From Rembrandt to Kafka
(originally posted on IMDb 17 February 2005)
After transferring the chiaroscuro effects of Rembrandt's painting onto "The Cheat", director Cecil B. DeMille likens Kafka's writing in "The Whispering Chorus", with its disjointed, nightmarish, psychological drama. The lighting and tinting, as usual for DeMille's films, are superior. Also, as usual, the framing, staging and acting are theatrical. The mise-en-scène, tinting and editing in the dénouement were especially good. The narrative is what sets this film apart, though.
The depiction of the hall of echoes, or the whispering chorus--the stream of consciousness--as superimposed faces (none of which are of the protagonist) with conflicting advice seems silly today, like a naïve representation of dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder).…