Escape Episode

1944 - 1946

Dir. Kenneth Anger, 35mm Color Sound 00:27:00

Page Contents


Of Anger's very early films there are no descriptions in print. Lewis Jacobs, in his contribution to EXPERIMENTS IN THE FILM, is our sole source of information about ESCAPE EPISODE:

Less concerned with cinematic form and more with human conflict are the pictures of Kenneth Anger. ESCAPE EPISODE (1946) begins with a boy and a girl parting at the edge of the sea. As the girl walks away she is watched by a woman from a plaster castle. The castle turns out to be a spiritualists' temple, the woman a medium and girl's aunt. Both dominate and twist the girl's life until she is in despair. Finally in a gesture of defiance the girl invites the boy to the castle to sleep with her. The aunt informed by spirits becomes enraged and threatens diving retribution. The girl is frustrated, becomes bitter and resolves to escape.

The quality of the film is unique and shows an extreme sensitivity to personal relationships. But because the thoughts, feelings and ideas of the film-maker are superior to his command of the medium, the effect is often fumbling and incomplete, with parts superior to the whole.

Anger's notes on his films are often the best guide to their mysteries; in every case they are interesting. in FILM CULTURE 31, he provided the following filmography of his work before FIREWORKS:


35 min. 16 mm. B&W. Silent. Filmed in Santa Monica and Hollywood. Credits: Conceived, Directed, Photographed and Edited by Kenneth Anger. Cast: Marilyn Granas (The girl); Bob Jones (The boy); Nora Watson (The Guardian). Synopsis: Free refering of the Andromeda myth. A crumbling, stucco-gothic sea-side monstrosity, serving as a Spiritualist Church. Imprisoned within, a girl at the mercy of a religions fanatic "dragon" awaits her deliverance by a beach-boy Perseus. Ultimately it is her own defiance which snaps the chain.

[Source: Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000]