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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Sealed Room (1909) - D.W. Griffith


D.W. Griffith brings us the longest running horror movie to date (1909). It is less horror and more tragic as the movie is probably one of the first “Horror” movies to actually tug on your heart strings a bit. This is also a movie that proves that there are other directors out there not just George Melies.

The story is simple enough, we have a king who has constructed a “Pleasure Room” for himself and his concubine. But alas, this concubine is not faithful and she goes ahead and screws around with the court troubadour. The king, heartbroken and sad, commands his masons to seal the concubine and her lover in this “Pleasure Room” the two embrace as the oxygen is depleted and die in each others arms.

What do i think of this? Well, D.W. Griffith is no George Melies, but he does make a valiant effort to shove Edgar Allan Poe’s vision into this 11 min. short. Extravagant costumes and a larger budget mean a more creative and fun story. The downsides are the vacant title cards and dialogue cards. This movie could have really benefited from some dialogue, even if we have to read it.

So far George Melies is definitely the king when it comes to keeping your attention in a silent film. All be it for 1 - 3 minuets usually. The cast of this film is really the saving point. Griffith used most of his regulars, Mary Pickford, Arthur V. Johnson, and Mack Sennett. Per usual they seemed to be a package deal, as was the case with most of his films from that time.

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