The Forgotten: Erik Charell's "The Congress Dances" (1931) and "Caravan" (1934)

  • MUBI
Erik Charell. His credits include script contributions to the Hope-Crosby comedy Road to Morocco and the Tony Martin musical Casbah. To learn this after seeing his only two features as director, The Congress Dances (1931) and Caravan (1934), is like discovering there was a guy called Orson Welles who made Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons and spent the rest of his career writing gags for Abbott & Costello.Perhaps Charell wasn't an artist of quite Welles' status. But he'd made a big name for himself in operetta, and both his films are in this mode, though the operetta-film is the genre that time forgot. As out-of-vogue as musicals are, despite anything Damien Chazelle can prove to the contrary, they are the height of fashion compared to actual filmed operettas.The Congress Dances is set in Vienna as pre-wwi world leaders meet and get distracted by romance, except Conrad Veidt as master diplomat
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