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Fritz Lang films on dvd, 1921-1931

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Fritz Lang films on dvd, 1921-1931

Old 02-12-02, 10:59 PM
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Fritz Lang films on dvd, 1921-1931

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 . 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!!!

Last edited by Mutley Hyde; 02-12-02 at 11:07 PM.
Old 02-13-02, 09:58 AM
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I'm wondering why you picked the range of 1921-1931 specifically... I assume you were just focusing on his first German period -- before coming to the U.S.

If so, you need to move that first date back to 1919, which is when he first started directing. His 1919 adventure story The Spiders is available on DVD from Image and is a lot of fun. Definitely shows his immaturity as a filmmaker at the time, but it is really a blast in an Indiana Jones sort of way...


Also, the Spies/M DVD is definitely worth getting for Spies (which is great), but the transfer on M is significantly worse than the Criterion.
Old 02-13-02, 10:17 AM
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I don't know if it's on DVD but Fury is an interesting movie from Lang's Hollywood period.
Old 02-13-02, 04:05 PM
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Not really any input to give, but I thought this may be an interesting little tidbit. Supposedly, Fritz Lang's Destiny was Alfred Hitchcock's favorite movie.

Regarding the DVD, was anybody else completely and totally turned off by Image trying to make the title cards "fit the setting." The colors and text just made them hard to read and took away from an otherwise wonderful film. The DVD still looks good though.

Dan
Old 02-13-02, 06:39 PM
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There was a thread back in July on the subject of Metropolis :http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...ght=metropolis

That thread has several interesting links in it. Rumor has it that the producers of the recent reconstruction want a seven figure amount for the dvd rights.

Last edited by NavinJohnson; 02-14-02 at 11:17 PM.
Old 02-14-02, 05:52 PM
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I don't want to thread crap here, but this is sort of related.

The good news: Fritz Lang's "Scarlet Street" is being released on DVD!!!!

The bad news: Amazon has it listed for under $8.00. I don't know who's putting it out, but at $8.00 we probably can't expect too much.

Also, how is "1000 Eyes Of Dr. Mabuse"...the film and the DVD?

jim
Old 02-14-02, 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by Gamblor187
Also, how is "1000 Eyes Of Dr. Mabuse"...the film and the DVD?
Awesome and awesome, respectively. I really enjoy that movie and it never ceases to amaze me that the DVD is as good as it is. A must buy for Lang fans.

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