Montag, November 26, 2007

Silent Films Illustrated With Commentaries By:

About Sven Gade & Heinz Schall's "Hamlet" (1921)

Silent Guest Stars: Dame Suellen Aucejo, Dame Mary Mallory, Herr Robert Birchard, Herr Dennis Doros und James Bazen

Dame Suellen Aucejo wrote: "That must be interesting!
But I have a question...If Herr Hamlet is, in this version, Dame Hamlett, what is Ophelia? Is she a Herr or a dame too?...
If she is a dame too, that would be even more interesting to watch! I'd love to see how they dealt with the most controversial of topics in history, which is homosexuality, or if they did adapt for Ophelia too and transformed her in a boy, how did he/she die drawned by his/her dress...
This seems extremelly complcated after all! LOL
Does anyone know?".

Und Dame Mary Mallory said: "I and two other women who saw this at UCLA in August loved it. We were mesmerized, moved, and thought itbeautifully shot. We loved Nielsen's performance, finding her strong yet vulnerable and very androgynous. It makes the film more interesting from a sexual identity/gender role perspective, in that Hamlet has feelings for a male friend but can't reveal them, while Ophelia (female) has feelings for Hamlet and has no idea why he's not interested. We are seeking out photos and images from the film".

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien added: "One of the most interesting aspects of this German version of "Hamlet" is the "new" relevance of the sufferings of Ophelia; this German count could say that she is the most harmed in this special Danish "mènage a trois".
Her feelings for Hamlet are sincere, pure and innocent and she doesn't understand why the Prince rejects her. Meanwhile, Hamlet is more interested in Horatio but that special relationship never can come to fruition because Horatio is interested exclusively in comradeship. Hamlet realizes of course that the role he/she must play makes any love relationship a farce.
In the midst of all this turmoil is Ophelia who will be sacrificed for both, becoming mentally unbalanced and taking her own life because of her unrequited love.

Suddenly Herr Robert Birchard commented: "The film is played with Asta as a man--except for the fact that periodically she covers her chest with her hand when someone gets too close and might discover that she has breasts. The big reveal is at the end of the picture as Hamlet kicks the bucket.
This is purely stunt casting, and I think the only reason that Hamlet is ultimately revealed to be a woman is that Asta N. is totally unconvincing as a man.
I disagree with the person who found it a handsome production. It was not especially well made, performances were so-so, and the overall picture was rather tedious".

And then Herr Dennis Doros added: "Bob, I think you must have missed the beginning which explains that Hamlet's father is falsely pronounced dead on the battlefield and because of this, the mother is forced to announce that the new baby girl is a boy to keep the lineage going. So all along, Hamlet is a girl who's forced to play dress-up and can't pull it off. Ophelia is hot for Hamlet while he/she has feelings for his/her college friend (was it Horatio?). The movie is based on a late 19th century German novel of Hamlet rather than directly from Shakespeare's play itself. I always thought the homo-eroticism and role-playing makes this version one of the most psychologically interesting variations of Shakespeare around.
That, and the fact that former Milestoner Anke Mebold restored the film, made it a special experience to see it last year".

Und Herr Robert Birchard replied: "Well, Dennis, yes, I guess I did miss the beginning, but even with the explanation it still doesn't change my opinion of the picture. It always seems that there's some obscure German novel to back these sorts of experiments up, but in every other way but the transgender gimmick, the film owes its storyline and characters to old Bill S. I saw Hamlet on a double bill with the Mabel Normand film "Head Over Heels", which in many ways was a terrible film, but which impressed me for the way it was staged with a bit of wit and energy and for the way Mabel Normand's personality came across. Asta Nielsen, by contrast, had next to no screen presence and Hamlet was staged like a stage pageant. For me it was a pretty dull and lifeless affair, and as I say, even with the explanation, it still comes off to me as a stunt. The more interesting psychological aspects all take place in the mind of the audience, not really in the intentions of the filmmakers. I'm glad I saw it (or, most of it, anyway), because it was a film I had long wanted to see, but having seen it I'll check it off the list and be glad I'll never have to look at it again. It, for me, was a dreary exercise at best".

Last but not least, Herr Dennis Doros added: "Certainly not denying that you can dislike a film or that one of us is right or wrong. There's just a whole heritage of variations on Shakespeare (who based his career on adaptations as well) and this one happens to be based on a then-popular German one. As much as I like Joseph Papp's productions, I rarely found his attempts at placing Shakespeare in a different time or place as psychologically interesting as this version of Hamlet and the concept of what made H. the melancholy Dane. After that, whether it's a good film or a bad one is subjective".

Finally, Herr James Bazen said: "Yes, I agree. I've seen the okay-quality, untranslated German titled Peter Kavel VHS copy and thought it was one of the most fascinating films I've seen and Asta was excellent. I hope one day someone puts this on DVD as it really is an impressive film. In fact, if Kino would ever decide to do a follow-up of their gay themed German film set, this would be an excellent candidate".

Published in Silent Films Yahoo Newsgroup

Donnerstag, November 22, 2007

"Hamlet" (1921) By Sven Gade & Heinz Schall

Even the most dangerous longhaired youngsters know the story of the heir to the throne of Denmark ( that European country in which kings measure their kingdoms by the number of horses ) who lived some centuries ago and was called Herr Hamlet. His was a tale full of crime, vengeance, pain and suffering ( standard for aristocratic families ) The story of this tormented soul was written by Herr William Shakespeare and this very free film adaptation, is entitled “Hamlet”, natürlich!. The film was directed by Herr Sven Gade und Herr Heinz Schall and starred the great, obviously… Danish actress, Dame Asta Nielsen.

Ja, mein liebers, you’ve read it correctly and you're not just suffering a hangover from last night; this German film version of “Hamlet” stars Dame Nielsen, a fräulein , so that in order to amaze the audience, this time Herr Hamlet became Dame Hamlet.

The film was inspired by the British scientist Herr Edward P. Vining’s theory that the Danish prince was an adrogyne princess so this explains the reason for his/her's torment; as if it wasn’t enough for him/her t to know that your uncle killed your father, married your mother and seized the Danish throne that belonged to you…

The film is an outstanding production ( it was one of the most successful German films of that era ) ,shot with superb scenery in Goslar, a medieval German gothic village that had, besides lots of Germans, a spectacular imperial ball room that was used in the film. The movie was produced by “Art-Film” a film company created for the occasion by Dame Nielsen.

The Danish actress shines especially in his film; her Hamlet is superb, with memorable moments in which her presence dominates powerfully the screen, as when “Hamlet” returns to the court to see that her mother is celebrating her wedding at the same as her father’s funeral . Particularly strong is Hamlet’s death scene ( in spite the novelties included in the story, mein liebers, “Herr “Hamlet dies at the end of the film ) which is beautifully filmed. Dame Nielsen shows admirably the terrible sufferings of her character ( unrequited and forbidden loves, not to mention her family problems that lead her to pretend insanity in order to unmask her uncle ) in a restrained way, a very modern performance that outshines the “classical” performances of the other actors.

The film was recently restored by the “Deutsches Filminstitut-DIF” ( a complete and tinted nitrate that was shown in the early silent times in German theatres ) and broadcast by the German-French TV. channel “ARTE”, a delightful present for all the silent film fans around the world; one that shows them why Dame Nielsen was one of the most important actress of the silent era and the significance of the German film industry in those times.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must decide whether to be or not to be.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien


Incluso los más peligrosos jovenzuelos melenudos, conocen la historia del heredero al trono de Dinamarca ( ese país europeo por el cual los reyes valoran sus reinos según el número de sus caballos ) que vivió hace algunas centurias y de nombre Herr Hamlet; su historia está repleta de crímenes, venganzas, dolores y sufrimientos varios, algo, por otra parte, habitual entre las familias aristocráticas.
El relato de tan atormentada alma fue escrito en su día por Herr William Shakespeare, siendo el filme que ha contemplado éste conde teutón, una libre adaptación del mismo y titulado “Hamlet”, natürlich!, un filme dirigido por Herr Sven Gade y Herr Heinz Schall y protagonizado por la gran actriz danesa ( obviamente ), Dame Asta Nielsen.

Ja, mein liebers, han leído ustedes bien a pesar de la resaca que aún padecen de la pasada noche, esta versión alemana de “Hamlet” está protagonizada por Dame Nielsen, toda una fräulein, pues para epatar al público, en esta ocasión Herr Hamlet se convierte en Dame Hamlet.

Este filme se inspiró en la teoría del científico británico Herr Edward P. Vining, el cual mantenía que ese príncipe danés era en realidad una princesa andrógina y así de esta forma poder comprender el porqué de su atormentada existencia, como si no fuese bastante el saber que tu tío ha asesinado a tu padre, se casa con tu madre y se apodera a continuación del trono danés que te pertenecía…

Estamos ante una sobresaliente producción cinematográfica ( este fue uno de los más exitosos filmes germánicos de la época ), rodada en magníficos escenarios tales como la villa medieval gótica de Goslar, en la cual, además de estar repleta de teutones, también posee un espectacular salón de baile el cual fue empleado en el filme; la película fue producida por “Art-Film”, compañía cinematográfica creada para la ocasión por Dame Nielsen.

La actriz danesa brilla en todo su esplendor en esta obra; su interpretación de Hamlet es magnífica, con memorables momentos en los cuales su presencia domina poderosamente la pantalla, como cuando Hamlet vuelve a la corte y se encuentra a su madre celebrando sus nuevas nupcias al mismo tiempo que el funeral de su padre o la soberbia escena de la muerte de Hamlet ( a pesar de las novedades incluidas en esta adaptación, Herr Hamlet finalmente también muere al final de la obra, mein liebers ) excelentemente rodada.
Dame Nielsen expresa de forma admirable los grandes sufrimientos que va atravesando su personaje ( amores prohibidos y no correspondidos, además de sus problemas familiares que le llevan a fingir locura para de esta forma desenmascarar a su tío ), de una forma comedida, una interpretación moderna que destaca sobre las “clásicas” interpretaciones del resto del elenco del filme.

“Hamlet” fue recientemente restaurado por la “Deutsches Filminstitut-DIF” ( una completa y tintada copia igual a la que en su día fue exhibida en los teatros germánicos ) y emitida también recientemente por la cadena televisiva franco-alemana “ARTE”, un gozoso regalo para todos los amantes del cine silente del mundo entero en el cual se puede apreciar porqué Dame Nielsen fue una de las más importantes actrices de la época, además de constatar la importancia de la industria cinematográfica germana de entonces.

Y ahora si me lo permiten les tengo que dejar momentáneamente pues este Conde germánico tiene que decidir si ser o no ser.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien

Mittwoch, November 14, 2007

"L'Atlantide" (1921) By Jacques Feyder

Longhaired youngsters tend to believe that the aristocratic life is dissipated, eccentric and decadent and although that usual thinking is almost true, this German count finds life very hard, especially when it comes to combining his love of silents and his fondness for drinking. Such complications!

However, sometimes, among the nitrates settled at the Schloss cellar, a superb silent film comes along that gives the chance for this German count to enjoy, finally and the same time, both his beloved hobbies. One such film is “L’Atlantide”, directed by Herr Jacques Feyder ( the perfect reason to enjoy this silent film ). The film tells the story of two French officers, Captain Morhange ( Herr Jean Angelo ) and Lieutenant Saint-Avit ( Herr Georges Melchior ) who get lost in the Sahara desert ( giving this German count the excuse to drink cocktails nonstop because of the dry setting ) and become the prisoners of the mysterious Queen of Atlantis, Dame Antinea ( Dame Stacia Napierkowska ).

This excellent film, directed by one of the most important silent French directors of his time, is full of mystery, comradeship, unrequited loves and jealousies, not to mention that it is a superb adventure film based on the successful novel by Herr Pierre Benoît and mixes all the ingredients successfully.

The story of the film is related as a long flashback ( as long as the oeuvre, almost 3 hours but the audience doesn't notice ) in which strange happenings and mysterious adventures will be suffered by our heroes in the desert ( Herr Feyder filmed in the Sahara desert itself, an audacious move for those early times ) and in the mysterious Atlantis.

Besides the enthralling Sahara scenery ( a main character in itself ) the film also had lavish settings that give the kingdom of Atlantis a fascinating and at the same time a dangerous feeling . And of course there is the cruel Queen Antinea, a kind of mantis whose charms no man can resist ( well, Herr Morhange seems more interested in his companion that in the exuberant Queen… ).
Some compelling moments, such as the death of Captain Morhange and the inevitable disappearance of the city of Gôa, give the film a lyrical and disturbing atmosphere of misfortune that fits perfectly. “L’Atlantide” emerges as a film about earthly but lost paradises, especially with that evocative and magnificent scene that closes the film.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must fall into the arms of that wicked Queen.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien


Entre los jóvenes melenudos se tiene la creencia de que la vida aristocrática es disipada, excéntrica y decadente, pero aunque dichas creencias suelen ser bastante reales, este conde germánico lleva una vida repleta de dificultades, como cuando intenta combinar su amor por el cine silente con su querencia por la bebida, ¡ah, que vida mas dura!.

De todas formas, a veces, entre los nitratos ubicados en el sótano del Schloss, surge un excelente filme silente que ofrece la oportunidad a éste Conde germánico de poder disfrutar conjuntamente y al mismo tiempo, esas aficiones anteriormente citadas; el filme que ofreció tal oportunidad fue “L’Atlantide”, obra dirigida por Herr Jacques Feyder, una más que perfecta excusa para disfrutar de esta obra silente.
La película narra la historia de dos oficiales franceses, el capitán Morhange ( Herr Jean Angelo ) y el teniente Saint-Avit ( Herr Georges Melchior ) los cuales se pierden en el desierto del Sáhara ( siendo esos secos escenarios, la excusa perfecta para éste Conde germánico, para beber consecutivos cocktails durante la proyección ); siendo posteriormente hechos prisioneros, por la misteriosa reina de la Atlántida, Dame Antinea ( Dame Stacia Napierkowska ).

Esa excelente obra dirigida por uno de los más importantes directores franceses de la época, está repleta de misterio, camaradería, amores no correspondidos y celos, además de ser un magnífico filme aventuras el cual está basado en la exitosa novela escrita por Herr Pierre Benoît, en la cual se mezclan todos esos ingredientes de forma más que satisfactoria.

La historia del filme está expuesta en un largo flashback ( casi tan largo como el filme en sí, de una duración cercana a las tres horas y que pasa imperceptible para el público ) durante el cual extraños sucesos y misteriosas aventuras serán vividas por nuestros héroes en el desierto ( Herr Feyder rodó la película en el mismísimo desierto del Sáhara, todo un atrevimiento para la época ) y posteriormente en la inquietante Atlántida.

Además de los cautivadores escenarios desérticos ( todo un personaje principal en el filme ) la obra también dispone de lujosos decorados que consiguen dotar al reino de la Atlántida, de un aspecto fascinante y al mismo tiempo peligroso, sin olvidarnos de que allí habita la cruel reina Antinea, una especie de mantis a cuyos encantos ningún hombre puede resistirse, aunque parece ser que en esta ocasión Herr Morhange está más interesado en su compañero de fatigas que en tan exuberante reina…

Fascinantes secuencias como la muerte del capitán Morhange o la inevitable desaparición de la ciudad de Gôa, otorgan al filme momentos de gran belleza además de una atmósfera perturbadora e inquietante que encajan perfectamente, pudiendo definir “L’Atlantide”, por todo lo anteriormente citado, como un filme acerca de paraísos perdidos tal y como refleja la evocadora y soberbia última escena del filme.

Y ahora si me lo permiten les tengo que dejar momentáneamente, pues este Conde germánico tiene que caer en los brazos de esa malvada reina.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien

Dienstag, November 06, 2007

"La Dame De Monsoreau" (1923) By René Le Somptier

It is well-known that French love matters make for a very complicated subject to understand, especially for a German and conservative aristocrat. Having this in mind , it was a hard task to watch in the Schloss theatre a film like “La Dame De Monsoreau”, ( directed by Herr René Le Somptier, based in a novel by Herr Alexandre Dumas Sr.) which goes into specific details about French love affairs in the time of Henri III, a French king, natürlich!. The story concerns Dame Diane de Méridor who is kidnapped by the Count of Monsoreau who finally marries her ( A strange French marriage custom, this, very different from the usual Teutonic reasons for marriage, as the marriage of convenience or companionate marriage.. ). However, Dame Diane loves another count, the count of Bussy ( what’s the point of this aristocratic loving reiteration? ), not to mention that the King himself and a Duke, d’Anjou , have different interests in Dame Diane and her circumstances.

This French show of aristocratic love matters was directed by Herr René Le Somptier, Frenchman director with a special likeness for romanticism and aestheticism in his early work as exemplified by this beautiful film. This is an artistic production filmed in the surroundings of the château ( a strange and French name for a Schloss, certainly… ) d’Urville-Nacqueville. The set design is superb and there are gorgeous costumes too, not to mention that this oeuvre was released in a hand tinted version, the one that survives till today, released two years after its black and white prémiere.

So in its global concept, “La Dame de Monsoreau” could be considered as a “film d’Art”, a film with historical background and careful production. Alas, in this case it is thrilling to look at but static, like a series of illustrations. The actors don't help to raise the interest of the film thanks to their stilted performances including Dame Geneviève Félix as Diane de Méridor. The result is a polished but soulless French film.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must resume his conservative Teutonic love matters.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien


Es de sobra conocido que las cuestiones amorosas afrancesadas son temas muy complicados para ser entendidos y más especialmente para un conservador y germano aristócrata, por lo tanto y teniendo esto en cuenta, fue una tarea bastante difícil el asistir en el teatro del Schloss a la proyección de la obra “La Dame De Monsoreau”, filme dirigido por Herr René Le Somptier, la cual está basada en una novela de Herr Alexandre Dumas padre, pues dicha obra refleja de forma detallada, esos asuntos amorosos afrancesados en tiempos de Enrique III, un rey también francés éste, natürlich!.
La obra se centra en Dame Diane de Méridor la cual es secuestrada por el conde de Monsoreau para finalmente esposarse con la susodicha ( otro extraño hábito afrancesado de casamiento, muy diferente de los habituales entre teutónicos, como pueda ser el matrimonio de conveniencia o los matrimonios amañados… ); pero Dame Diane ama a otro conde, el conde de Bussy ( ¿a qué viene esta reiteración amorosa aristocrática? ), aunque también el mismísimo rey y un duque, D’Anjou, también mantienen diferentes intereses hacia Dame Diane y sus circunstancias.

El director de este catálogo de los asuntos amorosos de los aristócratas franceses, Herr René Le Somptier, tenía cierta predilección por el romanticismo y cierto esteticismo, en sus primerizos filmes, tal y como queda reflejado en este bella ( en su acepción más literal ) obra; se trata entonces de una producción artística filmada en las cercanías del château ( extraña forma francesa para denominar a todo un Schloss, ciertamente… ) d’Urville-Nacqueville; lógicamente la dirección artística del filme es excelente, además de sus esplendoroso vestuario, sin olvidarse también que esta obra fue distribuida en una versión coloreada a mano ( la que ha sobrevivido hasta nuestros días ), dos años después de su estreno original en blanco y negro.

Por lo tanto y globalmente, “La Dame De Monsoreau” puede ser considerado como un “film d’Art”, una de esos filmes con trasfondo histórico y cuidada producción artística, aunque lamentablemente en este caso, se trate de un filme tan emocionante como el contemplar estáticas ilustraciones, no ayudando tampoco a elevar el interés del mismo las estiradas actuaciones de sus actores, incluyendo a Dame Geneviève Félix como Diane de Méridor, teniendo como resultado final un cuidado aunque monótono filme afrancesado.

Y ahora si me lo permiten les tengo que dejar momentáneamente, pues este Conde germánico tiene que retomar sus conservadores asuntos amorosos teutónicos.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien

Samstag, November 03, 2007


In the never neverland of cyberspace, you can be whoever you want to be but impersonating someone else is another matter entirely. Identity theft is still theft, even on the Internet. That's why I was shocked to see some coarse commoner passing himself off as Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien on “YouTube”.

This fake uses a small v for the “von” but otherwise tries to imitate the inimitable Graf himself. Surely though people must realize that the real Graf Ferdinand would never lower himself to squinting at the tiny blurred images on Youtube when he has the magnificent schloss theater at his disposal. This fake count apparently has not posted any films or comments thus far but if he does, please be aware that this impostor has no connection to Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien who, with his aristocratic comments on the silent era, has entertained and informed so many on alt.movies.silent and other newsgroups.

Accept no substitutes! Let this “von” fellow return to the stables where he belongs, perhaps to write comments for “Youtube” on kung fu movies and spaghetti westerns. Leave the magnificent silent era to those with breeding enough to appreciate it.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien


En el mundo imaginario del ciberespacio, ustedes pueden pretender ser quienes quieran, pero hacerse pasar por alguien en particular ya es asunto de otro costal; el robo de personalidad sigue siendo un delito incluso en Internet y por dicho motivo éste conde germánico se ha escandalizado al comprobar como un vulgar plebeyo se hace pasar por este Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien en “YouTube”.

Dicho farsante emplea una v minúscula para el gentilicio “von” pero aún así persiste en su intento de imitar el inimitable estilo personal de éste Herr Graf; obviamente muchos melenudos se darán cuenta de que el auténtico Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien jamás se rebajaría a mirar de soslayo esas pequeñas y borrosas imagines de “YouTube”, al disponer en su magnífico Schloss de todo un auténtico teatro para sus veladas cinematográficas y aunque en principio el farsante de éste Conde, aparentemente no ha publicado comentarios acerca de ningún filme en particular, en caso de que así lo hiciese, deberían ustedes tener en cuenta que dicho impostor no tiene ninguna relación con éste Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien, cuyos genuinos comentarios acerca del cinema silente, intentan entretener e informar a melenudos en foros tales como “alt.movies.silent” y otros grupos de noticias.

¡No acepten imitaciones!, dejen que ese “von” de pacotilla vuelva al establo al cual pertenece, seguramente para escribir comentarios acerca de filmes de artes marciales y películas del oeste de procedencia itálica, dejando que la magnífica época del cinema silente sea para todos aquellos con suficiente pedigrí y educación necesaria ésta, para su total disfrute.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien