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The Man Who Cheated Life (1926)
"Der Student von Prag" (original title)

 -  Drama | Horror  -  20 March 1927 (Finland)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 354 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 5 critic

For Balduin, going out to beer parties with his fellow students and fighting out disputes at the tip of the sword have lost their charms. He wants to find love; but how would he, a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Elizza La Porta ...
Liduschka, Blumenmädchen (as Elizza la Porta)
Fritz Alberti ...
Graf Schwarzenberg
Agnes Esterhazy ...
Ferdinand von Alten ...
Baron Waldis-Schwarzenberg, Margits Vetter und Verlobter
Werner Krauss ...
Erich Kober ...
Student
Max Maximilian ...
Student
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Storyline

For Balduin, going out to beer parties with his fellow students and fighting out disputes at the tip of the sword have lost their charms. He wants to find love; but how would he, a penniless student, ever dare looking up to any woman worth of loving? Absorbed in his dreary thoughts and indifferent to the advances of Lyduschka, Balduin is unexpectedly offered a fortune by the mysterious money-lender Scapinelli - but on a strange condition... Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@nokia.com>

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Drama | Horror

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20 March 1927 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Cheated Life  »

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1.33 : 1
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Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Le contrôle de l'univers (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
good Faustian silent, with some striking scenes amidst some tedium
4 June 2005 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

I watched Alpha Video's cheap DVD of this. It lacks the original title and inter titles, though some easy to read new inter titles have been added. The musical score is unremarkable, and while called original by the DVD box, seems "canned." Balduin is a poor student, but a great fencer. Apart from that, we don't learn very much about him or what he wants. He is, however, humiliated by his poverty. He wishes perhaps a rich heiress would marry him.

A mephistophelian character named Scarpinetti offers to deliver on that, and in one scene dramatically stands atop a windy hill by a fallen tree gesturing towards a hunting party. They seem to follow his directions, which leads to a rich heiress having trouble with her horse near Balduin, who rescues her.

However, this is just a tease from Scarpinetti. Balduin goes to visit the woman later, taking with him a flower from a poor flower girl (who seems sweet on him). He fidgets with the flower behind his back, and seems to be contemplating giving it to the rich woman, when her fiancé's large flower arrangement arrives. Balduin realizes he needs money to woo this woman (forgetting, seemingly, that he'd wanted a rich woman for money in the first place anyway).

He makes a deal with Scarpinetti: 600,000 pieces of gold (! - error in the intertitle, maybe?) and Scarpinetti gets to take anything he wishes from Balduin's room. He manages to take Balduin's mirror reflection, and while that would seem to be the end of the deal, Scarpinetti still influences events in Balduin's life.

There are some striking scenes in the movie, and some scenes that really drag. One that goes on for a long time is a party after someone had died, and there doesn't seem to be much purpose to it, or at least for it to have been so long.

Balduin's mirror reflection doppelganger doesn't show up much, but figures in more towards the end, which is pretty satisfactory. I'm curious to see the other adaptations of this story now as well.


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