Kümel's first feature is not much like his subsequent Daughters of Darkness or Malpertuis, although all three films centre on questions of sexual identity, and all three are bravura exercises in style. Monsieur Hawarden is an artily restrained melodrama about a Viennese lady around the turn of the century who kills one of her lovers and then retreats into hiding in masculine drag. It is hubristically dedicated to Sternberg, but in fact closely resembles Bergman's The Face in both its black-and-white chiaroscuro photography and its plotting. Relentlessly beautiful and sensitive, it clearly gave Kümel the chance to work a lot of 'art cinema' ideas out of his system before launching into his more commercial (and more imaginative) horror/fantasy films.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Jan Blokker, Harry Kümel|
Dora van der Groen