DARKENED ROOMS (1929)
Article #831 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-24-2003
Posting Date: 11-21-2003
Directed by Louis Gasnier
Featuring Neil Hamilton, Evelyn Brent, Doris Hill
A photographer decides to become a phony spiritualist in the hopes of making a fortune.
Title check: The title is evocative and appropriate; in fact, it’s better than the movie.
This very early talkie is actually not quite as static and creaky as you might expect from a movie from this time period, and the basic premise is kind of promising; there are plenty of phony spiritualist movies out there, but this is the only one I know of that deals with someone just starting in on the profession. Still the movie has some major problems; some of the dialogue is painfully bad, and the acting is horribly wooden in spots, and the combination of the two tends to make the movie unintentionally funny at times. The ending is also a problem; it’s way too pat for a movie that aspires to be a serious drama. In fact, I strongly think this movie would have fared better if they had decided to make it a comedy instead; a number of the situations certainly show some real comic promise if you look at them in the right way. As it is, I see it as largely a misfired curiousity.