Collections’ day at the new EYE

Herbert Brenon directing Pola Negri in The Spanish Dancer
Herbert Brenon directing Pola Negri in The Spanish Dancer

Just had a great day at the Collections Day at the new EYE. First the restored, uncut version of Paul Verhoeven’s SPETTERS (1980): typical late 1970s athmosphere with motorcycles, TV, disco, gay bashing and rape, but also old and new religions, and with a lot of grease&fat, jokes, and a lot of male genital organs on view. Modern version of three knights fighting for the same damsel, but with a twist: the hero in white doesn’t get her and the girl is not a noble princess but a golddigger. Then DE BERTHA (1913), starring Annie Bos, plus many other Hollandia regulars. While the story was almost that of Heijermans’ The Good Hope (Op Hoop van Zegen), it had some nice location shots in IJmuiden & Haarlem and some nice deep-staging as well. The inventor intercepting telegraph messages hinted at modernity but looked quite ridiculous. So not exactly the great revelation, but still interesting. Preceding were an intriguing travelogue by Gaumont on Dordrecht by boat (Willem Witsen-like!), an early Alfred Machin comedy on a plein-air painting artist whose painting is tied to a pig, and colored images again by Gaumont of children in Zeeland wearing traditional costumes. The big hit of the day, however, was Herbert Brenon’s THE SPANISH DANCER (1923), starring Pola Negri as the gypsy with the golden heart, Antonio Moreno as the naive hero, Adolphe Menjou as the Jago who tries to split King and Queen (and so Spain and France), Kathlyn Williams as the proud Queen and Wallace Beery as the lecherous King. Here too the theme of the artist interrupted recurred with Velazquez who tries to finish a royal portrait. Incredible restoration by use of various international prints (of which I catalogued the Dutch version at the time). A cinema organ, piano and ensemble lead by Martin de Ruiter provided excellent accompaniment. Wonderful program for a wonderful new building!

~ by Ivo Blom on April 6, 2012.

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