ALS HET VERSTAND ZEGEVIERT (1918)
aka The Craving
Article 4685 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Francis Ford
Featuring Francis Ford, Mae Gaston, Peter Gerald
What it is: Spy intrigue crossed with anti-drinking story
A recovering alcoholic invents a formula for a new super-explosive, but a villain from India is seeking his secret.
This movie had ended up on my “ones that got away” list under the belief it was lost, but it apparently popped up in a private collection. I’m glad I’ve got sources I can consult on the plot; since the intertitles of the print I saw are in Dutch, I would have been really lost in trying to sort this one out. For one thing, I didn’t see any clear demonstration of the explosive itself (unless a war-time sequence and a thrown beaker of liquid are meant to demonstrate it), and I would never have figured out the rather vague “battle of wills” sequence (for that matter, I’m not sure I still do). However, there is some easily spotted fantastic content to this one; when our hero is drinking, he hallucinates, and there are two sequences in the movie – one in which he deals with a series of little people who come out of a bottle and another where he has a strange out-of-body experience – with very marked fantasy content. Nevertheless, I sense this is a rather odd movie that never really finds its focus; I’m not really sure the movie knows what it wants to be. It does have some interesting moments, though.