Traveling ‘Underground’ Into Anthony Asquith’s Subterranean World of Passion …

After the abstract experimentation that marked the very early years of filmmaking had transitioned into an organised cinematic language with narrative sophistication and artistic substance (thanks to the pioneering work of directors such as Sergei Eisenstein), the peak of silent European feature production saw Britain lacking a strong and identifiable national aesthetic.

Whereas the German film industry, for example, forged ahead into the bold new world of international cinema with the wonderfully skewed and shadowy visual delights of Expressionism, British directors—often partly influenced by films from the Continent—offered solid and entertaining work that nevertheless existed on the fringes of the kind of collective cinematic identity that encompassed a specific range of stylistic signifiers, the kind within which various talented film directors flourished. (Look at Fritz Lang’s terrific early films, which represent the unique work of an auteur, but one nevertheless using the common grammar

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