You know, I'm thinking this isn't a big budget production:


Meet Flamarion!



Great indeed: it's Erich von Stronheim. He's a vaudeville sharpshooter whose act consist of shooting at people and not hitting them, or hitting things they are holding or wearing. Every night he plugs away at the same couple, and one of them is the nor-fave and delightfully oily Dan Duryea:

Alas for everyone, Duryea's wife is a scheming witch who wants to dump drunk Dan and move up in the world, so she makes a play for Flamarian - even though he has a solid immobile face that makes Buster Keaton look like Jerry Lewis. She's bad to the bone:


It's your classic older-man-betwiched-by-young-temptress story, and the audience never buys her love for a second. We all know he's being played. We can't figure out why he can't figure it out. Edward G. Robinson was more convincing in these roles, because he seemed gasy-headed and deluded; von Stronheim seems too smart, too wise in the ways of the world. But he's fascinating to watch, if you're in the mood for flat unexpressive tightly-wound Teutonic archetypes. Does he wise up in the end?

What do you think?