Les Vampires (1915)


Hmph! Despite the hypnotic still photo in my 1001, there's not an actual vampire to be seen, and with a dozen episodes running at a total of 440 minutes, I think I'm unlikely to stay the course. The quality of movie photography has undoubtedly improved, and the accompanying music (by Robert Israel) lends a sophisticated air to the bourgeois proceedings, but the constant return to static scenes of people on the telephone, at the bedside, or standing in the parlour make this hopelessly dull watching. It's hardly surprising that the early directors and cameramen had such a love affair with the railways when they offered an easy solution to the problem of the immobile lens.

I'm also beginning to realise that watching silent movies requires a different kind of viewing, having to tolerate quite prolonged sequences of characters mouthing at each other interspersed with unimaginative intertitles. That's one reason why the shorter movies where the pictures do tell the story are, to my modern eyes at least, much more engaging.

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