Saturday, October 4, 2008

MOMA film review

I'm back from my wonderful trip to New York. I had a great time, and as I mentioned in my last post, went to MOMA to see While New York Sleeps, as part of their Hollywood on the Hudson, Filmmaking in New York 1920-1939 series.

The film, directed by Charles Brabin (Theda Bara's hubby), was a series of 3 mini-movies rolled into one. The first segment: the story of a wealthy couple where the wife, while the husband's at work, gets a "surprise" visitor; the second, the story of a cheatin' husband and the trouble he gets into with the vamp he meets at Ziegfield's Follies; and the third, a thoroughly depressing tale of a poor, working-class father and son who suffer tragedy at the hands of a heartless woman.

All in all, not a bad evening's entertainment, although nothing to set your socks on fire. I had hoped to see more scenery of early NYC, but sadly, what was shown (in the third act) was minimal, so I was very disappointed.

Another surprise was that the film, billed at being 70 minutes long, was a lot longer than that, making me very late for my dinner guests. (They were very forgiving.)

Would I see it again? Um, no, nor would I buy it on DVD. But if it were showing, I would encourage silent film fans to go, if only because I (believe) the Follies girls were the real deal (and always cool to see them), and to take in the costumes, scenery, direction and camera work associated with an early film.


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