"Pecheur D'Islande" Falls Short of Pierre Loti's Tender Tragedy; "Secrets of a Cathedral" Revealed; a Belated March of Time
"Pecheur D'Islande" is a conscientious rendition of Pierre Loti's moving tragedy, but somewhat of a disappointment for those whose expectations were proportioned to the magnitude of the classic original. In part, at least, the inferiority is the result of a foolish shift of emphasis, naturally invited by the new medium, from the great, basic ideas of the drama to the incidental episodes.
For example, when the Iceland fishermen of Britanny are sailing about in the vast open sea, the movie chooses to show the running aground of the hero's ship and the specific reasons for his never returning to the arms of his bride. The novel, on the other hand, in dealing with the voyage strives above all to pass on a consciousness of the gloom, cold, and impenetrable unfriendliness of the northern waters. And when the great, bashful sailor does not return, his widow-bride is shown to be weeping all the time, instead of somehow conveying, as she does in the book, the idea of an endless and agonized waiting. An incident of this period, perhaps the most poignant of all, in which Gaud leaps from bed in the midst of a rainy night, in answer to a knock, only to find that it is not her lover Yann, is entirely omitted from the film.
The parts of Yann and Gaud are acted a little too grossly by obscure players. Even Yvette Guilbert, in the role of the girl's aged grandmother who always has something to sorrow over, tries too hard, and may frequently be caught red-handed in the attempt to steal the scene from the speaker.
Besides the April March of Time and the Fox Movietone News, there is a short called "Secrets of a Cathedral", in which the grins, leers, smiles, frowns, and pained expressions of the stony denizens of the Cathedral of St. Martin in Mainz are skillfully brought out.
At 12:30 each day this week is to be heard Grieg's "Sonata in C Minor", piano and violin played by Serge Rachmaninoff and Fritz Kreisler.