Movie Review: Arrival from the Darkness (Príchozí z temnot) (1921)
Arrival from the Darkness (1921)
Director: Jan Kolár
Cast: Theodor Pistek, Anny Ondra, Josef Sváb-Malostranský
Synopsis: A married woman is pursued by a man who is released from a spell which put him in a death-like trance for hundreds of years.
Wealthy landowner Bohdan Drazicky has a hard time of it in this obscure Czechoslovakian movie from Jan Kolár. Drazicky’s foxy wife, Dagmar (played by Anny Ondráková who, under the truncated name of Anny Ondra, would go on to star in Blackmail, Alfred Hitchcock’s first talkie) is desired by his covetous neighbour, the sinister Richard Bor, who loans Drazicky a book he hopes will divert the landowner’s attention away from the fact that he’s making a move on his missus.
The book discloses the secrets of the Black Tower, which is situated on Drazicky’s land and contains a secret passageway leading to a long-dead alchemist’s laboratory. In the lab, Drazicky finds the body of a long-dead ancestor together with helpful instructions on how to re-animate him. Unfortunately, after doing this, Drazicky now finds that he has in Jesek yet another rival for the affections of his wife, who just happens to be the spitting image of Alena, the woman Jesek loved hundreds of years before.
The fact that only some 40 minutes of Arrival from the Darkness survive today – it originally ran for approximately one hour – makes the film’s plot a little difficult to follow (particularly as Jesek’s re-animation scene is missing), and what remains will struggle to engage anyone but the most ardent of movie buffs. The acting is overwrought, and the plot is creaky to say the least, but it’s of interest as an historical curio.
(Reviewed 30th December 2016)