I went to enjoy Asquith’s silent “Cottage on Dartmoor” with wonderful live piano accompaniment at the NFT yesterday. Seniors’ film matinée. It was worth waiting standing for the doors to open. They did only 5 mins before the screening and there was a mad rush for seats as they were not allocated. Why this special treatment?
I made a note that in one scene taking place in a boarding house, the old landlady, three old women and a dozy old man were sympathetically filmed. They all left the parlour to leave the young couple on their own. I thought it was trivial to mention this as it might reveal my prejudice that old women on film are always unpleasant. I thought it was a trivial observation until I read Geoff Brown quoted in the notes: ” …horrendous boarding house where they sit stifled amongst the potted plants and gossiping old maids.” Why oh why are old women always ‘gossiping”, why are they always old maids and why do film commentators so readily project on the screen their own prejudices?
A funny touch was the old woman with a huge ear-trumpet at the ‘talkie’ who needed a running commentary of the dialogue.