BERKELEY SQUARE (1933)
Article #421 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 5-10-2002
Posting date: 10-3-2002
A man who inhabits a house that has been kept in its original condition for 150 years walks through the door one day and travels back in time 150 years to inhabit the body of his look-alike ancestor.
Leslie Howard stars in this early time-travel romance, based on a stage play by John Balderston. To give you an idea of the movie, you are almost thirty minutes into it before the time travel incident occurs, and that first thirty minutes is loaded with talk. For that matter, the next thirty minutes is also loaded with talk, most of it centered around how odd the man is and how he seems to know things that haven’t yet occurred. It’s only in the last third of the movie that it really seems to take shape, but my patience has worn a bit thin by that time. And though the movie does flirt with such themes as how horrible modern life is (in a dizzying montage of contemporary images of violence that make for one of the most energetic moments in the movie), it doesn’t romanticize the past; it’s obvious that the man finds many aspects of the past equally unpleasant. All in all, it’s a photographed stage play that really needs more cinematic touches to bring it to life. There are some interesting things to be found here, but it really helps to be patient.
One interesting piece of trivia that was told me when this was first posted is that this was H. P. Lovecraft’s favorite movie.