A man and a woman on a motorcycle arrive with a ferry to Assens. They want to catch the next ferry in Nyborg, on the other side of the island, but this ferry will leave in three quarters of... See full summary »
A young man is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term in prison. There he forms a close relationship with his cellmate and upon his release his wife is concerned as to how prison has changed the man she married.
Three Scottish officers, including Sir Archi, murder Sir Arne and his household for a coffin filled with gold. The only survivor is Elsalill, who moves to relatives in Marstrand. There she ... See full summary »
Victor Frandsen is a domestic tyrant. His wife Ida has to work as a slave for him and the rest of the family. She rises early to prepare everything for the day, she toils all day long, and ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Mikaël is an artist who rises as his teacher, the aging Zoret, falls. Zoret gives Mikaël his start, and their relationship is sexual as well. Then Mikaël takes up with the Princess Zamikoff, selling gifts from Zoret and even stealing from the master to pay for his carnal and luxurious life with her. He abandons Zoret, whose health begins to fail but who also discovers spirituality in his solitude. In a subplot, Alice Adelsskjold cuckolds her husband and takes a lover, the Duke of Monthieu; their relationship, infused with the eroticism of art, also gives way to religion as the duke becomes ill. Written by
A famous painter named Claude Zoret (Benjamin Christensen) falls in love with one of his models, Michael (Walter Slezak), and for a time the two live happily as partners. Zoret is considerably older than Michael, and as they age, Michael begins to drift from him, although Zoret is completely blind to this.
Directed by the great Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer, who went on to direct "The Passion of Joan of Arc", called by some "the most influential film of all time". Written by Dreyer, and Thea von Harbou, who is now probably best known as Fritz Lang's wife. Produced by Erich Pommer, which cinematography by Karl Freund. As far as 1920s German cinema goes, this is top drawer.
Along with "Different From the Others" (1919) and "Sex in Chains" (1928), "Michael" is widely considered a landmark in gay silent cinema. It has also been suggested that the film reflects personal feelings harbored by Dreyer after a purported homosexual affair, though I have no evidence of that.
This film was pretty great, despite being silent and foreign. Those factors took nothing away from the experience for me, and I have to give credit to Dreyer and the cast -- the film is full of very intense faces, which made up for the lack of any audible emotion.
What drew me to this film was having cameraman Karl Freund on camera. A genius behind it, this is a rare treat to see the man in front and caught on film. His role is fairly small, but captures his movements and body language in a way that no photograph ever could. To my knowledge, this was his last acting role in a film.
The film has been cited to have influenced several directors. Alfred Hitchcock drew upon motifs from "Michael" for his script for "The Blackguard" (1925).
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