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Power (1920) More at IMDbPro »Algol - Tragödie der Macht (original title)


Overview

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Release Date:
7 November 1921 (Finland) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
An alien from the planet Algol gives a man a device that gives him superpowers. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Ancient sci-fi See more (3 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Emil Jannings ... Robert Herne
John Gottowt ... Algol

Hans Adalbert Schlettow ... Peter Hell
Hanna Ralph ... Maria Obal
Erna Morena ... Yella Ward
Ernst Hofmann ... Reginald Herne
Gertrude Welcker ... Leonore Nissen
Käthe Haack ... Magda Herne
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sebastian Droste ... Ein Tänzer

Directed by
Hans Werckmeister 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Hans Brennert 
Friedel Köhne 

Cinematography by
Axel Graatkjær 
Hermann Kircheldorff 
 
Art Direction by
Walter Reimann 
Paul Scheerbart 
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Algol - Tragödie der Macht" - Germany (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
Germany:99 min (18 fps) (2011 restored version)
Country:
Color:
Black and White (tinted and toned) | Black and White
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

FAQ

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Ancient sci-fi, 14 September 2008
Author: the_mysteriousx

ALGOL is a sci-fi morality tale from the Germans following WWI. It is much closer in style to CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI than to the impending works of Lang and Murnau. ALGOL has some interesting Expressionist tendencies, all aimed at the tragic life of the main character, Robert Werne, played by Emil Jannings.

The most interesting part of the film is its science fiction core. An alien from a far away star is beamed to earth and meets Robert Werne. It is very much in vein of the "selling your soul to the devil" films that were popular at this time - in fact the star, Algol, is called a 'devil star'. The alien promises Werne an energy source that can take him far beyond his drudging work of shoveling coal. From this incredible secret, Werne becomes the most powerful man in the world - providing the world with the energy current it needs. Sort of like the Bill Gates story substituting energy for computers. Unlike Gates, however, there is no happiness in the ends of these means.

Jannings is a few years away from THE LAST LAUGH and THE LAST COMMMAND. Maybe, too he need directors on the level of Von Sternberg and Murnau to push him for a large performance. His acting, while excellent, is not on the level of those later works. As a whole, this is very old-fashioned. Again, like CALIGARI, this is rather two-dimensional and lacks the sophisticated touch that would have made it a tour-de-force. The art direction makes up for this. The highly stylized main hall of Werne's home seems to be as long as its distant vanishing point. There are some nice artistic shots of the night skies, showing where the Algol star is located. The costumes are equally stylized, and if the print I viewed were better, I'd imagine some great detail would be evident.

Ultimately, this original alien premise settles into a morality tale and is about the abuse of power and how too much power can overcome a single person. In real life, Bill Gates was able to find that donating much of his huge wealth would become an extremely large project and very worthy of his time and consideration. ALGOL does not even try to ask the question of whether something good could be made of this power. It is too primitive in that way. However, it remains an impressive attempt at sci-fi and reflects well the time and place it was made.

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