Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Maze (1953)

I'm not sure why I chose this particular movie to watch. I was pretty sure I'd seen it before, in 3D, as 'The Key' (though IMDB doesn't list that as one of its AKAs). It wasn't so great then and I had no reason to think it had improved with age... though my first viewing had been in a crowded midnight show of rowdy younguns... so there is a good chance I wasn't paying a lot of attention. All I really remembered of it was the climactic scene at the end, and that's gotta be the weakest moment of the entire show.
The Maze is fairly weak on story... a modern-day Scottish noble is engaged to be married when he gets called to the ancestral manse to tend to some unspoken emergency. His strong-willed fiancee becomes impatient for his return and packs up her aunt to go seek out an explanation... and finds even more mystery (just a little).
I've read loads of tales with similar plots... man returns to ancient family home to find some ancient curse/disease/ghost/skeleton in the family closet. The only aspect that sets The Maze apart from these others is how anti-climactic (and not horrifying) the secret is once revealed.
That might be part of why I watched it again... to see if I'd missed something.
The missing fiancee is so burdened by the secret that he (and seemingly the servants) are physically aged by the knowledge. The way he behaves you'd think he's guarding the gates of Hell...
The nature of the matter comes close to some of Lovecraft's tales... at least morphologically... but cuts itself short of the genetic heritage aspect that might have given the whole thing more weight. Instead the fiancee's histrionics and premature gray hair just reveal him to be a big drama queen in the face of what essentially amounts to inheriting the family dog.
I could go on about all the various silly bits of The Maze... including the questionable nature of the secret... but those points are all fish in a bucket.
What is worth mentioning is how this thing was originally shown in 3D and some of the gooftacular things they did to that purpose... such as having the opening scene of the engagement party include acrobats so that a girl can be thrown at the camera. Other horrors that are shoved at the viewer include a beach ball and a telegram!
There some shots that were oddly framed and I can only assume that 3D was the reason. The scenes with the narrator (Aunt Edith, who is really the most peculiar character in the film... I'd watch a sequel just to find out what's up her alley) often have her head sitting at the bottom of the screen. Why?

Anyway, The Maze is not a good movie... but it's entertaining if this is the sort of thing that entertains you like it does me.

No comments:

Post a Comment