|Index||10 reviews in total|
This second part of Fritz Lang's "The Spiders" is a solid follow-up to
the first part. This segment is not quite up to the level of the
opening episode, but it is also entertaining, and it features some new
and interesting material. As with the first part, the story has many
far-fetched elements, and neither the plot nor the characters should be
taken too seriously.
This part opens with a somber, determined Hoog determined to bring down Lio Sha and "The Spiders", and it then proceeds through a variety of adventures as the adversaries continue trying to outwit each other. Some of the settings are again imaginative and interesting, particularly the underground Chinese city, and these are the main strength of the movie.
Ressel Orla is again good as the villainness, but this time the story does not give her quite as many opportunities. Carl de Vogt has to carry more of the load this time, and while he is adequate in the action scenes, he does not have enough charisma to get the most out of the material. There was an opportunity for some real sparks between him and Orla, but they don't materialize.
Several of the sequences are quite good in themselves, and there is again lots of action. This story of "The Diamond Ship" does not fit together quite as tightly as did the first story of "The Golden Sea", and that, plus the absence of Lil Dagover, are the main things that make this one a cut below the first episode. It's still worth seeing, though.
In San Francisco, the sportsman Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt) follows Lio Sha
(Ressel Orla) in a subterranean Chinatown and discloses that her
organization is seeking a Buddha-head diamond that will release Asia
from tyranny. He is captured, but he escapes and chases The Spiders,
embarking as a stowaway in the Storm Bird. The ship heads to London,
with the criminals trying to find the diamond in the mansion of the
millionaire Terry Landon (Rudolph Lettinger). They do not succeed and
abduct Terry's daughter Ellen (Thea Zander) asking the diamond as
ransom. However, Terry does not have the stone, and Kay Hoog discovers
that it is in the Malvinas Island. He goes to the island, where he
faces The Spiders.
The sequel of "Die Spinnen, 1, Teil - Der Goldene See" is also a flawed movie, with a messy and silly screenplay. The great merit of this film is the hero Kay Hoof, certainly the source of inspiration of Indiana Jones. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "As Aranhas Parte 2 O Navio dos Diamantes" ("The Spiders Part 2 The Ship of the Diamonds")
This is the second part of a planned quartet of films, which renowned
director Fritz Lang chose to make in preference to the better-known
Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Since his first two films are lost, these
adventure flicks (which he also wrote) are the earliest glimpses we can
see of his budding style. Please refer also to my comment on part one
of The Spiders for more information and analysis.
The first part of The Spiders had a plot that was flimsy and flexible enough to make any excuse for the next action set piece. Part two slows things down to a more realistic pace, and yet the plot is equally thin and literally holey. Whereas part one more or less continuously followed the exploits of hero Kay Hoog, part two is filled with digressions and minor characters, and is occasionally hard to follow. There are also some inexplicable gaps where a title card replaces action for example when Hoog is captured in the underground city, we are told this rather than shown it. Missing footage perhaps, although there is nothing to suggest this is the case. As in part one, there is a great variety of locations, and Lang's imagination is constantly throwing up new ideas, but unlike the first part the action sequences are few and far between.
Turning now from story to technical style, part two is largely set in interiors, which is all the better for Lang to get the angles right. You can see evidence of that angular, impersonal approach to shot composition that is there in all his pictures, even the B-movies he made in the 50s. Often, the arrangements appear to be simply for aesthetic taste, but here and there is method and meaning to it. Lang likes to show off the height or depth of an interior set, making his characters appear small. In many scenes the environment seems to be hemming the actors in and dictating their movements. Towards the end he shows the spider gang in small rooms with not much space between the camera and the back wall, emphasising their trapped position.
But Lang's growing confidence with space is not enough to save The Diamond Ship. The first picture, in spite of its flaws, had a certain charm in its innocent and pure adventure. The sequel has all of the flaws and none of the charm.
This "Spiders" sequel, "The Diamond Ship", is just as ridiculous and
sensational as the series's first part. The rich adventurer continues
in his pursuit of the criminal gang, the Spiders, who are after a
diamond that's linked with Asian independence, leading the protagonist
into a world of espionage, kidnapping and to a subterranean Chinatown.
Fritz Lang continues to copy other filmmakers, including Louis Feuillade. An early scene in this film is, I think, evident of Fritz Lang's poor direction at this early point in his career: the overhead shot of a bank robbery, with no ceiling, was done better by Maurice Tourneur in "Alias Jimmy Valentine" (1915). With Tourneur, it was an innovative, well-photographed scene, but with Lang, it's derivative and poorly done. It's the same with the rest of this two-part series; there's some technical skill, but it's all inferior duplication of other films and serials. Lang would become a great director, but that didn't begin here. And, German silent cinema would be one of the greatest periods in film history, but "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920) is still the beginning of that. "The Spiders" is merely what everyone else had already been doing... often better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Originally, Fritz Lang, writer and director here, planned 4 Spiders movies, but the 95-year-old "Das Brillantenschiff" ("The Diamond Ship") turned out to be the last installment to the series of Kay Hoog going against the infamous criminal organization. I am okay with that as I certainly enjoyed the first film more than this one. The references about his lost love are not enough in here and, in general, in terms of story and emotion it does not really deliver in my opinion. At times, it feels like a weaker version of the first film, at other times, it felt like Hoog wasn't even the main character anymore. This second film went a bit longer than the first, namely 80 minutes for the version I watched. These numbers may differ though as, as usual with these very old films, all these restored version have different runtimes and the original was probably even longer as some of the parts were lost today. As a whole, this is among the weaker films I have seen by Fritz Lang. Sorry to see this did not reach the level of the first or fulfill its potential as a worthy sequel to the film from a year earlier. Not recommended.
Die Spinnen 2.Teil:Das Brillantenschiff/Spiders part 2:The Diamond Ship(1920) is an entertaining sequel with much intrigue, suspense, and cliff hangers. I enjoyed this movie more than Part One because of the climatic confrontation between the hero of the film and Lio Sha. Lio Sha is a villain much like the famous Irma Vep of Les Vampires. Fritz Lang was still developing his style when he directed Spider Part(1920) so the genius of Lang is not evident yet. Another film that is a collector's item for fans of Fritz Lang and old silent pictures. Precusor to the director's Dr. Mabuse films and his World War 2 themed features.
Imagine waking up and turning over to your lover only to find her missing and a huge black spider on her pillow. Imagine parachute jumping from a hot-air balloon high above the ruins of an Incan city in Mesoamerica. Imagine the chief protagonist dressed like Batman sans cape and living shipboard in a crate complete with your favorite liquors, a reading library and arsenal. Imagine a primary character name Kay Hoog who happens to be a man. If you can imagine that, then it might be a flash-back to this film. Fritz Lang showed his filmmaking genius early in his career with "The Spiders." These two first installments, beg for a remake and for some creative effort to produce the final two segments - "The Secret of the Sphinx" and "For Asia's Imperial Crown" - that were never made.
Well, well... Here's part two of Lang's trivial adventure hokum and as
it is evident from the start that it's even weaker than its
predecessor, one's glad that this Feuillade wannabe wasn't fully
The succession of hair-raising stunts and long dull sequences of hollow travesty is almost hypnotic in its banality. But even as pure entertainment, the pic's a misfire.
But no worries: Just a few years later, Lang would strike cinematic gold one movie after another. (He could never fully shake off the pulp roots of this early work, though.)
3 out of 10 Buddha diamonds
This episode is a worthy continuation in the series. As in the first part there is a lot of action. The search is on for the Buddha shaped diamond. This is the sort of film that inspired Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Unless you're into film history, stay away from this thing!
The plot is slapdash. The hero blithely drops from a flying plane, onto the roof of a building. ("Oof!") A la Jack Armstrong, there's a completely unexplained escape. A homing pigeon finds its way to a moving ship at sea. Obscure clues are identified immediately against all odds while obvious clues go ignored for centuries. Poison gas conveniently appears ex machina. As in The Golden Sea, the pacing is haphazard.
(Poor Ed Wood! How can we bash the guy when he probably learned his "art" from films such as this by Fritz Lang?)
BTW, in this film, unlike in The Golden Sea, some of the characters amazingly don't look German (though for some reason our American hero very much dresses like a German; more so than in The Golden Sea); instead, the non-Teutonic Chinese are made to look like vermin.
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