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Die Nibelungen: Siegfried
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Release Date:
1924 (Poland) See more »
Siegfried, son of King Sigmund, hears of the beautiful sister of Gunter, King of Worms, Kriemhild. On his way to Worms... See more » | Add synopsis »
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(17 articles)
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User Reviews:
"Your babbling, hero, is worse than murder" See more (20 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

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

Produced by
Erich Pommer .... producer
Original Music by
Gottfried Huppertz 
Cinematography by
Carl Hoffmann 
Günther Rittau 
Walter Ruttmann 
Art Direction by
Otto Hunte 
Karl Vollbrecht 
Set Decoration by
Erich Kettelhut 
Karl Vollbrecht 
Costume Design by
Paul Gerd Guderian 
Aenne Willkomm 
Makeup Department
Otto Genath .... makeup artist
Production Management
Rudi George .... production manager
Gustav Püttjer .... production manager
Art Department
Edgar G. Ulmer .... set designer (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Eugen Schüfftan .... trick photography
Music Department
Hugo Riesenfeld .... music arranger: Richard Wagner's music (1925)
Frank Strobel .... conductor
Frank Strobel .... music editor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Die Nibelungen" - USA (series title)
See more »
Canada:140 min | Germany:143 min (restored integral version) | Germany:97 min | USA:100 min | Belgium:158 min (Belgian Filmmuseum, Brussels)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The dragon in the film is not a miniature. It is a full-scale puppet 60 feet long.See more »
Plot holes: The leaf from the tree falls on a part of Siegfried's back already splashed with dragon blood. Therefore it should not leave a vulnerable spot.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in La doble vida del faquir (2005)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
"Your babbling, hero, is worse than murder", 23 November 2008
Author: Steffi_P from Ruritania

UFA's Die Nibelungen films have suffered from a problem common to Metropolis, King Kong and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in that they are motion picture classics that also happen to have been favourites with Adolf Hitler. While those others I mentioned tend to be overlooked as coincidences – evidence of nothing more than that sometimes even fascist dictators have taste – the Nibelungen pictures have fared a little worse because of the significance of the legend to German nationalism, as typified in the opera by the German anti-Semite Wagner.

However, while the Nazis may have been able to project their racial ideology onto the original story, Fritz Lang's direction of the motion picture version actually breaks with the heroic nationalist reinterpretation. Wagner's opera was calculated to be exciting and rousing. Screenwriter Thea von Harbou would eventually become a nazi stooge, and probably intended a similar effect for the film. The original poem Nibelungenlied though is not intrinsically nationalistic – it is simply a folk tale in a similar vein the King Arthur legend or the Iliad, and Lang recognised this fact. Like those ancient sagas from which it is drawn, his version is lacking in any kind of emotional manipulation, yet is rich in pageantry and poetic imagery. In Die Nibelungen we in fact have a perfect example of how a director's formal technique can shape the tone of a film.

Throughout the picture, Lang takes a cool, detached approach to the material. There are few close-ups or point-of-view shots. We know that Lang was not averse to these techniques – look at his previous picture, Dr Mabuse, where the title character is often staring straight into the lens, as if to hypnotise the audience. Let's also compare the dragon slaying scenes from Die Nibelungen and the Douglas Fairbanks Thief of Bagdad (directed by Raoul Walsh). The important difference here is not who had the best dragon (and to be fair they are both pretty naff), but how they are filmed. For the Fairbanks legend to work, you have to get swept up in the action, and Walsh places the camera at the hero's back as he delivers the fatal blow, bringing the audience in for the kill too. Siegfried's fight is staged almost identically yet Lang just matter-of-factly shows it happen, even giving us the dragon's death indirectly with a shot of its tail flopping to the ground.

All this is not to say that Lang did not have respect for the Nibelungen story. He had great reverence for it, but again purely in the form of an old legend – an artefact of a bygone era, not something that a modern audience can or should try to relate to, but something profound and beautiful nonetheless. Lang reflects this in the overall look of the picture, forming neat, painterly tableau, encouraging exaggerated, theatrical acting and giving the overall picture a stylised sense of rhythm. Ironically he brings it close to opera in tone, although of course this version was in no other way like Wagner's.

Lang's distinctive visual style pervades Die Nibelungen. So far, Lang had made striking use of interiors, but Siegfried's story mostly takes place outdoors. There are no rolling vistas here though. Lang creates a claustrophobic landscape out of crowding forests and overbearing rock formations. In earlier Lang films we can already see how his sets and shot compositions seem to form patterns and paths to hem in the characters and even control their movements, but now the actors almost seem to become part of the scenery. Take for example a shot about two-thirds of the way through, when Brunhild is framed between two curtains – the pattern on her dress matches that on the curtains. Throughout his career Lang first and foremost shoots the sets – the actors are merely a part of them.

This thoroughly Langian interpretation of the Nibelungenlied may have brought a tear to the eye of Hitler and Goebbels, but the emotional connection to the material can only have existed in their heads. To the majority of viewers, this picture and its sequel do not encourage any kind of romantic or heroic feeling. They are in a way more of an illustration than a story in their own right. While this detached style does not make for gripping viewing, the films do have an aesthetic beauty to them that makes them watchable.

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Question about the releases. jakob-sichrovsky
the hair littleteakettle
That troublesome leaf postdlf
Restored version to be released on DVD in the UK Laurence_the_parrot
request for all french members of this forum living in france rivest_mike
Why was it changed so much? undergroundgeek
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