Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chandra the Magician

The Tiger of Eschnapur (1959)
directed by Fritz Lang
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

Startling, among other reasons, for having been filmed in part at the Lake Palace in Udaipur, Fritz Lang's recently resuscitated Tiger also shares the same mythic grandeur and feel of Mario Bava's Hercules in the Haunted World, if not the same eeriness or Christopher Lee. But there are sets beneath India right out of The Beyond, fogged by the smoke of votive candles, lit in some supernatural blue; lepers as zombies, locked away, with dead soldiers at the door to guard the dying; a bare-breasted Shiva, tall as the cave, angered by the unfit suitor who hides, even now, behind her. Like too many films of the era, it relies on the novelty of a live tiger to instill fear instead of wonder, but a third act embrace - lovers reaching out for one another as a sandstorm covers their prone bodies - is romance right out of Godard.