This brings us to Clive’s duel with Theo in Berlin, 1902, where an unreal attention to the artifices of honourable action is a sublimation of the real, the visceral, and potentially the homoerotic. The excessive observance of detail before and during the duel marks both the period and the officer class as one fatally disassociated from reality and fixated on form. This very addiction to high ceremony in a situation promising butchery undermines the full-bloodedness which the duel is meant to prove. Despite the assurance of heterosexuality in the ruse concocted by the Embassy that the duel is an affair of the heart (the men will seem to be fighting over Edith), this scene, like so many others of robust male conflict, is flushed with a blush of sado-masochistic homoeroticism which worries away at its presentation of heroic valour.
Writing about the spectacle of masculinity in screen, Steve Neale suggests that ‘the anxious “aspects” of the look at the male are both embodied and allayed not just by playing out the sadism inherent in voyeurism through scenes of violence and combat, but also by drawing upon the structures and processes of fetishistic looking by stopping the narrative in order to recognize the pleasure of display, but displacing it from the male body as such and locating it more generally in the overall components of a highly ritualized scene.’ With its attention to formality and symmetry, these are just the displacements we see in the duel sequence. Glimpses of naked flesh — seen when the Swedish attaché Colonel Borg asks Clive to undo his shirt — and the cutting away of Clive’s sleeve to free his movement, hint at the real damage about to be done to the body. With the arrival of Clive’s hitherto unseen combatant, the curious and handsome Theo, a sense of mutual recognition between the men is shown in a conventional shot/reverse shot of close-ups. Soon to be ‘blood- brothers’, they mirror each other, and are spliced together. All that separates them is nationality. As this quasi-balletic bout of fastidiously staged male bonding is about to commence, however, the camera audaciously retreats. It does not simply pan back, but famously cranes overhead, up and out of the massive gymnasium, dissolving through the roof, into the snowstorm, and then descending again to meet Edith’s waiting carriage in the street outside. The thrill of the kill is denied to us.
Powell & Pressburger: A Cinema of Magic Spaces (Andrew Moor)
Infelizmente aqui Livesey está em desvantagem, quando vi o Blimp pela primeira vez e me deparei com Walbrook na cena do duelo seguindo pelo hospital e aquele gaze na cabeça, pensei seriamente que estava diante da mais bela criatura a ter andado neste planeta.
E esse quase foi um caso de trio, já que o namoradinho da Johnny que se atarraca com o Clive no banho turco seria interpretado inicialmente pelo James Mason (assim como o Clive seria o Olivier). Só deus sabe o quanto amo o Livesey, não há nem como cogitar hoje um Clive Candy do Olivier, mas no caso do Sei Onde Fica o Paraíso me condenaria à uma vida de miséria e câncer para que a escolha inicial tivesse sido mantida: James Mason como Torquil MacNeil.