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"The French Love This Film Because They Can't Understand It"

Another post in the "what I've been watching" category.

Last night it was Incubus (1965). A few of you have already seen this almost forgotten cult film, but if not, go check out the DVD Savant review of it here.

Hmm, I could say that you haven't lived until you've seen a film in Esperanto starring William Shatner but I don't know...I couldn't even convince Shades that it was worth 75 minutes of her time. No argument there since, let's just say that listening to Shatner talk Esparanto for an hour is an acquired taste!

Shatner, if you can stand him, is actually somewhat subdued (for him) and is obviously making an effort to extract a performance in this bizarre film. The cinematography is the real standout in this film, shot by Conrad Hall. Hall got his start with Leslie Stevens working on The Outer Limits. He went on to work in feature films, even winning an Oscar for American Beauty. The guy got some interesting and creepy looks from the low-budget shoot. Much of the dialogue seems disjointed and delivered with an odd tone. The thing works as a curiosity and if you can get your mind around an "allegorical" story shot somewhat like a Bergman film. The review summed it up best, but if you're curious, it's worth a look for I've never seen anything quite like it.

The DVD, sourced from the only print of the film known to exist, is a bit rough, but watchable. The bonuses include an interesting interview with some of the people (those not done in by the so-called Incubus Curse a Salon.com article), an audio commentary with the same guys, and a commentary with Shatner.

Shatner has some interesting things to say about the film, such as the fact that Gene Roddenberry considered doing Star Trek in Esparanto...my, that would have been interesting! Shatner also has things to say about the other actors and admits that no one really knew what they were saying when they spoke the lines. The commentary has some real gaps, so it would have been nice to have had it edited in with someone else or shortened. One amusing thing he says, after talking about the difficulty of languages and some Bushman tribe in Borneo that speaks in a "clicking" language, is this: "A bushman version of Incubus would be a very interesting picture to see...only if I could direct it!" He then laughs out loud. Indeed!

Comments

Ah, that Shades missed out. It's a creepy movie, worth the watch, IMO. Just see it late at night.