The Triumph of the Rat

In this ironically titled sequel to The Rat (1925), underworld jewel thief The Rat (Ivor Novello) has attained the heights of Parisian society. He is bored, however, and is goaded into a bet by his former lover that he cannot make a woman fall in love with him within a month. Cue the delicately lovely Nina Vanna, and the plot is set for The Rat to lose his heart, and ultimately even his position with the human dregs of the White Coffin nightclub, where he has formerly reigned supreme. The downward trajectory of the story might surprise some people-have the British adopted the Russian ending? The central theme of the story is about a man's divided soul, and the postwar subtext is ever present. Yet there are lighter moments. Graham Cutts was able to stage some spectacular set pieces, as well as exploit a fluid camera technique and beautiful locations.

Written by Cutts, Reginald Fogwell, based on characters from the original play The Rat by Ivor Novello, Constance Collier. Photographed by Hal Young. With Ivor Novello, Isabel Jeans, Nina Vanna, Marie Ault. (99 mins @ 20 fps, Silent, B&W, 35mm, Courtesy bfi)

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