Archive for Conrad Veidt

Goregirl’s 20 Favourite Horror Films of the 1920s: #10 – #1

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2013 by goregirl

For My Favourite Horror Films of the 1920s: #20 – #11 click here.

#10 THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE (1926)
Directed By: Henrik Galeen
Germany

The Student of Prague is a German-made film directed by Henrik Galeen and starring Conrad Veidt based on the novel by Hanns Heinz Ewers. This is the first of three films on my top ten featuring the fabulous Conrad Veidt. The Student of Prague reunites Conrad Veidt and Werner Krauss who starred alongside one another in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari in 1920. Conrad Veidt plays the titular student named Balduin who is a renowned party animal but is beginning to tire of his role. The partying is also draining Balduin of funds. He also begins to contemplate the notion of settling down and taking a wife. A mysterious stranger named Scapinelli played by Werner Krauss offers him a large loan which Balduin refuses. Before he parts ways with the stranger Balduin adds that if he really wanted to help, he would find him a rich woman to marry. Scapinelli begins working on the project immediately and we learn he has supernatural abilities. Scapinelli’s plan almost works as a young Countess meets Balduin but their introduction is cut short. Balduin can not stop thinking about the beautiful Countess. Meanwhile a flower vendor named Liduschka has a mad crush on Balduin which he does not reciprocate which does not prevent her from continually attempting to change his mind. Scapinelli calls upon Balduin once more with an even grander more tempting deal of a huge amount of gold in exchange for Balduin’s mirrored reflection. Balduin accepts this deal and furnishes himself a lovely new home and makes his move for the Countess. Needless to say, such an insidious deal does not come without drawbacks. Balduin’s own malcontent reflection threatens to destroy him completely and utterly. What a fantastic story! I loved every minute of this sorted fantastical tale. The Student of Prague is also a beautiful film visually. The camerawork seemed particularly competent among the films I watched from this era. The Student of Prague is lively paced and the story is utterly engaging. The mood and atmosphere in general is electric with mystery and suspense. The Student of Prague is superbly acted and while I certainly do have a significant crush on Mr. Veidt, his performance really is undeniably fantastic. The Student of Prague is a magnificently macabre and mysterious tale with fantastic visuals and great performances.

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#9 FAUST (1926)
Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Germany

Nosferatu was one of the first silent films I ever seen and I loved it so checking out director F. W. Murnau’s other work was a no brainer. Faust is a German-made film based on Goethe’s story. God and the Devil make a wager on Faust’s soul. The Devil will rule over all of humanity if he manages to corrupt Faust. During a terrible plague that has swept the town the devil appears to the frustrated Faust in the form of Mephisto, a pot-bellied middle-aged man. Faust makes a pact with the devil to help the dying people but this backfires and he is forced to seek the devil’s assistance once more. The Devil offers him youth which Faust readily accepts and as you might expect does not quite work out as he may have hoped. Frankly Faust was pretty easily tempted for a supposed good Christian but no matter as it makes for a helluva good watch! This film is yet another visual stunner. I am a little conflicted about the love conquers all message at the end but beyond that I have no complaints about this hypnotic, gorgeous well-acted masterpiece. Especially notable is Emil Jannings who plays Mephisto/The Devil; he plays the character with such panache that if Satan existed he would be proud. He perfectly embodies a mischievous little devil with his widow’s peak, goofy outfits and that naughty smirk. Such a fantastic character! The imagery of the Devil wrapping his massive black wings around an entire town is phenomenal; there are in fact numerous phenomenal scenes in Faust. The mood is eerie and intense with the right amount of lighter moments threaded through. The Score by Timothy Brock, performed by The Olympia Chamber Orchestra for the Kino DVD release of Faust is superb. Faust is a breath-taking, visual odyssey that is an absolute pleasure to behold. To read my full review click here.

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#8 THE PENALTY (1920)
Directed By: Wallace Worsley
U.S.A.

The Penalty is the first of three films featuring Lon Chaney to make this top ten list. It is official, I am a fan. The Penalty is an American-made film directed by Wallace Worsley adapted from the book by Gouverneur Morris who also wrote the screenplay for the film. Morris’s father was a statesman and founding father of the United States! IMDB lists The Penalty as crime, drama, horror and while I am not really seeing the horror I enjoyed this film so damn much that I am sneaking it in as a genre film anyway. The Penalty does an extraordinary job of creating special details for its central character Blizzard. Lon Chaney’s character Blizzard is an amputee. Every aspect of his environment has been created to accommodate his legless stature. Pegs used for climbing walls, door knobs lowered, ramps, ladders and a fireman’s pole are employed. Chaney goes to great lengths when he plays a character. In The Penalty he moves about with the natural ease of a man who has actually been without legs most of his life. Blizzard is “lord and master of the underworld” and he is a brutal sonofabitch who is not afraid to rough up the ladies or have someone snuffed out for the most insufficient of reasons. The Penalty focuses on Blizzard’s elaborate plans for revenge. Blizzard should not have been an amputee and he intends on making the doctor who performed the operation, his family and the entire city of San Francisco pay! Chaney’s Blizzard is deliciously rotten and nasty to the core. Anyone who appreciates a good crime drama and fantastic performances should check out Wallace Worsley’s The Penalty. “Fate chained me to evil – for that I must pay the penalty.” To read my full review click here.

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#7 THE HANDS OF ORLAC (1924)
Directed By: Robert Wiene
Germany

The Hands of Orlac is a German-made film directed by Robert Wiene who has two films in my top ten (the second is in the glory hole at #1) it also stars Conrad Veidt who makes three appearances in my top ten. The Hands of Orlac is based on a story by Maurice Renard. The Hands of Orlac is about a concert pianist who is in a terrible train accident where he is severely injured and loses the use of both of his hands. His wife Yvonne pleads with the surgeon to save her husband’s hands at any cost. The surgeon is unable to save the hands and opts to perform a transplant. The transplanted hands are those of a recently executed man named Vasseur which has lasting repercussions for the musician. Plagued by the notion that he has adapted the murderers affinity for killing he is tortured by their presence and begs the surgeon to remove them. The surgeon of course reassures Orlac that such a thing is impossible and actions are ruled by the heart and mind not the hands alone. Orlac’s inability to play the piano has caused the couples funds to quickly dwindle. Adding to his trauma is the murder of a loved one Orlac believes he may have committed and a blackmailing con artist. Orlac’s personal decent into hell is a joy to watch! Conrad Veidt is at the top of his game as Pianist Orlac! He is so deliciously animated and every move is perfect and haunting. As is the case with all the German silent films I watched for this feature the visuals are quite phenomenal; although expressionistic elements are a little more spare in this one than others from the period. The print I watched was not in the best condition unfortunately, but the elaborate visuals nonetheless shone through. I adored The Hands of Orlac and thought it was a tremendously fun and creepy little tale elevated hugely by a perfect performance from my man Conrad Veidt.

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#6 THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE (1921)
Directed By: Victor Sjöström
Sweden

The Phantom Carriage is a Swedish-made horror film directed by and starring Victor Sjöström based on the novel by Selma Lagerlöf. Director Victor Sjöström plays the central character David Holm an alcoholic bastard. Sitting around getting stinky with a couple of his buddies they speak about the legend of death’s carriage. Allegedly the last person to die in a year is tasked with being the driver of the carriage that picks souls up for the following year. A friend of the group Georges had died the previous year and just may be the carriage driver. Crazy legends! Meanwhile a woman’s dying wish is to see David the drunken lout before she passes on. The dying woman is a good-hearted volunteer for the Salvation Army. David is located and his presence requested but he refuses to go see the woman. A drunken fight breaks out and David is killed just before the stroke of Midnight. And wouldn’t you know it, the legend is true! Soon the carriage driver, who is indeed his friend Georges appears to pass on his duties. The film from here is basically a series of flashbacks of which we see the deterioration of David and his character. We learn of the breakdown of his marriage and how he came to know the salvation army volunteer. The imagery of the “phantom carriage” is genuinely chilling. The special effects in this film are amazing! Victor Sjöström does a hell of a job with the visuals in The Phantom Carriage; it is absolutely gorgeous. The color tint and remastered print I watched was practically without flaw. Mr. Sjöström also does a brilliant job in his central role as David. I hated David although when all is said and done he does find some redemption. Spell-binding, gorgeous and unique; The Phantom Carriage was a real stand out from the decade.

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#5 THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)
Directed By: Rupert Julian
U.S.A.

The Phantom of the Opera is an American-made film adapted from the novel by Gaston Leroux. The film was directed by Rupert Julian but IMDB also lists Lon Chaney, Ernst Laemmle and Edward Sedgwick as “uncredited”. The film features Lon Chaney in the title role. This is the second of three films to make my top ten featuring the immensely talented Lon Chaney. Chaney’s makeup takes the cake! Bloody Hell! Look at that magnificent makeup! I said LOOK dammit! Really look! It almost brings a tear to my eye it is so goddamn beautiful! As if the man’s immense acting talents were not enough he actually did his own makeup! What the hell?! It takes my breath away! It really does! Has there ever been or will there ever be anyone quite like Lon Chaney in the world of acting? He died so tragically young it breaks my heart that the world of cinema lost someone so great so early! An immensely talented actor who went to incredible lengths for his work which is clearly illustrated with the three films on this very list! I had not seen The Phantom of the Opera in years but always loved it and that gorgeously grotesque makeup has always stayed with me. Those unfamiliar with this story, it is about a phantom that haunts a Paris opera house. The film opens with the opera house celebrating a new season and we meet Christine; the understudy to the prima donna. A sudden resignation of management due to the opera house ghost is laughed off, but not for long. The prima donna Carlotta receives a letter from the phantom demanding that she allow her understudy Christine to replace her. She of course refuses but the next evening she falls ill and Christine sings in her place. The phantom becomes completely entranced with Christine and begins speaking to her and eventually mesmerizes her and allows her to enter his trippy dream-like world. She becomes free to come and go from his world as she pleases. There is just one rule, she must never see what he looks like beneath the mask he wears. I am not sure how anyone who loves and admires cinema in general, horror or otherwise could not appreciate this grand production. The sets and costumes are lavish, the camera work and direction is skillfully executed, the effects are fantastic, the performances are pitch perfect and the atmosphere is eerie. A beautiful breath-taking affair that deserves all the praise heaped upon it.

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#4 HAXAN (1922)
Directed By: Benjamin Christensen
Sweden

Häxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages is a Swedish-made documentary about witchcraft directed by Benjamin Christensen. Christensen shows how superstition and fevered religious beliefs poison the mind and cause human beings to act irrationally. Christensen spent two years pouring over countless manuals and other documents to learn as much as possible about witches. Häxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages consists of a series of images in the form of illustrations, models and re-enactments. He highlights the witch hunts, the confessions and torture devices used by the monks, female hysteria, and how shoplifting and sleepwalking might have been interpreted as devil possession or bewitching; among other topics. Häxan is, “A presentation from a cultural and historical point of view in 7 chapters of moving pictures.” Benjamin Christensen wrote the script and produced this film between the years 1919 and 1921 with help from Johan Ankerstjerne who did the photography and Richard Louw who handled the art direction. Häxan was heavily edited or outright banned in just about every country in the world. Häxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages is actually quite brutal at times and shocking even by today’s standards. At one point they bleed an unbaptized baby and throw it in a pot! The costumes, sets, props, art work, performances; everything about Häxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages is first-rate, not to mention incredibly informative. Häxan is without a doubt one of the most interesting and visceral documentary/docudramas I have ever seen. Whether you seen the full version or the truncated version narrated by William Burroughs you are getting a one of a kind treat. To read my full review click here.

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#3 THE UNKNOWN (1927)
Directed By: Tod Browning
U.S.A.

The Unknown is an American-made film directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney. Lon Chaney is the star of three films on my top ten! In The Penalty he had no legs and in The Unknown he has no arms. I was going to review those two films back to back but after reading my chum Jo’s review over at The Last Drive In I decided I should direct you there instead. In The Unknown Chaney plays knife thrower Alonzo the Armless. He is in love with the carnival owner’s daughter Nanon who also performs as his assistant. Alonzo however is not what he appears to be and is in fact a mastermind criminal with a deadly smirk. Man, you just gotta love Lon Chaney’s smirk! The talented Lon Chaney learned how to smoke and play the guitar with his freaking feet! You gotta respect that! Its appealing carnival premise and an outstanding performance from Chaney make this film well worth a visit. I would be amiss if I did not mention Joan Crawford in an early role as Nanon who is absolutely lovely and charming and is really perfect in the role. It is an intriguing story, lightening paced that made me wish it hadn’t ended so soon. A fantastic finale too I might add. I highly recommend you check out Jo’s awesome extensive review of The Unknown here. I also did a tumblr post of Alonzo and Nanon images here.

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#2 NOSFERATU (1922)
Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Germany

Nosferatu is another German-made expressionist masterpiece and F.W. Murnau’s second film to make the top ten. The film focuses on Thomas Hutter tasked to travel deep into the mountains to meet with a Count Orlok who intends to purchase a residence in Wisburg. Strange and disturbing things occur while Hutter is a guest at the Count’s home and he becomes unwell and has difficulty making the long journey back home. His motivation is his beautiful wife Ellen who awaits his arrival but whose lovely neck has unfortunately caught the eye of the mysterious Count. There is some impressively immense and breath-taking scenery along the route Hutter takes from Wisburg to Orlok’s castle. The vastness and seclusion of his surroundings as he heads towards his destination, created an effective foreboding to the scenes that follow. Orlok’s castle is this amazing, massive, tomb-like structure. An ancient relic and the perfect nest for a vampire. The chilling scenes that take place on the ship Count Orlok travels to Wiburg in are especially effective. Nosferatu is a beautiful haunting film and Max Schreck as Count Orlok is nothing short of inspired. His captivating performance is a pleasure to behold. The hunch in his lanky frame, his bat-like ears and long pointy fingers cast a most intimidating shadow. Nosferatu’s bad-ass vampire, impressive visuals and eerie atmosphere make it a classic of the first order. To read my full review click here.

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#1 THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920)
Directed By: Robert Wiene
Germany

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a German-made expressionist masterpiece directed by Robert Wiene; Mr. Wiene’s second film to make the top ten. It is one of the better known films from the genre and rightfully so; it deserves every bit of praise that is oust upon it. I absolutely loved this film. I watched it twice just for the joy of it and had to scroll through it three times to do screen caps for slideshows. I would love to see this on the big screen and I think Zenzile, whose music I have featured this month would be the perfect live accompaniment. Every single gorgeous hand-painted set is extremely elaborate and immensely impressive, every beautiful minute of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is perfect. It is genuinely creepy and features a top-notch cast including Lil Dagover (Jane), Werner Krauss (Dr. Caligari) and the great Conrad Veidt (Cesare the somnambulist). It tells the tale of a man named Francis who attends Dr. Caligari’s act at a carnival passing through town with his friend Alan. Dr. Caligari presents Cesare the somnambulist who has been asleep for his entire twenty-three years on earth. He awakes the somnambulist who is able to predict people’s future. He predicts Alan will die that very night and the prediction comes true. Francis and his fiancée Jane become entwined in Dr. Caligari’s eerie world. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is “A film in six acts written by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz.” The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is not only visual eye candy it is also well written and well-performed. It has a perfect eerie atmosphere and a creepy vibe with an intriguing premise that keeps you mesmerized. I adore this film, and like every film on this top ten it will get repeat viewings in the years to come. To read my full review click here.

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Fun with GIFs: The Hands of Orlac & Metropolis

Posted in Fun with GIFs, Germany, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2013 by goregirl

This will be my last Fun with Gifs for No Volume Needed November. I will have more silent film music this week and then next week I will have my top 20 favourite horror films from the 1920s.

Conrad Veidt as Orlac in Robert Wiene’s 1924 film THE HANDS OF ORLAC

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Brigitte Helm as Maria in Fritz Lang’s 1927 film METROPOLIS

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WAXWORKS (1924) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Germany, horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , on November 13, 2013 by goregirl

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Waxworks will round out my hattrick of German expressionistic silent horror films. My next review will be for an American made silent horror film. Waxworks is unique for being an early anthology. The film is comprised of three short films based on figures featured in a waxworks exhibit at a carnival. We get a glimpse of a character in a black hat when we first enter the waxworks exhibit. This character was originally the subject of a fourth story that Paul Leni eliminated. The film actually seemed in need of a fourth segment; it had the feeling of an unfinished work to me. Two of the segments are at the half hourish mark and the final piece is less than ten minutes! The final story was so ridiculously short it felt awkward. It is reassuring to know that even early anthologies had a weak link. I am not saying the perfect anthology doesn’t exist, I just have never seen it. Most anthologies have a film that just doesn’t cut it; or at least one you are less fond of than the others. The weak link for me was the first story based on Haroun-Al-Raschid; Caliph of Bagdad starring Emil Jannings as the Caliph. The tale is an adventure comedy type thing that just did not tickle me much; although I did chuckle a few times. It was unnecessarily long and the narrative began to feel redundant. The middle segment based on Ivan the Terrible “Czar of all the Russias” starred Conrad Veidt. The Czar’s story was my favourite by far. I do have a bit of a crush on Conrad Veidt and I won’t lie to you, it gained points for it. The man is extremely talented. The final spot featuring Spring-heeled Jack aka Jack the Ripper was interesting and trippy but as mentioned was far too short and the ending was very blunt. I liked the idea of the characters in the wraparound also having roles in the three main stories. A writer, his employer and the employer’s daughter, all three remain nameless throughout are featured in each story. In the wraparound a writer answers a want ad; “Wanted – An imaginative writer for publicity work in a waxworks exhibition.” The young writer is hired immediately and is watched over by the proprietors lovely daughter. The writer concocts three tales each of which feature a role for himself and his employers attractive offspring. Every single expressionistic German silent horror film I have watched the visuals are spectacular, the sets are gorgeous and the costumes are out of this world;Waxworks is certainly no exception. I will get into more detail for each story but I thought wax figures were a fun way to connect the three segments and as regular readers of this blog well know; I really do love my carnivals and circuses. Like Mr. Veidt, they do elevate a film in my mind. I was mad in love with the look of the first section despite not being mad about its story. What I enjoyed about the film I enjoyed excessively and it overcame the films lesser qualities. Waxworks as a whole package was definitely flawed but nonetheless very entertaining.

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Below is a photo gallery and details about each story in Waxworks trilogy. But before you read on, check out this awesome live music performance from Mike Patton, Scott Amendola, William Winant and Matthias Bossi from May 17, 2013. You can play it and than read my review and it will be like a live music performance of my review! Mike Patton’s work has been featured on this blog several times this year. Thanks to my friend David at My Kind of Story who introduced me to both Patton’s solo and collaborative work with Fantômas. I have posted several pieces of music from Fantômas; The Director’s Cut and a solo piece from Mike Patton’s soundtrack for Crank: High Voltage.

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Haroun-Al-Raschid “Caliph of Bagdad” played by Emil Jannings.

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Ivan the Terrible “Czar of all the Russias” played by Conrad Veidt.

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Spring-Heeled Jack aka Jack the Ripper played by Werner Krauss.

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The writer and his employer’s daughter; the characters are nameless but play a role in each segment. The writer has been hired to write “startling” tales about the above wax figures; Haroun-Al-Raschid, Ivan the Terrible and Jack the Ripper.

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SEGMENT ONE – Haroun-Al-Raschid “Caliph of Bagdad”

The writer concocts a story for the Caliph whose wax figure likeness is missing an arm…

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The Caliph blames smoke coming from the home of the local baker for his chess loss and orders his head on a platter.

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The Baker (who is played by the nameless writer) feels obligated to prove to his beautiful wife that he is a man worthy of her attentions.

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A very cool M. C. Escher-esque set. If you look carefully you can see the Baker using the stairs.

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The Baker’s wife with Haroun-Al-Raschid. “My pond-lily, have you a hiding place for a fat man?”

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A comedic adventure with a few chuckles and some really astounding visuals. Will the baker’s head be spared? Will the wife leave the baker for the Caliph? Will she find a hiding spot for a fat man? How did the Caliph lose his arm? All questions will be answered!

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SEGMENT TWO – Ivan the Terrible “Czar of all Russias”

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Ivan the Terrible plays with his favourite toy; an hour-glass. Ivan is a nasty son of a bitch who rules with a bloodied iron fist and among his tortures enjoys poisoning folks. To his great amusement he uses the hour-glass to mark his dying victims last moments.

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A nobleman arrives at the Kremlin to remind the Czar of his promise to attend his daughter’s wedding.

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The happy couple and their guests.

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Ivan the Terrible arrives.

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He steals away the frightened bride.

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It does not end the way Ivan the Terrible would like. A rewarding finale, beautiful imagery, a compelling tale and a great performance from Conrad Veidt made this segment bar none my favourite.

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SEGMENT THREE – Spring-Heeled Jack aka Jack the Ripper

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Spring-Heeled Jack appears everywhere! Multiple versions of himself…stalking…slashing.

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In pursuit of our writer and his lady-love.

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Will they escape? This segment was a psychedelic trip of superb imagery but irritatingly short. I would have liked to have seen more!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Leo Birinsky & Paul Leni

Starring: Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, William Dieterle, Olga Belajeff, John Gottowt

Fun with GIFs: WAXWORKS (1924)

Posted in Fun with GIFs, Germany, horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by goregirl

Gifs for two carnival scenes from Leo Birinsky and Paul Leni’s 1924 film Waxworks (1924). You KNOW I am a sucker for a carnival! Tomorrow…my review for Waxworks!

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THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (1920) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Germany, horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by goregirl

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According to Wikipedia Expressionism is: A modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express meaning or emotional experience rather than physical reality. Expressionism was developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. It remained popular during the Weimar Republic, particularly in Berlin. The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including expressionist architecture, painting, literature, theatre, dance, film and music.

According to Guggenheim Museum (online) Expressionism is: Primarily Germany, and Austria, first decade of 20th century. The very elastic concept of Expressionism refers to art that emphasizes the extreme expressive properties of pictorial form in order to explore subjective emotions and inner psychological truths.

According to Goregirl Expressionism is: A mostly German thing as far as I know. Used in some very freaking cool German silent movies the bestest and shiningest example of which is Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The sets all look artificial and everything is severely angled and exaggerated in size. Every single gorgeous hand-painted set is extremely elaborate and immensely impressive. I dreamt of walking through a Dr. Caligari forest to a Dr. Caligari carnival every night for the past several nights. I’ve dreamt of being chased by letters of the alphabet and being kidnapped by a handsome somnambulist who wears a lot of eyeliner. I can not expressionism myself more clearly when I tell you anyone who loves and appreciates art and all things wonderful, strange and unique must absolutely positively visit Robert Wiene’s amazing The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Viva la Expressionsim!

Writers Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer started the ball rolling with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s concept. The two were excited by this still very new medium called filmmaking. An endeavor that would bring together artists of all kinds; painters, actors, writers and photographers. The two men admired the work of Paul Wegener (The Student of Prague, Der Golem) and decided to begin work on a horror tale. The men drew on their experiences as all good writers should. Janowitz and Mayer regularly visited a local fair and were inspired by the sideshows; a key part of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s plot. The film’s visuals were put in the very capable hands of designer Hermann Warm and painters Walter Reimann and Walter Röhrig. Fritz Lang was the first director approached but was committed to another project. Robert Wiene (whose film The Hands of Orloc is the next film in my queue to watch) was brought in to direct and the rest is history. I watched both a black and white and color tinted version of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari but I went with the pics from the color tinted version. I thought the images were sharper in the black and white version but I am a little bit in love with color tint at the moment so I decided to go with that print.

“The following print of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (with the original color tinting and toning) was reconstructed by the Bundesarchiv – Filmarchiv of Germany.”

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A small German village called Holstenwall is the setting for our strange tale. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is “A film in six acts written by Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz.” The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is not only visual eye candy it is also well written and well-performed. It has a perfect eerie atmosphere and a creepy vibe with an intriguing premise that keeps you mesmerized. The performances are all excellent but the iconic role of Cesare the Somnambulist played by the immensely talented Conrad Veidt is particularly memorable.

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Francis relays a story to a companion after a dazed woman walks by. The dazed woman is Jane; Francis’ fiancée. “What she and I have lived through is stranger still than what you have lived through.”

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This is Francis’ best friend Alan. Alan and himself both have their eye on Jane. The two decide to visit a carnival travelling through town. “Special edition fair in Holstenwall for the first time! Entertainments of every variety.”

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“Step Rrrrright Up! Presenting here for the first time Cesare the Somnambulist! The miraculous Cesare twenty-three years old, he has slept for twenty-three years continuously; day and night. Cesare the Somnambulist will answer all your questions. Cesare knows every secret. Cesare knows the past and sees the future. Judge for yourselves. Don’t hold back! Ask Away!”

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Alan cannot resist asking Cesare how long he shall live. Cesare tells Alan that he will die at dawn.

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Alan and Francis pause to read a post on the wall “Murder in Holstenwall 1000 Mark reward.”

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The somnambulist’s prophecy comes true and Alan is murdered at dawn.

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Francis goes to the police. “I won’t rest until I get to the bottom of these dreadful deeds!”

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Francis tells Jane of Alan’s death.

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“Extra! Extra! Holstenwall mystery solved; two-time murderer caught in third attempt.

“I had nothing to do with the two murders, so help me god.”

Indeed this gentleman has been wrongly accused.

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Jane meets Dr. Caligari and Cesare. Dr. Caligari orders the sleeping Cesare to murder nosy Jane but her beauty prevents Cesare from ending her life. Cesare attempts to kidnap her but gets exhausted from the chase.

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Back in the safety of her home she tells Francis it was Cesare who tried to abduct her. “It couldn’t be Cesare! He was asleep at the time. I’ve watched him for hours.”

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Dr. Caligari.

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Francis goes to the Insane Asylum and asks the staff if they have a patient called Caligari. They recommend that Francis speak to the director personally.

“He, himself and none other than Caligari!”

“While the director now placed under observation is sleeping in his villa…” They take the opportunity to snoop through the director/Dr. Caligari’s office and discover a book on somnambulists as well as the doctor’s diary.

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“Director, unmask yourself, you are Dr. Caligari!”

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The film ends with a great twist although it was not the ending that writers Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer originally wrote for the film. Apparently the producers wanted a less grim ending and suggested the ending that was actually used; which I will not divulge for those who may not have seen it. I have seen close to thirty silent horror films at this point in my life and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is absolutely one of the best and most unique amoung them. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari deserves heaps of praise; it is a hypnotic, creepy and visually spectacular masterpiece.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Robert Wiene

Starring: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolf Lettinger