow to be effective. Bela Lugosi repeats role of "human vampire" that he portrayed on stage, and Edward Van Sloan is Dr. Van Helsing; "both play their parts in a conventional stage manner which is not well suited to motion pictures."

Play "Dracula" on Youtube

Fritz Lang's By Rocket to the Moon, vs. the Hollywood production Just Imagine:

By Rocket to the Moon - directed by Fritz Lang. Suffers by comparison with the "more tinseled" Hollywood production Just Imagine. The director, who consulted with German authorities on aeronautics and rocket flight for authenticity, came up with "a moon too drab to be entertaining"; a love triangle plot seems out of place.

Here's the strangely compelling launch scene from By Rocket to the Moon, A.K.A. Woman in the Moon - it does seem amazingly realistic considering when it was made and that it's said to be the first film with scenes set in outer space. In fact, this film apparently invented the dramatic 5-4-3-2-1 rocket-launch countdown! For authenticity, Lang consulted with Hermann Oberth, who was Germany's foremost rocket scientist and Werner Von Braun's mentor.

Play "By Rocket to the Moon" on Youtube

And, for comparison, the very amusing opening of Just Imagine:

Play "Just Imagine" on Youtube

And, from Feb. 16, Trader Horn:

First film to "reproduce, realistically the sounds of jungle life ... Some of the scenes were 'staged,' of course, ... but many of the most thrilling episodes were obtained on location, with the animals fighting over their kill and plunging through the jungle unmindful" of the cameras.

See the rather jaw-dropping trailer here. [Warning: racist, violent, sexist, campy, bizarre, pretty cool scenery, etc.]

1 comment:

  1. It was so easy to find parking in New York in 1980. And the apartments were so big!