Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Review - Mantrap

The weekend before last, Luke and I went to see another (yes another) festival film. I must admit I was looking forward to watching this one most of all, just because I knew it would be a unique cinematic experience. It was Mantrap, a 1926 black-and-white silent movie, starting the 1920s “it” girl Clara Bow. 

Before this film, the only silent movie I had ever seen was The Artist, which I have already posted about in this blog. However, this film was accompanied by a live band, which was super neat. The band, City Oh Sigh, consisted of: Kate Uhe (cello), Catherine Henehan (guitar), Sarah Smythe (Rhodes piano), and Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa (drums and percussion). I must confess, though, that I was slightly put off by their contemporary music when the movie first started.

But 10 minutes later I was too absorbed in the film to notice. It’s surprising how quickly you adapt to silent movies. Although there is the caricature of silent film actors “overacting”, I personally believe they could run rings around most modern actors.

The storyline is quite simple. A beautiful, liberated, young city gal called Alvera implusively marries a much older tender-hearted hillbilly. When a New York lawyer decides to escape the office to camp in the Canadian wilderness, he meets Alvera, who has not quite learnt that marriage means less flirting. As one critic commented, Clara Bow could have flirted with a grizzly bear. She is really just sensational.

The film was directed by Victor Fleming, whose other movies include the Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. It’s amazing how the humour still resonates 86 years later, although new hilarity stems from the modern audience finding certain things rather “quaint”, such as the reaction of a gentleman to seeing a woman’s ankle.

It really is a wonderful film and worth seeing if you get the opportunity.

Sorry guys, no trailer for this movie. Apparently it was made pre-trailers.
So until next time :)

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