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Yorkshire Post (24/Apr/1928) - Cinema World: Review of Last Year's Film Productions



Cinema World: Review of Last Year's Film Productions

Spring Releases.

I turn now to the films shown in Great Britain during 1927. I shall refer only to those generally released, and shall not mention those that have at present only had advance runs in London or at a few provincial centres.

The year started with the release in January of "The Black Pirate" — an excellent Douglas Fairbanks picture, and the only film I have yet seen in which successful use is made of a form of colour-photography. By limiting the colour range to a low warm tones of green, brown, and red, some really striking desert island and pirate ship effects were achieved. January was also notable for "The Waltz Dream" — the best musical comedy film yet made, and the progenitor of a host of inferior imitations — and for "The Pleasure Garden," the film which Alfred Hitchcock, then unknown, was sent to the Continent to make. It was not an outstanding success, but it made a few people talk about him.

In February "The Pleasure Garden" was followed by "The Lodger" — the British film that immediately made Hitchcock's reputation. I well remember the London trade show of "The Lodger" in September, 1926, and the surprised pleasure everyone felt at seeing a British film more than up to date in the vivid ingenuity of its technique.

March was notable for four releases — Mademoiselle from Armentieres," the war melodrama which did much to establish British films in popular favour; "The Triumph of the Rat," another useful British picture, very capable and very popular; "Beau Geste," and "Manon Lescaut." Some of the desert scenes in "Beau Geste" made a more powerful appeal to me than anything else I have yet seen on the screen. "Manon Lescaut" stands to the eternal credit of Ufa as much the best costume drama — to my mind — yet produced.

April saw " The Big Parade," Buster Keaton in "The General," and "Palaver." an unusual British film about Nigeria which scarcely attracted the attention it deserved. May gave us Captain N. A. Poeson's picturesque Chinese film, "The Willow Pattern Plate," said to be the forerunner of other Chinese films which have not yet made their appearance. Captain Pogson, however, is now a director of the recently formed Whitehall Films Company and has plans for a film of Marco Polo — certainly a splendid subject.

Juno and July were, as usual, rather barren, but August saw the release of two novelties — "Hine Moa," the picturesque Gaumont Maori film, and "The Marriage of the Bear," the first — and so far the last — Russian production put on view by F.B.O.

A Remarkable Month.

September was a remarkable month, with Gaumont's "Hindle Wakes" — perhaps the best British film yet released; Pola Negri in the superbly efficient "Hotel Imperial"; the boldly spectacular French production "Michael Strogoff" ; Harold Lloyd in his latest and best comedy "The Kid Brother"; the amusing "Cruise of the Jasper B" — a promising essay in the scarcely touched field of film burlesque; and — finally — the architectural wonders of "Metropolis," impaired, alas, by its Americanisation at the hands of Mr. Channing Pollock for consumption outside Germany.

October gave us "Ben Hur," "The Student of Prague," and Hitchcock's brilliant direction of Ivor Novello in the clever nonsense of "Downhill." I am sorry that "The Student of Prague" was not more widely booked. Exhibitors, it seems, thought this beautiful German film too unusual for popular taste. It will surely be revived sooner or later, and will earn the reputation it deserves.