Monday, January 12, 2009

Lot in Sodom (1933)

Lot in Sodom is a short silent experimental film, based on the Biblical tale of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was directed by James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber. The movie uses experimental techniques, Avant-Garde imagery and strong allusions to sexuality, especially homosexuality. Opening on a very attractive model of the walled city & then cutting to expressionist sequences capturing the temple mysteries, consisting of homosexual dancers. In a length very overt invocation of a gay orgie, the camera lingers over naked male flesh & clinging bodies in ways that seem improbable for 1933, but this is before the Hayes Code banned homosexuality from the screen. Lot in Sodom (1933) came out in the sound age & we do hear Lot praying & there's a contemporary musical soundtrack. But in the main this is a silent film. When an angel (Lewis Whitbeck) visits Lot (Fredrich Haak) it's spooky as all hell. The coweled angel's unfriendly air doesn't keep a buff bare-chested Sodomite from trying to seduce him in the night near Lot's house. Lot intercedes, offering his daughter instead. Although the Sodomites aren't exactly positive role models, compared to Lot they're not all that bad. He's one scary rat-bastard who seems more upset that the men of Sodom are happy, & he's not, than he is concerned with godly behavior.

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