The anonymous five-minute film In Youth, Beside the Lonely was made approximately in 1925, possibly in 1924. It has in the past been incorrectly dated as early as 1910. Instead of the usual silent film dialogue cards, it has an ongoing poetic narration text, beginning with "In youth beside the lonely sea/ Voices & visions came to me."
It's filmed as a triptyche, hence as wide as cinemascope, akin to Abel Gance's Napoleon (1927). It would originally have had to have been exhibited with three projectors simultaneously. It has additionally special FX created in-camera.
A youth beside the sea is beckoned by transluscent ghost-maidens or neriads amidst the waves. The haunted young man watches these women with a look of aching desire. He then walks into a sylvan wood where ghostly nymphs dance for him.
Later "amid the city din" these ghostly maidens of forest & sea are yet following him, dancing with delight, unseen by any others.
Time passes & we see our hero now an old man, lonely & drunk, lamenting the loss of those visions from his youth. Unexpectedly weird apparitions come to him, informing him that when all capacity for illusion has gone from him, all that will remain is darkness.
What a pity no one knows who made this tragic philosophic gem.
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