'A Tense Moment in Palais de Danse (Maurice Elvey, 1928)

Shingler, Martin (2016) 'A Tense Moment in Palais de Danse (Maurice Elvey, 1928). In: Silent Features. University of Exeter Press, Exeter, UK. ISBN 9780859892896

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Abstract

In this essay, I analyse in detail the performances of Mabel Poulton, John Longden and Hilda Moore (particularly the latter two) in a scene that occurs about 48 minutes in Palais de Danse (1928), revealing how a set of oppositions between male and female, youth and age, working and upper class are articulated across a series of shots in which the character of Lady King (Hilda Moore) realises that she has been deceived by a man she thought was a European nobleman but turns out to be the No. 1 taxi dancer at the London dancehall. This renders her previous treatment on a young female dancer, No. 16 (Mabel Poulton), hypocritical but it also exposes her, as a respectable married woman (to a high court judge, no less!) to blackmail. The sequence of shots analysed here features No. 16 (Poulton) watching through the doorway of the adjacent room to an intimate scene between No. 1 (Longden) and Lady King (Moore) in which the man's true identity is revealed and he shifts from shame to threat, as he blackmails the older gentlewoman. I concentrate mainly on the use of eyes and hands here, as revealed through close-ups and close-shots, although the positioning of the heads and use of the actors' necks are also note-worthy. One of the main things drawn out here is the use of tension in the actor's eyes, hands and upper bodies. In addition to the detailed analysis of acting here, I contextualise this sequence by drawing mainly upon Christine Geldhill's discuss of this film and Maurice Elvey's work in her book on British cinema in the 1920s, Reframing British Cinema, 1918-28 (BFI, 2003).

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Media > Cinema and Film
Media > Film
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Depositing User: Martin Shingler
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2017 14:05
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2017 14:05
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/7327

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