Cottage on Dartmoor Reviews
Much indebted to the European style of films of the era, Asquith uses the techniques of German Expressionism to show the shadowy scenes set on the moors. Also the Soviet style of montage and editing is used effectively throughout the film especially during a visit to the cinema by the main protagonists. Ironically the film shown is a 'Talkie' which would of course supersede the silent films. The audience is shown enjoying the latest Harold Lloyd flick (which is shown before the main picture). We only get to see their faces as well as the live musicians, playing along with their instruments and adding to the cresendo of pulsating beats along with the breakneck speed of editing. It's wonderful kinetic scene. If you thought the MTV generation invented epileptic editing prepared to be amazed. The meat and potato of the film is told in an inventive flashback structure.
The film enters into darker territory but my main concern is with the unoriginal story of two men, one a young working class barber, the other an older middle class land owner, who both chase after the young woman. However the visual extravagance and box of directoral tricks used by Asquith more than make up for the weak story. Fans of silent cinema will lap it up.
The acting of the main players is subtle and keeps to the general mood of the drama - No hysterical OTT acting to be found here which can occaisionally marr silent films. Special mention to Norah Baring, Uno Henning and Hans Albert von Schlett. As their Germanic names suggest many European stars of their day featured in British silent films without the worry of their strong accents inhibiting their performances. This would change in the new sound era.
Overall a splendidly stylish treat.