1049. ECSTASY (1933-Czcdioslovakia). With HEDY LAMARR. Written and directed by GUSTAV MACHATY.
Lamarr (originally Hedwig Kiesler) was an obscure Austrian actress who achieved international notoriety by appearing in the nude in this once-forbidden film. She plays a young bride who quickly becomes bored by her middle-aged, unromantic husband, and looks elsewhere for fulfillment. (You know their marriage is in trouble from the start, when the husband, attempting to carry her across the threshold, can’t insert his key into the lock – one of many phallic symbols that run rampant through the movie). While she’s swimming au natural, her horse runs away, and, still unÂclothed, she chases him through (he woods. A handsome young man is obviously impressed by what he sees (who wouldn’t be?) and the two are soon involved in a passionate affair Ñ one that leads to a tragic, shattering conclusion. Containing little dialogue or plot, the film is an impressionistic, almost avant-garde study of the woman’s arousal to nature and sensuality. In one absolutely wild sequence, her growing desire is conveyed through a symbolic monÂtage, including wind billowing her curtains, bizarre shots of statues and paintings, jump-cuts that propel her to the young man’s cottage, and the inevitable heavy-breathing embrace. Despite its status as an erotic classic, Ecstasy seems relatively tame by today’s standards. But the upside-down close-ups of Lamarr’s beautiful face as she lies, in anticipaÂtion, on her lover’s bed are still erotic by any standards. There’s a great deaf of unique cinematic artistry throughout. An often quaint, but mysteriously haunting, tribute to the joys of sex! Dubbed into English, 68 minutes. Erotic Drama