Unseen Cinema 2: The Devil's Plaything
American Surrealism

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13 videos in this playlist

Jack and the Beanstalk
Edwin S. Porter's narrative films demonstrate a mastery of experimental image-making techniques. He embellishes their fantasies through a strategic use of dissolves, multiple exposures, matte shots, and other "trick" effects.…
Dream of a Rarebit Fiend
Edwin S. Porter was an engineer and cameraman who adapted the brilliant trickery of French filmmakers such as Georges Melies to American pictures. This was an imitation of* Reve a…
The Thieving Hand
Released by the Vitagraph Company, this short comedy about a larcenous and independently minded prosthesis features a nonsensical narrative that the French surrealists would have appreciated as much as they…
Impossible Convicts
The prisoners and prison guards shuffle backwards in real time are photographed in reverse motion to appear moving forward in projection time. But it keeps switching and humorous results ensue.…
When the Clouds Roll By “Food Induced Nightmare” - excerpt
Inspired by Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906), this sequence is the most remarkable example of the avant-garde in a mainstream Hollywood release. Fleming and Fairbanks worked with cameramen William…
Beggar on Horseback “Dream Fantasy Wedding” - excerpt
In a plot adapted from Kaufman and Connelly's play, Edward Everett Horton plays a composer so desperate he proposes to a wealthy girl rather than the one he loves. This…
The Fall of the House of Usher
Filmed in a Rochester, New York carriage house, this expressionist film is the earliest live-action dramatic film made by a collaboration of poets and artists in the United States. Watson…
The Life and Death of 9413: A Hollywood Extra
Florey and Vorkapich's fictional short features an expressionistic design made almost exclusively with miniature sets and photographed with live actors through mirrors. An elliptical narrative concerns the plight of Hollywood…
The Love of Zero
Robert Florey, a French cineaste, and Menzies, a top art director, combined talents to show the influence of Caligari and other European film experiments, which tended to be ignored by…
The Telltale Heart
This avant-garde film version of Edgar Allan Poe's story adapts the expressionistic mise-en-scene of Caligari to figure the distorted subjectivity of the insane protagonist. Additional manipulations of the filmic material…
Tomato Is Another Day
A film designed to show the absurdity of talkies that recorded action in pictures with unnecessary explanations of the action recorded in sound. Film was shown for one night in…
The Hearts of Age
Produced as a component of a live summer theatre production, no other exhibition was intended for this film. It is of interest today as the first screen appearance of Orson…
The Enigmatic Cinema of Joseph Cornell I (1926-1968) - 3 films
Amateur Joseph Cornell made films outside the limelight of commercial cinema production and distribution. In fact he supposedly never handled a movie camera to shoot his own material opting to…

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