Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The Dragon Painter (William Worthington, 1919) C-
A respectable, if not too interesting, silent film starring Japanese star Sessue Hayawaka. The premise is interesting- a talented painter who becomes awful after finding love- but the execution is deadly. Throughout the first half, title cards dominate the screen so much that I thought I was reading a novel instead of watching a movie. Director William Worthington forgets the first basic rule of filmmaking: you have to tell the story visually. There are less title cards in the second half, but were not exactly subjected to passionate filmmaking here (i.e. I was bored). Seeing this Asian perspective is something that we wouldn't have normally seen in 1919, but there could have been a more interesting way to adapt this Japanese style to Western storytelling.