Silent, black and white, translated from French, and inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe story; it doesn’t get more intricate than this, so if you’re looking for exotic disorientation, this is probably right up your alley. You kind of have to be in the right mood for something like this, though, because it can be frustrating. This isn’t necessarily the go-to Poe tale to adapt as a feature film.
It feels incomplete. It leaves you unsatisfied. It’s basically Poe dealing with his fear of diseases, and death, through his writing, and struggling with the ending. There’s an average of one short intertitle a minute, leaving a lot of narrative to physical acting and the imagination. Some scenes, though, like the burial ceremony, are interminable. There are pacing issues through and through.
A running time of a little over an hour for this seems ludicrous. There’s a significant number of special effects once considered challenging, with breathing room in between. Romantic as it is, this film must have been quite an experience when it came out. At the very least, for modern audiences, it’s a time capsule. It’s the best cinema had to offer in the late 1920s.