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Der müde Tod
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Destiny (1921) More at IMDbPro »Der müde Tod (original title)

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Destiny -- Before directing numerous genre defining masterpieces such as Metropolis, M, and Spione, Fritz Lang was already defying cinematic conventions with Der müde Tod (literally, The Weary Death). 
A young woman (Lil Dagover) confronts the personification of Death (Bernhard Goetzke), in an effort to save the life of her fiancé (Walter Janssen). Death weaves three romantic tragedies and offers to unite the girl with her lover, if she can prevent the death of the lovers in at least one of the episodes. Thus begin three exotic scenarios of ill-fated love, in which the woman must somehow reverse the course of destiny: Persia, Quattrocento Venice, and a fancifully rendered ancient China.  
Rich in expressionist imagery and featuring innovative special effects work, Der müde Tod has often been overlooked amongst Lang's early work, but has been hugely influential, with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel citing it as a direct influence on their work. Now in 2017, in a new restoration by Anke Wilkening on behalf of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, this definitive presentation of Der müde Tod preserves the original German intertitles and simulates the historic colour tinting and toning of its initial release, and is accompanied by a newly-composed score by Cornelius Schwehr as a commissioned composition by ZDF / ARTE which was originally performed by the 70-member Berlin Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Frank Strobel, at Berlinale 2016.

Der müde Tod will be released in selected cinemas nationwide (UK & Ireland) and on Digital HD from 9 June 2017.
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Release Date:
30 January 1922 (Finland) See more »
The Movie That Inspired Hitchcock and Bunuel! (2016)
When a woman's fiancé disappears, Death gives her three chances to save him from his fate. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Lang Shows the Way See more (32 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Lil Dagover ... Young Woman/Das junge Mädchen/Zobeide/Monna Fiametta/Tiao Tsien

Walter Janssen ... Young Man/Der junge Mann/Franke/Giovan Francesco/Liang

Bernhard Goetzke ... Death/Der Tod/El Mot/Bogner/Archer
Hans Sternberg ... Mayor/Bürgermeister
Karl Rückert ... Reverend (as Carl Rückert)

Max Adalbert ... Notary/Notar/Schatzmeister/Chancellor

Wilhelm Diegelmann ... Doctor/Arzt
Erich Pabst ... Teacher/Lehrer
Karl Platen ... Pharmacist/Apotheker
Hermann Picha ... Taylor/Schneider
Paul Rehkopf ... Grave-Digger/Küster
Max Pfeiffer
Georg John ... Beggar/Bettler
Lydia Potechina ... Landlady/Wirtin
Grete Berger ... Mother/Mutter
Eduard von Winterstein ... Kalif
Erika Unruh ... Ayesha

Rudolf Klein-Rogge ... Derwisch/Girolamo
Lothar Müthel ... Messenger/Vertrauter
Edgar Pauly ... Girolamo's Friend
Louis Brody ... Moor/Mohr (as Lewis Brody)
Károly Huszár ... China's Emperor/Kaiser (as Karl Huszar)
Paul Biensfeldt ... A Hi
Paul Neumann ... Executioner/Henker
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hellmuth Hiemstra ... Vertraute des Girolamo
Edgar Klitzsch ... Arzt
Loisia Lehnert ... Mutter
Neumann-Schüler ... Henker
Lina Paulsen ... Amme
Ernst Rückert ... Pfarrer
Hermann Vallentin
Marie Wismar ... Alte Frau

Directed by
Fritz Lang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Fritz Lang 
Thea von Harbou 

Produced by
Erich Pommer .... producer
Original Music by
Giuseppe Becce 
Karl-Ernst Sasse  (as Karl-Ernst Sasse Sr.)
Peter Schirmann 
Cinematography by
Bruno Mondi 
Erich Nitzschmann 
Herrmann Saalfrank 
Bruno Timm 
Fritz Arno Wagner 
Film Editing by
Fritz Lang 
Art Direction by
Robert Herlth 
Walter Röhrig 
Hermann Warm 
Costume Design by
Heinrich Umlauff 
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert Hegerwald .... lighting technician
Ernst Kunstmann .... camera operator
Music Department
Frank Strobel .... conductor
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Der müde Tod" - Germany (original title)
"Between Two Worlds" - USA (alternative title)
"Between Worlds" - USA (alternative title)
"Beyond the Wall" - USA (alternative title)
"The Weary Death" - USA (literal English title)
See more »
105 min (16 fps) | USA:114 min | 94 min (2016 restoration)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The film that first sparked surrealist director Luis Buñuel's interest in film.See more »
Junge Maedchen:You dread, awful cactus, you!See more »


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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
Lang Shows the Way, 12 March 2002
Author: gbheron from Washington, DC

I don't know why, but one of my favorite film genres is German Expressionism. Like American film noir, it creates a dark vision of human existence from which a flowering of truth unfolds. And this truth is not what the protagonist wants to hear and comes at a great price. I love this stuff.

I recently had the opportunity to view "Der Müde Tod" theatrically, and it was pure heaven. Billed as Fritz Lang's first big hit, it's easy to see why. Filled with lavish spectacle and special effects, the film still maintains it's human level. And such a story: a young newlywed husband is taken by Death on his honeymoon. As in a fairytale, the bride is able to confront Death and beg for you her husbands return. Death will grant her this if she can once cheat him of one who is about to die. She is given three chances to pull off this trick, which transport her to Persia, Venice and China. Death, her husband and herself are characters in each of these fanciful locales. All this leads back to a gripping finale in Germany where it all began.

As far as silent movies go, this is one of the best.

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