Those who are interested in the cultural battle between Old World and new are noticing with amazement that the moving picture industry, heretofore controlled entirely by America, is becoming more and more dependent on European influence. Skill in technical detail, reality of miniature work, grandeur of the large sets in this country is diversified by the artistic feeling of European producers. America, the real inventor, has gone ahead in a practical way to commercialize moving pictures; but the presence of a German director or a Polish actress has been responsible for nearly half of great American films. Europe has become the mistress of the art.
Several years ago "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligary," a German film first startled American audiences with grotesque cubist settings and futuristic power. It was the first warning that Europe would create her own moving picture traditions. The German producers of the "Last Laugh," now running in New York, felt that they could tell the whole story without subtitles.
American pictures have been a slave to these silly intermissions in the film, repetitions of facts that are only too obvious. It has been apparent for some time that the artistic power of the screen could never be properly developed until the pictorial art alone should carry the full burden of meaning. It is significant that European producers have dared this, and successfully. It is a definite announcement that America must yield to Europe the leadership in the art of the cinema.