It’s been a few weeks since I watched this one. My brain keeps constantly flicking back, trying to work out WTF it was all about. The undercurrent meaning, the symbolism, the poetic nuances and trying to decipher what the hell did he do? I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what could of lead him to The Trial! Definitely some clues in there, and some rather dark ones too I think?
I went in totally blind, had been recommended it, noted it was directed by Orson Welles, spied Anthony Perkins on the cover image and flashed a quick glance at the rating on IMDB, a very healthy 7.8/10 but apart from that I didn’t know what I was about to have my vision transfixed on for two hours.
Imagine an offspring made from a surreal real life love making session between, say, human forms of director Luis Buñuel’s film The Exterminating Angel and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. When this “film baby” is born, it is then looked after by his great uncle Franz Kafka who documents it’s growth into his notepad and compiles a story for Orson Welles to transform to the screen. Well maybe it might of happened like that!
There’s not a chance I could possibly write anything intelligent on the philosophy of this film, so feel free to look elsewhere for that deeper meaning. What you will find though is my absolute wonder and heartfelt love of this picture. To see everything, all the details within, you would have to sit and watch multiple times and if you could, either have the spirit of Orson sat next you, unraveling the scenes or I’m guessing there must be a hundred odd essays written about it with study notes and ideas to accompany the movie out there somewhere to be found!
To be honest there’s also no way I could even begin to write a rough outline of the plot but I’ll just say Josef K (Anthony Perkins) wakes to find men in his room. From then on he is entangled in some bizarre surreal world where he is on trial for a crime he has committed.
His trial journey leads him through a maze of extraordinary outlandish rooms whilst meeting different, eccentric people along the way. The wonderful Anthony Perkins portrayal, brings with it a curious sense of bewilderment and offbeat surreal presence to his performance as he tries to work out what the hell is going on! With him, you the viewer, feel his perplexed confused state of mind as he wanders from one bizarre room to another.
A few random Wolfie observations.
- The opening scene had my attention instantly, when he wakes to “policemen” walking in and out of his room. At once setting a Twilight Zone feel to it and grabbing me in, hook, line and sinker.
- The SETS! Man the sets, every single one of them radically different and unimaginably grandeur and filled with sheer wonder. The filming locations range from derelict relicts or giant spaces and are filmed throughout Croatia, Italy and France. The different settings are so incredibly obscure, made all the more original by the mysterious european structures used.
- The women, oh my gosh! Three drop dead gorgeous ladies. Marika Burstner (Jeanne Moreau) Leni (Romy Schneider) and Hilda (Elsa Martinelli) all ooze way too much sexy seducing charms as they meet Josef at different points on his travels.
- The eyes, the eyes looking, all the time. From judging eyes, to seducing eyes, to eyes looking on with a frantic innocence. Looking and observing is a big part of the film.
- Orson Welles dubbed loads of voices throughout the movie, even a few lines from Anthony Perkins. The result is it all adds just more surreal touches to the film.
- Franz Kafka wrote the novel the film is based on between the years 1914/15 and was unfortunately published after his death in 1925.
I never knew Orson Welles made something as crazy as this! Perkins, what a incredible performance. Damn man that film was bonkers. The overall look as you travel through the film is incredible. I’ve purposely left out images of tons of set designs so not to spoil your viewing pleasure. Where the film might not be for everyone, I full heartedly absolutely loved it. A true masterpiece.
I hope you enjoy it if you see it, have you seen it? What did you think? Let me know if you want. Keep discovering beautiful film and enjoy. Thanks for popping on by.
Be seeing you! Wolfie.
Check this amazing modern retro take on the poster by Swoboda on DeviantArt
5 thoughts on “The Trial (1962) Awesome Welles, Incredible Sets, Surreal Story, Perkins and Eyes!”
I saw this as a young teen and didn’t really get it. I watched it cause I knew it had Norman Bates! Maybe time for a rewatch.
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Unless you were out of your trolley on magic mushrooms or had smoked a ton of weed, I can only imagine that The Trial would of gone straight over many a teenagers head. But dare I say, now in our middle aged years watching I’m sure like me you’d enjoy it. Certainly visually bonkers on the eyes and Perkins is just, well perfect Perkins. 🙂
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The sets and the photography look marvellous.
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[…] The Trial (1962) – Wolfman Rating 10 – IMDB Rating 7.8 Oh my I loved this surreal trial from director Orson Welles and star Anthony Perkins, have a look what I thought on the Wolfie write up here. […]
[…] really define this short film. I’d put it in the same category as Orson Welles take on Franz Kafka’s The Trial and Patrick McGoohan’s superb series The Prisoner. It’s widely creative and inventive. […]