W. S. Van Dyke

F.: Abe Scholtz. In.: Wanda Hawley, Tom Santschi, Gareth Hughes, Anne Cornwall, Bert Woodruff, Monte Wax, Violet Palmer, Mary Louise Jones, Dorothy Llewellyn, Nell Barry Taylor. 35mm. L.: 2000m. D.: 90’ a 20 f/s

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In 1927, W.S. Van Dyke had a contract with MGM in which he was to make a series of historical westerns with photography by Clyde de Vinna and with Tim MacCoy as the leading actor. It is therefore permissible to wonder why he made two films for H.C. Weaver Productions, distributed by Pathé, during that same year. In any case, Eyes of the Totem adds nothing to his fame. It was a decidedly modest production, with a script that was not in agreement with his temperament. The final accounts had to be settled before the vigor we were used to seeing in him would come out. The story is rather bizarre and not very plausible. The Indian totem that decorates the crossroads of a small town gives a slightly surrealist air. The description of the beggars union is not lacking in Brechtian accents (it is not subject to moral reserve), and it shows a fair ability for providing temporary adornment.

Jean-Marie Buchet

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