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The Pleasure Garden (1925) -- Alfred Hitchclub

I finally had time to watch it and I know Kyle already has, wasn't sure if I should make a thread out of it but fuck it, I did. If you did too, discuss!

I have no experience with the silent era, I plan to watch Metropolis and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari very soon, so it was interesting to see how much film making has changed. I'd always figured that silent films would try to limit how often the actors talk, but fuck me, this film had a lot of talking with very little dialogue. I wonder what the actors were actually saying to each other during takes, because the dialogue stills were so brief that it couldn't have been what they said on film.

Also, Jill was a bizarrely unimportant character, despite how much importance the first half of the story gave to her.

Also also, there were so many noticable cuts in the middle of shots, I have to wonder what went wrong during filming (or possibly editing), or perhaps they just cut pauses shorter because of a technologically imposed restriction on the runtime.


  • here's my realtime thoughts again:

    Pleasure Garden notes:

    4:02 -- shot highlights purse and darkens everything else. Is this what an establishing shot in 1925 was? I don't know why we need this when it's clear what happens a few seconds later without it

    4:40 -- dude behind counter looks like Mr. Feeny

    5:40 -- I can't tell these ladies apart from each other. That's probably bad

    6:25 -- yo that dog is dead

    8:11 -- I'm pretty sure ladies don't immediately change in front of each other minutes after their first interaction. This seems like dumb pervy guy stuff.

    9:30 -- they don't sleep in the same bed either

    10:11 -- what kind of an asshole sits on a wicker trunk?

    11:15 -- dudes smoking seconds after "smoking prohibited" sign shown

    12:02 -- "I'll show you some real hot steps!"

    15:13 -- T2 looking dude petting the shit out of definitely dead dog

    17:26 -- there's a fucking maple leaf on that lady's head

    20:05 -- Fiancé is spelled with 1 e.

    20:20 -- the editing on the dancing looks all fucked up. Editing is probably easier with computers.

    21:52 -- "stage-door tomcats"

    25:00 -- did this just turn into Nosferatu?

    27:41 -- #netflixandchill

    28:17 -- she's literally named Patsy. That's probably a not so subtle way of telling us she's getting fucked over

    32:07 -- more dead dog

    33:13 -- is someone gonna feed that dog?

    36:18 -- you probably should have asked Satan. That dude gets stuff done.

    39:15 -- what the fuck is even happening?

    42:43 -- yo this is illegible

    45:00 -- Jill sucks and Patsy is a patsy. Got it.

    45:50 -- headphones existed in the 20s?

    49:26 -- You're supposed to be a patsy, Patsy!

    49:37-- we are all black horse

    51:07 -- she was a mermaid this whole time? What a twist!

    51:30 -- well that took a turn

    53:00 -- so are you sure he's not contagious or?

    53:49 -- why is he sleeping on a fucking porch?

    54:44 -- G G G G G GHOST

    59:16 -- that's fucking stupid. Don't be a stupid.

    59:59 -- and everyone lived happily ever after, except the dog... who died
  • @Mars I actually think the film suffers from too much dialogue and over-complicated plot. The best silent film to me understands visual storytelling a lot more than this did to me. This in many ways feels like a film that would have worked far better in the sound era.

    watching Chaplin's The Kid and The Gold Rush this week reinforced that for me. Those films tell their story with a lot less on-screen text.
  • My thoughts, which jive with Kyle's, via Letterboxd

    The Pleasure Garden is Hitchcock Feature #1, and it's a rough little gem. While some scenes are really well done--from the early scene of the pickpockets swiping our protagonist's cash from her purse to a murder late in the film in the ocean, this film is at its best when it is planting the seeds for Hitchcock's future masterworks in the thriller genre.

    The story is a bit of a mess, overall, changing gears and genres so often where it goes from formally inventive to tiring, mostly because the text itself doesn't really seem to know where it wants to go. Ghosts, dancing, and love triangles and adultery all become parts of this continually complicated plot.

    However, there is a dog named Cuddles, so it isn't too bad, really.
  • I didn't see that murder scene coming at all considering the tone of the movie.

    I guess we can say the Hitchcock bodycount is at 2 so far.
  • If anyone wants a good quality version of this hit me up on pm. It's the exact same cut as the one on YouTube though.
  • It definitely did feel liking a film desperate for sound, but at the same time a lot of those scenes didn't need words, their intent was clear just by knowing the characters were talking and from reading their body language. As some interested in visual story telling, that wasn't something I'd ever given much consideration.

    The plot definitely too some weird turns. Half way through the film basically says to hell with Jill, and the dog who can smell drunk, cheating wife beaters was a bit on the nose. "Subtle" is not a word I'd used to describe the plot.
  • edited February 2016
    She's literally named Patsy. I think audiences were kinda dumb at the time.
  • Cuddles is also what a 5 year old names a dog.
  • It's pretty incredible that his 2nd film The Mountain Eagle is lost considering Hitchcock's stature.

    Like he was a legend by the late 50s wasn't he? It's amazing to me that nobody thought to save a print. I'm pretty sure if a print existed you could sell it for what... $50 million? It's basically priceless.
  • There's no wrestling tonight so I'm thinking I'm gonna skip ahead and watch The Lodger tonight. Super excited to see what an early Hitchcock thriller is like.
  • edited February 2016
    Lost film is such a fascinating thing to me. Last year they found a full length print of a Sherlock Holmes movie from 1916. It took 99 fucking years for that thing to resurface.

    It's sad and everything, but the fact that they're still making discoveries like that is downright incredible. Looking for that stuff and actually making discoveries like that has to be one of the most rewarding things I can think of.
  • edited February 2016
    I hear great things about The Lodger.

    And, about lost films, is that people are always waiting for them to turn up. So many films were locked in storage and people find them in their grandparents' attics.

    There are so many probably forever-lost films like the 9 hour cut of Greed or The Magnificent Ambersons director's cut.

    *edited for clarity. Woo boy.
  • @TJ Isn't really old film a huge fire hazard? You always hear about films being lost in a fire.

    I think it's because of the chemicals involved.
  • There are a multitude of early Doctor Who episodes that are totally lost because the BBC was shit at keeping records and tapes. I think some might have been damaged over the years but it's crazy that a show that popular and historically significant wasn't looked after. Maybe they didn't treat film and TV with the same reverence we do now but I don't think that's the case.
  • edited February 2016
    I think most tv is archived digitally now. I think a big problem in that era is the actual physical space that tapes took up. The BBC probably disposed of them more for the room than anything else.
  • Yeah obviously it's a lot easier to store and backup media now than it used to be, but it's still crazy that their solution was to just throw it away.
  • Yup. Which is why Tarantino used that plot line in Inglourious Basterds.

    It is also why we almost lost the great Indian Apu Trilogy
  • The put The Simpson's on film? Seems kind of late for that.

  • wait the 9 hour cut of Greed was found??
  • No. That was just stupidly worded lol
  • ugh teeeeeeeeeeeease
  • edited February 2016
    on The Magnificent Ambersons, it's just really ironic/telling that the filmmaker responsible for what is widely considered the greatest movie of all time spent the rest of his life fighting (and often losing) to get his subsequent films funded and released unalloyed by the studio(s). For however much Hollywood is broken and anti-artist now, it seems like it has always been that way
  • Absolutely. It takes subversive pop artists, like Alfred Hitchcock himself, to make good art in the Hollywood system.
  • On the silent movie I am ambivalent. Some of the esteemed titles are dull in the extreme, IMHO. There is many a good band that put a live-action soundtrack to a mediocre silent film in ATX tho, so they *can* be improved upon. And I REALLY like Popol Vuh's Nosferatu score.

    If you want a truly exceptional Hitchcock flick that has the restrained context that a silent movie possesses, but is much more accessible, then look no further than "Lifeboat." Almost all of the main action of the entire film occurs on (duh) a lifeboat. In the open ocean. THAT is a piece of work.

    Popol Vuh included for it's lovliness: (I like to start @ 5:40)

  • We'll get to Lifeboat for sure.
  • The score definitely matters.

    I know The General is on both Amazon and Netflix but the latter is far superior just because it's got a better score.
  • I'm already itching to get to the next one.
  • I'll get to this in a couple days (hopefully) but on the subject of silent film scores the one for Metropolis is one of the best i've ever heard
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