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A Cottage on Dartmoor 1929
Description: Flashback storyline of an escape from the lonely, high-security Dartmoor Prison. A jealous barber's assistant is enraged by the attentions that his manicurist girlfriend pays to a customer. He threatens the customer with an launch razor and lands in jail.
Released: 11 Apr 1930 Director: Anthony Asquith Writers: Herbert Price (from the story by), Anthony Asquith (scenario) Actors: Hans Adalbert Schlettow, Uno Henning, Norah Baring Genres: Crime, Drama
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A Cottage on Dartmoor Reviews:

COTTAGE ON DARTMOOR: an expressionistic and claustrophobic acc of sexual obsession and jealousy, very Hitchockian in the method it deals with the resulting crescendo of suspense, especially in connection with a key throat-cutting in a barber's chair incident. Asquith was a director who grew stodgy as his career entered into the sound era, viz his terribly British adaptions of Rattigan, but the show movie (1929) is rather an eye opener. One standout stage is set within a cinema, partly a comment on the imminent and creatively burdensome coming of clunky sound, and which includes an extended eye opening test of editing, cutting about within an audience as the beady-eyed man mate watches his victims - a bravura sequence which ought to be much better known to cineastes.


A Cottage on Dartmoor is a late British silent of stunning clarity and poetic justice. The test of the camera to caress the homey accents in Norah's boarding house, the test of mirrors to dramatize the lives and thoughts of the characters, the elongated camera angles of the escaped convict jumping from captivity to freedom, and running from his past into redemption. All of this and more create this late silent itself almost a valentine to the end of the silent era and the dawn of sound.One of the most poignant scenes in the film demonstrates this by taking us to a "talkie" that nonetheless has a full orchestra that the camera hones in on and romanticizes.While this is a tale of obsession, it is also a storyline of love that has many emotionally tense elements that Norah Baring and Uno Henning handle with dignity and grace. I'm very surprised that I've not heard more about either of these actors.A Cottage on Dartmoor is a very beautifully realized movie that probably wouldn't have been as effective had it been made as a sound movie.


Sally lives in a cottage on Dartmoor when, on a dark and quiet night, a boy breaks into her home having just escaped the high-security prison across the moors. That boy is none another than Joe, a former barber's assistant at the zone where Sally used to be a manicurist. As they connect eyes, the audience flashback to the times where Joe and Sally once worked together and he had tried to woo her at the beginning of a series of happenings that actually brought them to this place.The BBC's summer of British movies this year turned out to be better than I expected it to be because, instead of wheeling out Zulu, Dam Busters and all the usual British films, they now screened lots of movies that I had not seen or, in some cases, heard of. Of course this meant that some of them were not any nice but at least it was an attempt to new up the concept of what British cinema is. A Cottage on Dartmoor is a nice example of this as it is rare for silent movies to be screened on tv and far more rare for them to be British silent films. I had never seen this and I enjoyed it a nice deal.Narrative-wise the movie opens with an element of fear and tension before jumping back to more of a comedy and romance. As this builds back to where it started again for a nice finish. The movie is maybe 15 mins too long for the material to sustain but otherwise it is well delivered. The funny bits are amusing, the tense bits tense and the romance nicely melodramatic and tragic, however it is the delivery that makes the movie – specifically that of Asquith and his cinematographer. Visually the movie matches the tone of the movie really well – opening and closing with sharp shadows on the moors, and enjoying a bright and carefree air early in the barbershop scenes. The photos are sharp and really well formed with plenty of intelligent shots. Mirrors are used well, conversations represented by stock footage, flashbacks delivered within flashbacks and a nice stage where we watch a cinema audience reacting to a movie they are watching. Visually and technically it is very impressive and I enjoyed it a nice deal.Deserves to be screened a lot more than it is and be seen by more folks than it is, but credit to the BBC for showing it recently.



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