• film

UCLA Festival of Preservation

The Lost Moment w/Moods of the Sea

The Lost Moment

Martin Gabel, US, 1947, 35mm, 89 min. b/w.


It's ironic that the film version of The Aspern Papers by the 19th-century American author Henry James, revered for his naturalism, should be the zenith of Hollywood gothic.  In James' story—modeled after the tale of Edward Augustus Silsbee who attempted to pilfer letters written by Percy Shelley from Mary Shelley's aged stepsister—a nameless American scoundrel bent on a publishing coup tracks the centenarian Juliana Bordereau to a decaying Venetian palazzo.  In The Lost Moment, the scoundrel is an unscrupulous New York publisher (Robert Cummings), who plots to acquire Jeffrey Ashton's love letters to his withered muse (Agnes Moorehead) even if it requires wooing the tedious great-niece, Miss Tina (Susan Hayward).


James' themes remain even as the film hysterically reaches for metaphysical overtones. Miss Tina, starchy and lackluster by day, enters a fugue state by night.  In thrall to Ashton's letters which she pores over in secret, Miss Tina literally lets down her hair and becomes the luminous Juliana of 1814, throbbing with vitality and yearning for love.  Hal Mohr's sinuous travelling camera snakes through the crypt-like mansion hand in hand with Daniele Amfitheatrof's unearthly musical score.


Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by The Packard Humanities Institute


Preceded by:


Moods of the Sea

Slavko Vorkapich/John Hoffman, US, 1941, 35mm, 10 min. b/w


Subjectivity informs Slavko Vorkapich and John Hoffman’s Moods of the Sea, a lyrical documentary utilizing Felix Mendelssohn’s “Fingal’s Cave” as musical accompaniment.  Opening with a view from a cave onto the ocean, the film orchestrates images of a powerful natural environment: giant waves breaking on the shore, cliffs towering above the surf, a gull flying overhead, otters playing in the waves, clouds gathering, the sun setting on the horizon. True to Vorkapich’s interest in montage, the images from the constantly moving camera are cut precisely to the music, and each sequence reaches a rhythmic crescendo with the melody, emphasizing the subjective nature of the camera’s point of view.


Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive with funding provided by the National Film Preservation Foundation

The UCLA Festival of Preservation is Co-Presented by Louis Bluver.