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Film / Rose Hobart

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Look, it's Rose Hobart!

Rose Hobart is a 1936 short film (19 minutes) by Joseph Cornell.

Well, it's sort of by Joseph Cornell. Cornell, an artist, had acquired a print of a 1931 B-Movie called East of Borneo, a cheesy jungle adventure flick starring actress Rose Hobart. Cornell, who was a fan of Hobart, started messing with the print, editing it down until it was a 19-minute film consisting almost entirely of shots of Hobart. He further altered the film by slowing it down to silent film speed (16 FPS as opposed to the talking speed of 24 FPS), and running the whole thing through a blue filter to achieve the blue tint typical of silent movie night scenes. Slowing the film down required losing the soundtrack, so Cornell dubbed in a soundtrack of peppy Brazilian samba music.

He also edited in some footage of a solar eclipse, for some reason.


The result is a Le Film Artistique that, to the extent it is about anything, seems to be a portrait of female desire.

Salvador Dalí is reported to have gotten violently angry at a screening of the film because Cornell had put some aspects of surrealist cinema into practice before he could. Which is approval of a sort.


  • Fanvid: The first one ever, as Cornell took a print of the movie with an actress that he liked and edited and altered it until it was something completely different.
  • Jump Cut: Many throughout the movie, as Cornell's editing often has Rose Hobart bouncing about the jungle set in a startling manner.
  • Kuleshov Effect: Right at the end of the film there's a shot of the sun emerging from a total eclipse, followed by the slo-mo scene of an object splashing in the pond outside the jungle mansion. The effect suggests the sun falling out of the sky and down to Earth.
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  • Overcrank: This effect is produced by taking a film shot at talkie speed and running it at silent film speed. The movements become dreamlike and surrealistic. Some shots, like the shots of an object splashing in the water, are slowed down even more than that.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Hobart's character wears two different such outfits over the course of the movie, making her look out of place in the Borneo jungle.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Why is there footage of a total eclipse of the sun interpolated into scenes from East of Borneo? Well, why not? It may be meant to symbolize the sexual desire of Hobart's character.