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Give it up for Fritz Lang!


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#1 of 29 Ben Motley

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Posted February 12 2002 - 03:57 PM

Let's have a hand for the man!

I've been enjoying his films on dvd, what few there are, and would love to have as near an original representation as possible of Metropolis on dvd. I've never seen the film in any form except for a few clips here and there, in rock videos and such, and stills in film mags. I'm also currently reading a recent biography on Lang, called The Nature of the Beast.


I just watched Image's "Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler (a.k.a., Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler)" this past weekend. It looked great, and the commentary was very informative. Dr. Mabuse deals with a mastermind criminal who fatefully comes up against the unrelenting determination of the authorities. My only gripe with the dvd is that Shepard and company decided to add digital effects, superimposing english text graphics over text inherrent objects (i.e., documents and letters). There are fortunately only a few instances, and as a whole, the film is not compromised. I do wish they had left the original scenes intact, and used subtitles to translate these objects rather than covering the images; but then, there may also have been trouble with the original scenes source elements. I have no idea. That is a rather nitpicky observance, I know, and it in no way keeps me from heartily endorsing this disc. Any Fritz Lang fan needs to have this dvd - Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler - in their collection. The film is a classic, and the dvd looks great.

A few weeks back, I watched "Destiny", also from Image. This is an earlier film (earlier than Mabuse) that deals with a woman bargaining with Death after he takes her newleywedded husband. There are some wonderful effects here, really astonishing considering the date of the film and the fact that special effects was in it's infancy. While not as precisely linear as Mabuse, the story is an intriguing scenario. Death offers a deal that if the woman can save just one of his next three victims, he'll return her husband to earthly existence; which brings about my one real issue with the film. That is that the film becomes anthological at this point. The woman goes to various locales, as Death's beat is obviously global. At first, the idea seems ideal, to be able to show many different scenarios in one film, but for me, it also seems to break up the film too much. It's like a collection of unfinished shorts. This of course is just my first impression, and look forward to watching it again to see how it holds up to multiple viewings. As I said, I love the premise, and maybe repeat viewings will reveal some things I may have missed. Not alltogether an unlikely event for a Fritz Lang film. I would suggest Destiny to the hardcore Fritz Lang fan, or any fan of classic horror/supernatural film.

"M". What can I say about M that hasn't already been said numerous times? Fritz Lang's first "talkie", regarded widely as the first true suspense thriller and certainly the first serial killer film, exibits a phenomenal performance by Peter Lorre and ingenius camerawork and lighting. It has been quite some time since I viewed this Lang masterpiece, but as I remember, the Criterion transfer may have been a little soft (Which could have very well been caused by the print; I have no idea.), and there were no extras as I recall. Someone correct me on that, but I seem to remember it that way. I guess this at least gives me a reason to revisit the dvd Posted Image. As for the movie, I can't recommend it highly enough. As little Lang as is out on dvd (comparativly to his career's output), this is clearly the cream of the crop. I have not seen the Rykodisk dvd, which pairs M with Lang's "Spies", and so can't compare that disc to Criterion's. In any event, M belongs in the collection of any fan or student of Fritz Lang's, whether it be the Criterion dvd or, granted a quality transfer, the Rykodisk dvd.


Now, BRING ON METROPOLIS!!!

#2 of 29 Dave B Ferris

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Posted February 12 2002 - 04:22 PM

A classic film directed by Lang near the end of his career was recently released by Columbia: 'The Big Heat'.

Also of note: an excellent documentary about Lang, released by Image ... 'Fritz Lang, Circle of Destiny'.

#3 of 29 Ben Motley

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Posted February 12 2002 - 04:34 PM

Dave, I am interested in Lang's '50s noir, but I've been checking out the silent horror classics, which is what led me to Lang in the first place, and I just haven't made it to his later stuff yet as I like to see a progression of work chronologically. But I'll definitely get to them.

As for the documentary, I'll certainly have to get that soon. I had no idea there was one, thanks!

#4 of 29 Tim RH

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Posted February 12 2002 - 05:09 PM

You should have been here in Victoria in the past few weeks!
====
From WWW.VIFVF.COM:

The Influences - Fritz Lang
January 16 & 30, February 7 & 8 at 7:30 pm
University of Victoria & Maritime Museum
See Ticket Info Below

The VIFVF, together with the University of Victoria, Division of Continuing Studies and the Humanities Centre, has organized a series of lectures on the social influences on filmmakers and their artistic impact on society.

For the initial series guest lecturers explore the effects that '20s and '30s politics, arts, culture and society had on Fritz Lang's work. The five-session course can only be booked through UVIC Continuing Studies (call 472-4747) and begins January 16. Cost for this course is $80.25 (includes GST and reception).

The Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival will select a different filmmaker each year to be the focus of this new annual series, The Influences. If you miss out this year be sure to look for it in the Spring 2003 Continuing Studies Calendar.

Tickets can be bought at the door for the Tom Gunning lecture The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Visions and Modernity and the screening of "M" at the Maritime Museum.

The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Visions and Modernity
Tom Gunning, University of Chicago
February 7, 7:30 - 9 PM
Fine Arts Room 103, University of Victoria,
Ticket Price: $15

In "M", Fritz Lang's 1931 German film, the serial killer appeared as a figure of urban terror. Although Lang's portrait of the killer and Peter Lorre's extraordinary performance brought psychological complexity to the character, Lang's primary approach was to focus on the way a modern big city reacts to a lurking and seemingly unstoppable threat. Lang's film is not only a masterpiece of the early use of sound and the technique of the thriller, it also displays a still contemporary insight into the way the threat of terror affects daily life.

"M"
Fritz Lang
Friday, February 8 at 7:00 PM
Courtroom, Maritime Museum, Bastion Square
$8



Ride the golden elevator (the oldest working elevator in North America) to the courtroom in the Maritime Museum to enjoy this classic film. Please note that there will be an introduction and discussion with Fritz Lang expert Tom Gunning as part of this evening.

Fritz Lang's "M" has been called many things: 'frightfully good', 'the predecessor to all serial killer thrillers like Psycho and The Silence Of The Lambs', 'one of the defining movies of European pre-WWII cinema' and much more. 'M' premiered May 11th 1931 in the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin to the standing ovations of an enthusiastic audience.

This riveting 1931 German drama by Fritz Lang--an early talkie--unfolds against a breathtakingly expressionistic backdrop of shadows and clutter, an atmosphere of predestination that seems to be closing in on Lorre's terrified villain. Peter Lorre's portrayal of a serial killer is one of the defining performances of movie history. Not only did it set the benchmark for his own career (something which he may have regretted for years to follow) it also defined the role of 'serial psycho killer' itself.

"M" is an important piece of cinema's past along with a number of Lang's early German works, including "Metropolis" and "Spies". (Lang eventually brought his influence directly to the American cinema in such films as "Fury", "They Clash by Night" and "The Big Heat".) "M" shouldn't be missed. - Tom Keogh

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

METROPOLIS was also screened at a local art house theater with live electronic music performed by the enigmatic "friedegghead". It was a pretty surreal experience, but I mean that in a good way. Posted Image

#5 of 29 Brook K

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Posted February 12 2002 - 05:15 PM

You also might want to check out another early Lang film I recently saw, Spiders. It's something of an Indiana Jonesish adventure film, treasure hunting, international intrigue, etc. Not really my cup of tea, but you may have a better reaction. I think the DVD is from Kino.
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#6 of 29 Ben Motley

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Posted February 12 2002 - 05:36 PM

Brook, I've seen Spiders up at Virgin, and have been tempted more than once. I know I'll get around to it soon. Posted Image

Tim, I do envy you. That must have been great to go to!

#7 of 29 Hendrik

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Posted February 13 2002 - 03:58 AM

...more Fritz Lang from fantoma...

http://www.fantoma.c..._fritzlang.html

. . . Posted Image . . .

#8 of 29 Jay E

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Posted February 13 2002 - 04:11 AM

And don't forget The Blue Gardenia which is out on DVD by Image.

I just read "The Nature of the Beast" myself and I've been watching all my Fritz Lang films again.

#9 of 29 Mark Zimmer

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Posted February 13 2002 - 07:47 AM

And of course the DVDs of The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb---though made at the end of Lang's career, he originally wrote them for the silent screen in the 1920s (in fact, Joe May's version of The Indian Tomb from Lang's script is also available on DVD and makes for an interesting comparison as well).

#10 of 29 Jason Seaver

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Posted February 14 2002 - 02:07 AM

Also worth noting, the Harvard Film Archive here in Cambridge just began a series of Lang films, starting a week and a half ago with Destiny and continuing into May. Most of the are new, restored prints with live piano accompaniment, which is sort of a mixed blessing - the intertitles are in German, so there's a simultaneous translation read over a loudspeaker. It's tough to hear over the piano if you're sitting too close to the front.
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#11 of 29 Jason Whyte

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Posted February 15 2002 - 06:15 PM

Tim,

Thanks for your coverage on "M" through the Victoria festival. I was VERY busy covering the films; no doubt you've read that on the thread (to all: please click on the link in my sig and read up on it).

Quote:
METROPOLIS was also screened at a local art house theater with live electronic music performed by the enigmatic "friedegghead". It was a pretty surreal experience, but I mean that in a good way.

Ah, you gotta love the Cinecenta for putting together things like these. It's sad I'm so busy with work during the weeks that I didn't get to see the show. Nevertheless, god bless UVIC, the Student Union and Michael Hoppe Posted Image

Lunch offer is still open Tim, by the way. Posted Image

Jason

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#12 of 29 Mark Walker

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Posted February 19 2002 - 05:51 PM

Thanks to everyone who has posted reviews
and comments in this thread. Only Ben's
post makes me sad, as Dr Mabuse is
a spendy dvd! Posted Image


Seriously though, I just picked up and viewed
The Tiger of Eschnapur and
The Indian Tomb.

Well, I am VERY happy I picked up both
titles at the same time, because they really
are just one film.

What I can I say about these films?
Yes, as stated in the DVD inserts, the
stuffed tiger and the cobra are pretty cheesy,
but they are more than made up for in the splendor
of the gorgeous cinematography in these
existenialist versions of Indiana Jones.

Quite happy to have these DVDs in my collection!

I just ordered
The Blue Gardenia
The Big Heat
and Destiny.

Since Film Noir is my favorite genre, I
exspect to be thrilled with The Blue Gardenia.

And, yes, Ben: It looks like I will have to
save my pennies to get the original Dr Mabuse.

Something to tell newbies would be that there is
more than one Fritz Lang film that has "Mabuse" as
part of the title. There are
Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler ,
Testament des Dr. Mabuse, Das and
Tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse, Die .

BTW: where are the other Fritz Lang films on DVD?
Where is Rancho Notorious?
Fritz Lang and Marlene Detrich...together...now
this I have to have!


Mark

Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#13 of 29 Mark Walker

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Posted March 02 2002 - 06:42 PM

Ben-

I just finished watching
Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler,
and I do think it is worth the price!

A very nice two-disc set with a very
engaging audio commentary by a man who
clearly knows way too much about Dr Mabuse! Posted Image

It was interesting to hear that Lang was not
a fan a camera trickery like Dutch angles and
moving cameras, preferring fixed cameras with
moving ones only used "like spices:" a bit to add
flavor, more is too much.

Unfortunately, I tend to like those things, being
a fan of noir that uses such devices, but I still
found The Blue Gardenia to be good
piece of noir...Interesting that Lang continues to
put social issues in his films without offering solutions
or get preachy...probably why I am a fan of his now.

Thanks again for starting this thread, Ben. Only
my wallet is angry with you; the rest of me is quite
happy.

Posted Image

Mark

Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#14 of 29 Roderick Gauci

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Posted March 06 2002 - 01:47 AM

Lang is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential film-makers ever. His films, however, have not fared well on DVD:

1) THE SPIDERS is available only in a badly-damaged version run at 24 frames-per-second, with no special features;

2) DESTINY was released with a cropped picture and an utter lack of extras;

3) DR. MABUSE, THE GAMBLER, though released as an excellent 2-Disc set from Image Entertainment with a couple of David Kalat commentaries to-die-for is, unfortunately, incomplete;

4) THE NIEBELUNGEN SAGA (comprising SIEGFRIED and KRIMHELD’S REVENGE) should be released later this year by Kino on Video, along with the 1928 SPIES, but no info regarding supplements (if any) has ‘leaked’ out;

5) METROPOLIS is a much-maligned film, and not just by the DVD format (see this link: http://www.dvdtalk.c...metropolis.html) – somebody ought to do this visionary landmark justice on DVD, presto;

6) M, Lang’s greatest, was among the first DVDs released by the Criterion Collection, which is not necessarily a good thing, because not only the print is imperfect and hardly complete (only 111 mins. as opposed to the film’s original 118 min. running time!), but there is no trace of supplements apart from an essay for this all-important masterpiece;

7) THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE - available only in the heavily-edited 75 min. English-language version, THE CRIMES OF DR. MABUSE, as a supplement on All Day Entertainment’s disc of the film’s 1962 remake;

8) HANGMEN ALSO DIE was also released bare-bones and incomplete (by Kino on Video), allegedly from a damaged print;

9) SCARLET STREET, unavailable as yet on R1 DVD, is to be released shortly on Region 2 by Eureka Video with a full-length audio commentary (on a single disc, as well as a 2-Disc set paired with another film starring Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles’ THE STRANGER!);

10) THE BLUE GARDENIA, perhaps not among Lang’s greatest, making the bare-bones DVD that less enticing;

11) THE BIG HEAT, another major disappointment, a criminally slim DVD of one of the highlights of film noir;

12) THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR and THE INDIAN TOMB – miserly extras again though, admittedly not among Lang’s most successful efforts (even if the theme had obsessed the director since he was shunned from helming the disappointingly sluggish 3½ hour 1921 version, THE INDIAN TOMB!)

13) THE 1,000 EYES OF DR. MABUSE - Lang's fascinating final film, released on DVD by All Day Entertainment with another invaluable commentary from David Kalat.

Lang classics that are still unreleased on DVD include WOMAN IN THE MOON (1929), FURY (1936, first and arguably the best of Lang’s American films), YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE (1937), WESTERN UNION (1941), MAN HUNT (1941), MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944), THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944), CLOAK AND DAGGER (1946) and RANCHO NOTORIOUS (1952). These film’s absence from the DVD format is at once shameful, ridiculous and inexplicable!

#15 of 29 Mark Walker

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Posted January 14 2003 - 11:47 AM

I just got Scarlet Street in region 1
by a company that is on par with Madacy for the quality
of their transfers: Alpha video.

(Apparently, Scarlet Streetis a public domain title. ???)

Anyway, is there any chance will get a better version on
DVD in region 1?

Mark

Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#16 of 29 PaulaJ

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Posted January 14 2003 - 04:26 PM

>5) METROPOLIS is a much-maligned film, and not just by the DVD format (see this link: http://www.dvdtalk.c...metropolis.html) – somebody ought to do this visionary landmark justice on DVD, presto;


I don't know how you all missed this:

Kino is releasing its restored version of Metropolis on Region 1 DVD on February 18. I've seen this restoration in the theater and it's MAGNIFICENT. The DVD is going to have all sorts of extra goodies. Check it out at:

http://www.kino.com/video/index.html
PaulaJ

#17 of 29 Mark Walker

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Posted January 14 2003 - 05:04 PM

PaulaJ-

Look at the date of all the original posts, and you'll
see that the bulk of this thread,
just two posts ago,
went into a "coma" back in March of 2002.

Good news has been heard since. Posted Image


Mark

Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#18 of 29 Brook K

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Posted January 14 2003 - 05:36 PM

Just watched Destiny tonight. I liked it, but Murnau seems to have a better touch on this sort of fantasy/romance that was popular in German films. And I would agree that none of the 3 storylines seemed to be particularly well-developed.
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#19 of 29 Barb Jarvis

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Posted January 14 2003 - 07:20 PM

Ryodiskc released a so-so DVD of Spies and M. And the R2 French Metropolis DVD of the Filmmuseum Munich restoration, not only has a beautiful embosed silvery cover of the Robotrix, but Fritz Lang Home Movies as well!

#20 of 29 oscar_merkx

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Posted January 14 2003 - 08:23 PM

wow great to see this thread resurrected and this should be a the start of buying several Lang dvds

cheers

Oscar
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