Yesterday, Danny and I went to San Antonio to see “The Artist” at the Bijou. (New Braunfels theaters usually do not show artsy films.) Filmed entirely in black and white, it was sparsely subtitled until the last few minutes when there were voices and sounds of production. Even the “off-camera” scenes, where the players are “living,” were soundless, except for music. It was a clever, unique experience/experiment, but not likely to “catch on” and warrant future silents.
The four major roles are George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a swashbuckling silent film star, who refuses to believe in “talkies,” Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), a silent starlet turned talkie star, Valentin’s devoted chauffer Clifton played by (James Cromwell), and Valentin’s cute life-saving terrier, on and off the screen. John Goodman, who seems to have lost some weight, plays a cigar-smoking studio head, willing to follow the money in talking films. Penelope Ann Miller plays George’s long-suffering, bitter wife.
“The Artist” was primarily a “back lot” movie, just like the old days. Taking place in 1927-1932, the costumes and hairstyles were well-done. All in all, it was kind of cool, but not a place I want to revisit.
Rating: 3 of 5 stars.