Mathias Pascal, only son of a once rich family, marries beautiful Romilde, who has a terrible mother-in-law. She controls her daughter, and soon his home life becomes a nightmare, as well ...
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Mathias Pascal, only son of a once rich family, marries beautiful Romilde, who has a terrible mother-in-law. She controls her daughter, and soon his home life becomes a nightmare, as well as his job as assistant librarian in his home town. His only moments of lights are his mother and his baby, but both die on the same day. Shocked he leaves his hometown and gets to Monte Carlo, where he wins a fortune at the Casino. Returning home, he reads his own obituary in a paper. They have found a corpse in a creek and connected it with his disappearance. Mathias, noticing that he now is free from all ties to his old live, decides to start a new one, and goes to Rome, where he rents a room in a pension full of fake spiritualists who are controlling the owner. The chief of the gang, Terence, wants to marry the owner's daughter Adrienne, and has convinced her father to give her to him, with no regards of Adrienne's feelings, who is in love with and loved by Mathias. When Terence steals Mathias ...Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Only for the hardcore (and very patient) silent film buff
Oof. At 3 hours, this film is far too long for its pace, which plods along slowly in the first half especially. There are entire scenes which are unnecessary, starting with the very first, which has Pascal's mother being taken advantage in selling her estate, which is a waste of about 15 minutes. Another example is a scene of mice and cats in the library, which is just silly. These things take away from and delay considerably the main story - Mathias Pascal's feeling of claustrophobia in his marriage leading him to 'run away from it all', helped along by the belief others have that he's died (hence 'The Late Mathias Pascal').
The film occasionally feels like an experimental project, with attempts to dabble in humor, romance, and surrealism at various points, but missing holistic vision. There are certainly some nice moments. I loved seeing Pascal in Rome at various sites (the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Ponte Sant'Angelo among others), the gambling scenes in Monte Carlo, and some of the outdoor scenes, such as those along the train tracks. Director Marcel L'Herbier utilizes techniques such as overlays and slow motion which were 'state of the art' at the time. Unfortunately there as many bad examples of filmmaking. Far too often we see tight shots of Ivan Mozzhukhin's face, who is reasonably good in the role, but has limited range, so we see the same dramatic expression over and over. The editing was also poor, so that we see moments repeated slightly or not fit together seamlessly. Only for the hardcore (and very patient) silent film buff.
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