THE ASSIGNATION (1953)
Article 5269 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Curtis Harrington
What it is: Avant-garde short
A masked figure in a black cape carrying a red rose travels on a gondola through the canals of Venice… but to what end?
Curtis Harrington began as a maker of avant-garde short films. This is the first one I’ve seen of those early movies. I actually found this one rather interesting. Not a lot happens during the first three-quarters of the movie, but the movie does a nice job of capturing a certain visual allure of the sights along the canal and it managed to hold my interest. What plot there is unfolds in the last couple of minutes, and it’s charming in the simplicity of its unfolding. In the end, I was quite taken with the movie; for one thing, it seems to be just the right length; had it gone on much longer, it would have gotten dull. As for the fantastic content… well, if you come to the same conclusion I did as to the identity of the masked figure, you’ll know why I feel it qualifies, but it is open to interpretation.