Friday, October 12, 2007

The Pleasure Garden

The Pleasure Garden; Silent drama, UK/ Germany, 1925; D: Alfred Hitchcock, S: Virginia Valli, John Stuart, Carmelita Geraghty, Miles Mander, Florence Helminger

London. Patsy Brand is a dancer in a cabaret called "The Pleasure Garden". After a show, some gentleman tries to seduce her but she rejects him. Poor Jill moves to the town and gets robbed but gets a job at Mr. Hamilton as a dancer. Patsy takes Jill into her house and meets her fiance Hugh. But since Hugh works at sea, Jill forgets about him and starts a relationship with prince Ivan. Patsy marries Levatt and leaves with him for a honeymoon. There she discovers he is cheating on her and leaves him, starting a relationship with Hugh.

Alfred Hitchcock's first film (not regarding his unfinished and lost film "Number 13") introduced "The master of suspense" on wrong territory - in a drama. Truly, "The Pleasure Garden", a 60 minute long film, didn't create a pedestal for apotheosis of the author, but it's still definitely a good film with a few interesting camera tricks, like in the scene serving as a subjective point of view of a man who sees everything foggy, but when he puts his glasses the shot of dancers suddenly becomes sharp, and a few quirky situations, like when Jill is kneeling and praying to God while a dog is obstructing her by licking her feet. Hitchcock didn't show his sense for suspense because here it wouldn't have been appropriate anyway since the story is a drama, and he isn't in full shape anyway - the supporting character of the poor, humble Jill who becomes an arrogant person after huge success as a dancer offered a inducement for a bitter critique of glamour and shallow people, but those ingredients sadly lack in the film. Not only that, the romance between Patsy and Hugh is rather obtrusive since it starts only towards the end of the film. Even though the "Garden" is just a half-classic, it's still and interesting and rarely shown film that many Hitchcock fans should see.


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