After seeing D. W. Griffith's epic Intolerance, Denmark's greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical ... See full summary »
Lieutenant Niki of the Austrian royal guard has a new girlfriend, Franzi. He's crazy about her and is smiling at her while on duty in the street. King Adolf and his daughter Princess Anna ... See full summary »
A young French soldier in World War I is overcome with guilt when he kills a German soldier who, like himself, is a musically gifted conscript, each having attended the same musical ... See full summary »
Circa 1861, Angelina, ruling countess of an Italian principality, is at a loss when invaded by a Hungarian army. Her lookalike ancestress Francesca, who saved a similar situation 300 years ... See full summary »
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
EROTIKON surely pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on the screen in 1920: Irene, the bored wife of a distracted entomologist, pursues a womanizing aviator, but she may actually be... See full summary »
The favorite slave girl of a tyrannical sheik falls in love with a cloth merchant, which puts her life in terrible danger. Luckily, she is beloved of the rest of the harem, which conspires to bring the true lovers together, while distracting the prying eyes of the eunuchs who serve as palace guards. Meanwhile, a traveling dancer is eager to become part of the harem, much to the despair of the hunchback clown who is in love with her. Written by
Disappointing. The chief problem, as Lubitsch was quick to acknowledge, is Lubitsch. His exaggerated, hammy acting is one that Lubitsch the director would never have permitted any of his players. In fact, he was so unhappy with his over-the-top histrionics that he vowed never to act again.
Admittedly, there are a few other major faults. All the characters are one-dimensional and the story tends to drag, especially in the comedy relief sequences provided by camera-hoggers Kronert and Graetz, who are just awful. Margarete Kupfer's repulsive old hag is also over-indulged.
On the other hand, the film does provide an almost equal number of pleasures. not only in its exotic sets and cinematography, but in the alluring presence of Pola Negri, who receives excellent support from Paul Wegener who cleverly underplays his ruthless, self-indulgent sheik and thus makes him a really terrifying figure.
And for lessons in how to play comic relief with style, I nominate Jakob Tiedtke and Paul Biensfeldt, who both do amusing wonders with seemingly impossible characters. A slave trader, a comic figure? But that's how Biensfeldt plays this despicable little heap of slime--and it works!
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