But in its broader strokes, Metropolis draws on deep roots Biblical, Jungian, Wagnerian, fairy-tale to explore themes that continue to concern us: the dehumanising effects of industrialisation; the fetishisation of technology; the divide between the rich and poor, the rulers and the labourers, the "head" and the "hands". Politically, the film has been read across the spectrum, from social-democratic to pro-fascist.
Lang's wife and co-writer Thea von Harbou did, indeed, join the Nazi party later on. Whatever its meanings, Metropolis is above all an overwhelming visual experience. The scope of the film is staggering: from the Babel-like skyscraper city to its subterranean ghettos, via laboratories, cathedrals, factories, pleasure gardens.
Lang was already the most modern film-maker of the era; to his knack for imagery and editing he added state-of-the-art special effects, here, which still hold up pretty well it's all done with mirrors. He also had access to a more old-school special effect: personnel. Both armies of set-builders and vast crowds of extras mostly poor Berliners , the latter of whom he conducts in great swathes across the screen as he orchestrates the story's mass uprising. Under his dictatorial command, nobody had an easy time. The shoot lasted almost a year and his lead actress, Brigitte Helm, was almost destroyed by Lang's perfectionism.
But the result was a paradigm shift in the capabilities of cinema — a monumental spectacle that's rarely been surpassed. Steve Rose. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari is unusual in that, for such a singular and one might say auteurist film, it did little for its director, the relatively unsung Robert Wiene. And yet this film is perhaps the very first art movie, since it is impossible to discuss it without mentioning its extraordinary set design, which perfectly complements its tale of murder and madness, as well as the deliberate abstractions in the storytelling.
Nothing in this world is "real", and the odd geometry of its angles, plus the deliberately stylised, almost kabuki-like performances, give this the ambience of a true nightmare. Based on the 11th-century myth of a "mountebank monk" who exerted a strange influence over a man in his keep — known here as the Somnambulist, aka Cesare Conrad Veidt — Wiene's film finds two men encountering Caligari Werner Krauss at a fairground.
Epic Sound : Music in Postwar Hollywood Biblical Films - hiqukycona.tk
When one of the men is killed, the other begins to investigate, realising that Caligari is using the seemingly comatose Cesare to commit a series of murders. However, in the first of a series of twists, it is revealed that Caligari is the director of a local asylum, a tip-off that this is a story not of but in the mind. Interestingly, Caligari is often credited as a horror movie, and it is significant that it pioneered many tropes of the genre that would hold over into the sound era.
But it is Hermann Warm's sets that have endured, creating light traps of shade that not only paved the way for the dark postwar heyday of film noir but also planted seeds of macabre surrealism that carry on today, notably in the chiaroscuro works of David Lynch, still the undeposed master of the unsettling and the bizarre. The Wind is one of the four or five movies that best demonstrate the richness and variety, and the purity and clarity of expression that silent cinema had achieved by the time it was fatally and forever subsumed, like a lost Atlantis, beneath a deluge of sound and speech.
Victor Sjostrom Seastrom in Hollywood , as an actor and director, was preeminent in Sweden, enough so that Ingmar Bergman, an admirer, later made a movie about the filming of Sjostrom's classic The Phantom Carriage, and cast him as the lead in his Wild Strawberries in The last of his Hollywood masterpieces after He Who Gets Slapped and a still-definitive adaptation of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter , The Wind nominally stars Lilian Gish and Swedish import Lars Hanson, but the real stars are the seven aircraft propellors Seastrom dragged out to the Mojave desert to lend his maddening titular onslaught more realism.
It worked. After a while you almost feel the skin peeling from your face under its vicious assault - it will unbury a corpse, given time. Gish arrives on the hostile, blasted prairie to visit her beloved step-brother, but her sister-in-law's wild jealousy drives her to marry a boorish homesteader Larson. Trapped without money or means of flight at his isolated, rickety cabin, the wind - literalised as a bucking white ghost-stallion straight from Fuselian nightmare - slowly drives her out of her mind. Character, environment, elements and emotion become one, wild and untamable, relentless and intractable.
The Wind remains surprisingly harrowing 85 years later, as harsh and elemental in its way as Greed had been three years earlier.
John Patterson. Hitchcock's most successful silent movie, as he himself acknowledged to Francois Truffaut, was the first that could plausibly be called Hitchcockian. This variation on the hunt for Jack the Ripper features themes and motifs that would recur throughout Hitchcock's career: the suspected killer who may be innocent see Suspicion and The Wrong Man, just for starters ; the heroine who loves him but who may yet become his next victim; the phantasmagoric nocturnal London that will reappear in Sabotage and Frenzy; the bravura set-piece sequences and a thirst for technical innovation here it's a glass ceiling through which we see from below the neurotic lodger relentlessly pacing his room ; the first Hitchcock cameo appearance two, in fact , and the familiar haze of sexual obsession that would overhang his career like another kind of fog.
Ivor Novello - the epicene, ivory-skinned idol of the 20s who is easily the most beautiful object in the film, takes a room with a family whose flaxen-haired daughter Daisy is being courted by a detective hunting the Avenger, a serial murderer of blondes. The lodger keeps odd hours, acts very secretively, and his first request is that all the portraits of blondes lining the walls of his garret be removed immediately.
Daisy and he become enamoured of one another exactly as her parents' paranoia and suspicion reach fever pitch, while the detective's jealousy clouds his vision, and everything culminates in a mad pursuit of the lodger by an angry drunken crowd bent on rough justice. One might even argue that Lang's big city sex-crime melodrama M is indebted to The Lodger's baleful and pessimistic vision. Sunrise seems to take place in our dreams.
It's a macabre love-and-murder story that takes place in an almost-real landscape, somewhere between reality and our collective imagination. There's still nothing quite like it. The characters are nameless archetypes, and it revolves around an archetypal opposition: the country versus the city. The former innocent, stable and virtuous; the latter exciting, seductive and dangerous. Predictably for the era, they are personified by two opposing women: wholesome, angelic Janet Gaynor The Wife and vampy, bob-haired, cigarette-smoking Margaret Livingston The Woman from the City.
He's seduced by Livingston's swivelling hips and urban fantasies. But what about the wife?
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- EPIC SOUND: Music in Postwar Hollywood Biblical Films.
Orson Welles would later describe Hollywood as "the biggest electric train set any boy ever had. Far from capturing genuine village or city life, the whole film is a construct. Both locations are vast, expensive sets. And Murnau literally constructed a mile-long train track between them, so as to achieve one of the great tracking shots of cinema. He was renowned for his innovations: shooting from oblique angles, superimposing images on top of each other, mounting the camera on an overhead track to swoop over the moonlit marshes another set, of course. You never sense he's doing it for its own sake.
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