An Inspired And Delightful Rendition Of An Old Story
Herr Paul Leni was an essential film director and remarkable set designer during the magnificent German silent era though his name is not remembered or praised as often he deserves. Whether working as director or designer, Leni was meticulous in creating just the right atmosphere for the story. He was comfortable with "Kammerspiele," "Expressionism" and the "avant-garde."
Herr Leni 's astounding ability and versatility are very much in evidence in "Dornröschen" ( Sleeping Beauty ) (1917), a beautiful film with evocative settings and ornate costumes, all the work of Herr Leni.
At this point, this Herr Graf considers it not necessary to tell in detail the story of "Dornröschen", an old fairy tale that Herr Graf's great-great grandfather told him many times during his aristocratic childhood. The usual fairy tale ingredients are all there: a beautiful princess, a prince charming, a good fairy and a witch, an evil spell and a happy ending, The life in the palace, both upstairs and down, is brought to life by elaborate sets in the Romantic mode but there is humor as well. Special effects are also used when needed to bring across the atmosphere of fantasy.
The actors are particularly convincing in their roles: a lovely and fragile princess ( Frau Mabel Kaul ), a vigorous and bold prince ( Harry Liedtke ) and the evil witch performed by a man, Herr Hermann Picha, (not unusual for the times). All in all, an inspired and delightful rendition of an old story.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must awake his servants with a whipping rather than a kiss.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com
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