A working-class family in Berlin in 1931 where survival is difficult, with massive unemployment in the wake of the Great Depression. After Anni's brother commits suicide in despair, her ... See full summary »
This remake of West of Zanzibar (1928) made four years later tries to outdo the Lon Chaney original in morbidity. From a wheelchair a handicapped white man rules an area of Africa as a ... See full summary »
Richard Oswald uses Harald Paulsen as a reporter in pursuit of German horror star Paul Wegener to stitch together three stories. They are Poe's "The Black Cat", his "The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" (as close as Poe came to a comedy) and Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Suicide Club".
Horror was coming into prominence as a movie genre in the early 1930s. Universal Pictures would begin with its production of FRANKENSTEIN. Wegener who had been appearing in this sort of role since the Teens, was a natural, and the similarities of some of the trial sequence here to that of Lang's M, is worth noting. Oswald, like Lang, had to leave the country eventually, but this doesn't have any political content so far as I can see. I know that standard film history would have it that every German movie from about 1924 on is supposed to be a commentary on fascism, but I don't see it.
Unfortunately, while the techniques of movie-making and the performances are fine, the movie is padded. Everyone moves slowly in this movie, and the insane move even slower. The sloth may have been intended to allow the audience the terror of anticipation. Unfortunately, it only rouses a sense of impatience. Twenty mines could have been cut from this movie by movement and some judicious editing.
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