Watson & Weber Characteristics


Watson and Webber worked closely with the poet e.e. cummings on The Fall of the House of Usher and on an unfinished piece entiltled The Dinner Party. The fact that Watson and Webber worked closely with a poet is not surprising because their two most well-known films, The Fall of the House of Usher and Lot in Sodom, are literary extensions. cummings was a painter as well as a poet. This made the teamwork between the three very successful because they were all able to see the art through the other's main medium. Watson and Webber were filmmakers, but the inspirations for their films came from literary means. e.e. cummings was known for his poetry, but he was also gifted in the visual arts. In fact, cummings described his poetry as "poem pictures". Interestingly, despite the literary influence on their films, the films really do not follow a narrative.

Watson and Webber believed strongly in the separation between art and politics. They combined aspects of expressionism, surrealism, futurism and cubism into their work. It is often said that Watson and Webber's films are remarkably similar to the films of Robert Wiene. Watson and Webber were apparently influenced by the European avant-guarde.

Watson and Webber experimented with sound films a great deal. In It Never Happened Watson and Webber used sound film conventions only to turn around and make fun of these very conventions. This is irony typical of Watson and Webber's work as they were known for stating that they chose to make a film about Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher because they "had not seen it in a while and would be free of its influence".

Watson and Webber did not like their work to be referred to as modernist. They would rather that people refer to their work as amateur. In fact, Watson often spoke out against modernism. Watson wanted things to return to more classical standards. Watson also declared that his friend, e.e. cummings, should not be classified as a modernist.

Another characteristic of Watson and Webber's work is their dealings with homosexual erotica. They explore male homosexuality in Lot in Sodom. Gay male desire is explored and experimented with in the film. This has made Watson and Webber remain highly regarded in the gay community.

--Tara Travisano, 2003


Watson & Weber