Danger Ahead

March 21, 2007 § Leave a comment

Danger Ahead (1935)

Sub-par B fare but with very good fighting (long silent fighting sequences) and a very good number by Fuzzy Knight at the piano. Something funny happens after the first 15 minutes. To all purposes the film is as good as over — but then it just has to fill another 45 minutes of screen time. So more nonsense and changes of hand of “that dough” — but wait ! Fuzzy Knight gets going at the piano in a pretty funny act.

The goings-on are quite erratic but those B-films are what you’d get if Hollywood went cheap and realistic on you: filming in the streets with non-star quality material in the leads, and very simple shooting techniques (for once we see the dolly tracks as the dolly pulls back — but they’re motivated as railway tracks along the docks !). No rhetorics. Very straighforward drama. Sounds like the Danish Dogme 95 ? Apart from that bit in the Danish contract about the drama being born of the situations and characters themselves, it could almost be. (except that Dogme 95 films are not opposed, in practice, to a lot of rhetorical effects, high angle shots, parallel editing, and so on)

Funny thing about that basic Hollywood realism: it’s never very disturbing. The plot is foolish and naively sunny enough to fend off any nastiness.

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