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I made it through this by dredging up a bit of my college German (the dialogue boxes are in German) and managing to get about a fourth of it and extrapolating the rest. This is more of a film about the evils of ambition than a science fiction film. Once the alien (devil) has had his way with Robert Herne, it now is about him. Herne is given immense power in the form of machine that can produce electricity for the world. Instead of seeing the potential for making things better for humanity, the former lowly coal miner becomes a boss, using his riches for outrageous purposes. He throws away all the relationships he has and pretty much turns his son into a monster. He doesn't seem to get much enjoyment out of the rich, who hang on his every word, but he can't let go. There is a little bit of Von Stroheim's "Greed" here, though that is quite another story. It does go on to tell a morality tale of the life on the farm versus the evils of usurping businesses, the bucolic winning out. But is it really about socialism being the answer? I really believe that this is more about personal evil. If there is anything unfair, it is a basic view of humanity. Here it is simplistic and outrageous. Is there no middle ground here. Apparently, there is no merchant class. People revel in Bacchanalian orgies when given the chance. Anyway, this is a groundbreaking movie whose intentions laid the foundation for future German expressionism, even if it failed at times.
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