A Modern Hero

  • 1934
  • 1 HR 10 MIN
  • NR
  • Drama

The only film made in the US by the brilliant Austrian Pabst was a disappointment to its creator, to his admirers, and to the public. Critics of the time laid the blame on the unfamiliar language Pabst was forced to accommodate--thus the need for dialog director Collins--but Pabst was accustomed to polylingual filming; his L'ATLANTIDE (1932) was simultaneously...read more

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The only film made in the US by the brilliant Austrian Pabst was a disappointment to its creator, to his admirers, and to the public. Critics of the time laid the blame on the unfamiliar language Pabst was forced to accommodate--thus the need for dialog director Collins--but Pabst was

accustomed to polylingual filming; his L'ATLANTIDE (1932) was simultaneously shot in three languages, including English. The story deals with the rise and fall of the ruthless, ambitious Barthelmess, who, starting as a trick bicycle rider in a circus, engineers his way to wealth and power in the

industrial US during the 1920s. His methods are those espoused by the many writers of the Horatio Alger novels that were popular at the time--not honesty and prudence, but the method the Alger heroes actually used: getting chummy with the daughter of the boss. Through womanizing, Barthelmess

becomes a tycoon, sitting atop the world. Sadly, that world crumbles as the Great Depression strikes. Wiped out financially, Barthelmess is deserted by his last female conquest. Long thought to be an uncompromising social reformer, Pabst left an anomalous message with this film, which seems to say

simply: don't get caught in a Great Depression. Following this foray to the New World, Pabst returned to France, then made his blitzkrieg run for Hitler's Germany, the onetime apparent socialist making National Socialist movies for the duration of WW II.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The only film made in the US by the brilliant Austrian Pabst was a disappointment to its creator, to his admirers, and to the public. Critics of the time laid the blame on the unfamiliar language Pabst was forced to accommodate--thus the need for dialog di… (more)

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