This is completely accurate-- the differences go far beyond a dispute over the name of the film. I see Murnau's hand strongly in evidence running just up to the arrival at the farm. The blocking and the use of the camera just wilt after that point, and the mise en scene (and the tale itself) sort of deteriorates into the commonplace melodrama, and loses the sparkling insight of Murnau's deployment of Everything. For me the film gets hokey as soon as Kate gets slapped and Lem walks around looking like a wrung out wet blanket-- monotone straight into the end.david hare wrote:I had always understood that when Fox started recutting the film, they left the reshoots to Alfred Werker (who also did the major reshoot for Stroheim's Walking Down Broadway/Hello Sister! which really IS a butchered movie.) There are undoubtedly other hands at work in the pie as well.
Werker's hand is very diificult for me to pick out from what Murnau left behnd at this point - I suspect a lot of the contretemps between the father and Mary is shot by him - Werker - the angles and cutting look too direct and uninvoled with a moving camera for anything other than blocking for decoupage. And possibly the end as well including the big climactic riding scene at night. If he Werker- has shot that, then what remains are Murnau's CUs or outtakes and some notion at least of Murnau's positioning of actors for staging, probably in rehearsal.
Certainly I dont doubt that it's a highly compromised film, and maybe half of it is really dircted by M. But so what? It still belongs to M. For US!
Isnt what's there, esepcially those first twenty minutes in the cafe really important to us?
Ever see Guinn Big Boy in THE PHANTOM? A really bad, super obscure early talkie? He was a funny kid-- he probably shoulda stuck to football, but I always love seeing him nontheless.