Ditto that. L'Inhumaine
for me is France's contribution to the idea of Stylistic Overenthusiasm... something Germany got out of it's system in the early 20's with excercises in expressionism like Genuine
(which I actually kind of like), von Morgen bis Mitternacht
, hell even Torgus
to a certain extent. Films that seem to be made for the excited filmmaker's memory of having created them more than that of the experience of the viewing public. There seem to be historical pivotpoints as styles radically evolved and presented certain possibilities to tuned-in filmmakers, where the thrill of being part of a movement seems to have confused directors for a moment or two... into thinking that filmmaking is about the process, about the excitement of feeling a part of something new and daring... looking at the wondrously inventive sets, the unusual nature of the atmosphere and newness of the aesthetics involved, and saying "How wonderful is this thing that I'm involved in here, how new and interesting and truly satisfying to my nature is this thing I'm now a part of, I will look back at this when I'm old and say-- my life was wonderful!"
Of course there's nothing wrong with living the process, but L'Inhumaine
feels to me, no matter how many times I rewatch, completely uninteresting despite it's visual treats. I see a director gone mad with embellishment, in horridly pretentious French stereotype: "Vwe must poot more here!" splatting a paintbrush against a set flat, running to the lead actress & tweaking her dress "Zhe must loook like eh cat, vicious, more rouge! Diagonal! More diagonal!" running up & down ladders, running paint rollers up & down and everywhere all over everybody. He seems to be attempting to merge a narrative strangeness that blends with the visual aesthetics of the outer edges of Impressionism, but fails solidly. Whereas someone like Epstein in La Glace a trois
succeeds completely. As does L'Herbier himself in so many of his other works. Including the masterpiece L'Argent
. And I just can't buy that gruesome lead actress... horrid.
Not to mention L'Inhumaine
features the worst use of miniatures in the galaxy-- the tiny rolling toy cars that are flumped in to roll up and bump against the cardboard house makes the tiny smoke-shrouded house in Usher
, or Murnau's miniatures in Vogelod
look like paragons of total authenticity!
Do you have a link for that French L'Herbier release you mention? I can't find anything on amazon.fr and alapage.
I don't think it's out. It's floating around in back channels, oftentimes paired w LInhumaine (mine is).