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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Peepshow (1956) by Ken Russell

A short silent film made for £100. During the making of this film Russell converted to Catholicism.

The Bogus Beggar's Academy trains beggars (dark glasses to appear to be blind, practising limping with crutches etc). But their earnings fall when a peepshow is set up. Through the hole in the wall is a professor and a mechanical life-size doll, played by Shirley Russell (then Shirley Kingdom)

The films is influenced by The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, and is also similar to the amateur films Roman Polanski was making round the same time (Two Men and a Wardrobe) but is well below the level of Polanski or of Russell's later Amelia and the Angel. The best parts are the photography from above of the crowd around the hole in the wall (compare with Hitchcock).

A nice touch is that the story (the film is silent so it is told in writing) is chalked to the pavement or painted on walls. And the opening credits with credits painted on umbrellas filmed from above, which are then removed to reveal the rest of the credits on the pavement, is imaginative.

The doll sequence would later be used in Gothic.

More Information:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049606/

http://www.iainfisher.com/russell/ken...






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