The Love of Zero (1927)

Article 4742 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-24-2015
Directed by Robert Florey
Featuring Joseph Marievsky, Tamara Shavrova, Anielka Elter
Country: USA
What it is: Impressionistic short

Zero romances and wins the heart of Beatrix with his trombone playing. However, she is eventually forced to leave him forever, and he must deal with heartbreak and a descent into madness.

If you can imagine a short, partially comic cross between THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI and DAUGHTER OF HORROR, you might get an idea of what this experimental collaboration between Robert Florey and William Cameron Menzies is like. The opening crawl claims that the movie was made for only two hundred dollars, and I will say that the movie looks more expensive than that; in fact, this short has more edits than some full-length movies I’ve seen. The scenery is abstract in the extreme, camera tricks abound (including split-screen and multiple exposure) and the feel ranges from coyish whimsicality to the darkly surreal. The movie is delightfully strange and quite enjoyable, both funny and sad. It almost makes you wonder what you could do with two hundred dollars (or whatever its current equivalent would be).

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