Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Casanova (1927) - two more clips

I uploaded 2 more clips from "Casanova" (1927) - basically the last 9 minutes of the movie. I wish they were a little less blurry, but this is an old movie, and it hasn't been restored the way the German Expressionist films have been, so the picture is already a little soft to begin with.

The first one shows Casanova escaping from The Leads - the terrible prison in Venice, just as Carnival gets into full swing. The 3 guys who are picked up at sea and come running to the prison with the warning were the officers who were responsible for delivering the death sentence; Casanova's friends abducted them, then impersonated them to get into the prison and pass him a file to saw through the bars.

I love the camerawork in this bit - very adventurous for the time, as was typical of the Russians. Watch the way the camera starts to move with the crowd - fast pans to the left and right, as the crowd surges in the opposite direction. And then it's right down at eye level, looking up at someone on stilts, with faces and masks pushing right up against the lens. It gives a real sense of action and excitement. And of course, there's Mosjoukine, who escapes from his cell, then runs madly to freedom. It's too blurred in this clip, so you can't see it well, but at about 3:00 you see a wonderful shot of Casanova running right along the roofrail on top of the palace, and even jumping with joy at being free again.

The second clip follows right on this one, and shows Casanova's final escape from the soldiers and from Venice. He says goodbye to Thérèse in a very emotional scene - Mosjoukine was famous for being able to cry on cue, and he had the most extraordinary clear eyes. Myself, I've always loved his hands - very expressive. Look at the way he approaches the girl, then instead of embracing her as you expect, just cups her face in his hands. So romantic.

Of course, the music by Georges Delerue is wonderful, especially the closing theme, which only appears in this scene, and nowhere else in the movie.

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