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Concerto Macabre: The Films of John Brahm (2007)

Video  |   |  Documentary, Short, Biography  |  2007 (USA)
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A tribute to the life and films of the underrated expressionistic director John Brahm.


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Cast overview:
Mark Vieira ...
Himself - Author, Photographer
Steve Jones ...
Himself - Author, Editor
Drew Casper ...
Himself - Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts (as Dr. Drew Casper)
Christopher Wicking ...
Himself - Screenwriter
Steve Haberman ...
Himself - Screenwriter
Kim Newman ...
Himself - Novelist, Film Critic
Gregory W. Mank ...


John Brahm was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1893. He grew up to become a light comedian on stage. The rise of Hitler forced him to leave Germany and move to England, where he got the chance to direct a remake of D.W. Griffith's "Broken Blossoms" (1919). The success of the film lead him to Hollywood, where he eventually directed the three 20th Century Fox horror films that are the primary subjects of this short documentary. Various film experts discuss Brahm's film career, which died as the studio system died, and lead to Brahm becoming a prolific director of TV episodes. Generous clips of the three horror films are shown. Written by J. Spurlin

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2007 (USA)  »

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Released as a short documentary on the release of "The Undying Monster," part of the Fox Horror Classics set featuring the works of John Brahm. See more »


References Frankenstein (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

German expressionism is something Brahm brought to his films...
13 February 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

When Fox released their latest DVD of THE UNDYING MONSTER, it included a featurette on director Brahm called: CONCERTOS MACABRE: THE FILMS OF JOHN BRAHM.

Brahm migrated from Germany (during the rise of Nazism) to England, and then to Hollywood where Darryl F. Zanuck was looking for someone to direct a Gothic horror film called "The Undying Monster". He did such a masterful job on the film that it was often referred to as a B-film with an A-film quality, largely due to the expressionistic use of shadows and the atmospheric B&W photography. Zanuck was more than satisfied with the job and promptly gave him other assignments.

The main discussion here is on two of Brahm's best known films, THE LODGER and HANGOVER SQUARE--the first story with its emphasis on water and the influence it has on "the lodger" and the second dealing with the element of fire and how it is used at the start and finish of the Gothic melodrama. Bernard Herrmann's valuable contribution to the scoring of HANGOVER SQUARE and his eleven minute "Concerto Macabre" is also revealed, the film itself regarded as a masterpiece of its kind.

Informative and entertaining, with clips from the films discussed, it's a shame that Brahm drifted into television features in the '50s and never returned to the film noir genre on the big screen.

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