Friday, May 29, 2020

THE DIRECTOR WHO BROUGHT SHADOWS TO THE SCREEN


What begins an article as a cautionary statement regarding filmmakers and their overuse of camera angles and other photographic effects in the late 1920's evolves into an insightful analysis of Paul Leni's work on Universal's adaptation of the stage play, THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1927).

Author Paul Gulick exudes praise for Leni and his use of light and shadows, combined with Gothic appurtenances, to achieve an eerie and foreboding atmosphere throughout the film -- a far cry from the harshly-lit stage version. Not fully eschewing his impressionistic German roots, Leni amalgamated all of these elements to create what was to quickly become a new benchmark in filmmaking.

Gulick, in his article for the March 1927 issue of AMATEUR MOVIE MAKERS, is correct by stating that THE CAT AND THE CANARY "will startle the moving picture industry with its innovations".




BONUS: Director Paul Leni stumps for Lucky Strike!

From UNIVERSAL WEEKLY December 10, 1927.

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