When farmer Rog dies, his son Peter stays, but Johannes can not be satisfied with such a condition (and servant Maria's love) and finds a job as old Count Rudenberg's secretary. His ... See full summary »
When farmer Rog dies, his son Peter stays, but Johannes can not be satisfied with such a condition (and servant Maria's love) and finds a job as old Count Rudenberg's secretary. His ambition leads him to charm Gerda, the Count's unique daughter. But when he discovers that Count's second wife Helga will soon inherit a field that only he knows his underground is full with petroleum, he changes his allegiance... Greed and death. Written by
This movie was considered lost for a long time. In 1978 an almost complete print was found in the estate of an Italian priest who had organised screenings in mental hospitals. See also The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). See more »
Another masterpiece by Murnau, dark and moody, very little romance, mostly the dark side of life reflected in the greed and ambition of a prodigal son who arrives home too late to say goodbye to his dying father. Instead of obeying his father's last wishes, to marry his childhood friend and work the farm, Johannes wants to rise above his station in life, and he doesn't care who he has to walk over to get there. There is positive restoration by the end of the film that is rather jarring, but this seems to be a favorite theme of Murnau's. Instead of restoration with the father, as in the biblical story of the prodigal son, we see the genuine restoration of the two brothers, and forgiveness. We're not quite sure if the two brothers in the bible story ever truly reconcile, but in Murnau's story it is clearly evident.
If you are someone who enjoys Murnau's films definitely see The Burning Soil. Interesting story, good acting, overall good condition of the surviving film.
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