“It’s as sweet a movie as they come.” — Chris Edwards, Silent Volume

The creation of a little-known but audacious and one-of-a-kind filmmaker, Lonesome could only have sprung from the mind of Paul Fejos (also an explorer, anthropologist, and doctor!). While under contract at Universal, Fejos pulled out all the stops for this lovely, largely silent NYC symphony set in antic Coney Island during the Fourth of July weekend, employing color tinting, superimposition effects, experimental editing, and a roving camera (plus three dialogue scenes, added to satisfy the new craze for talkies). Fejos’ love affair with kineticism equals the onscreen romance between Barbara Kent and Glenn Tryon, who play a telephone operator and a factory worker desperate to meet once more, after a chance encounter on Coney Island’s very crowded beach. The height of film artistry, and a literally glowing example of how far directors could push their visual form.
Dir. Pál Fejös, 1928, 35mm, 69 min. (Archival print courtesy of the George Eastman House)

Watch the Criterion Collection’s “Three Reasons” video on “Lonesome”!