Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled
setsuled

  • Location:
  • Mood:
  • Music:

The Diamond and the Pirate's Tomb



Some of the most beautiful sound stages posing as exteriors can be found in Fritz Lang's 1955 film Moonfleet. A swashbuckler with a great cast to go with its visual style and exciting story, its only real flaw is that it centres on a child actor who delivers a very weak performance. Still, he's not as annoying as Bobby Driscoll.



There are a lot of reasons one might think of the famous adaptation of Treasure Island made five years earlier--both are told mostly from the point of view of a little boy trying to figure out who to trust among a bunch of roguish characters, even as he's drawn to one sinister but charismatic father figure. Moonfleet is adapted from a Victorian novel that was itself likely influenced by the book Treasure Island.



But instead of pirates, the film deals with smugglers in mid-18th century Dorset. Little John Mohune (Jon Whiteley) has unexpectedly come to stay with his mother's former lover, Jeremy Fox (Stewart Granger). Jeremy is doing well for himself living in a crumbling manor house and living a life of nightly debauchery so he doesn't want some kid around cramping his style. John walks in when a gypsy woman (Liliane Montevecchi) is giving an impressively mad, wonderful table dance for Jeremy's drunken guests.



Among these guests is George Sanders as Lord Ashwood in a somewhat disappointingly small role. Lady Ashwood (Joan Greenwood) has much more valuable screen time later as she vigorously attempts to seduce Jeremy.



This film is under an hour and a half and mostly focuses on John and his hunt for his ancestor's treasure but somehow Jeremy manages to have three memorable lovers in that brief runtime--living with him his Mrs. Minton (Viveca Lindfors).



The fantastic sets are reminiscent of the opening scenes of Treasure Island but Fritz Lang brings a great deal of his own legendary visual instincts to the table. Moonfleet has one of the greatest graveyard sets I've ever seen.



And Lang has a keen sense of how to direct action--the first shot of a peculiar stone angel is as likely to startle the viewer as it does John. And it's not even moving.



The greatest action sequence in the film, though, involves a duel between Jeremy and one of his men in an tavern. The gentleman Jeremy tosses his opponent a rapier but the man throws it away in favour of a massive halberd from the fireplace which he immediately begins swinging around.



If not for the little kid, this movie would be a thorough pleasure. The treasure hunt scenes have a wonderful Indiana Jones feel to them and the dialogue is often delightful.
Tags: fritz lang, george sanders, joan greenwood, moonfleet, movies, stewart granger
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments