Balduin, a student of Prague, leaves his roystering companions in the beer garden, when he finds he has reached the end of his resources. He is scarcely seated in a quiet corner when a ...
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Balduin, a student of Prague, leaves his roystering companions in the beer garden, when he finds he has reached the end of his resources. He is scarcely seated in a quiet corner when a hideous, shriveled-up old man taps him upon the shoulder and whispers vaguely of a big inheritance for Prague's finest swordsman and wildest student if he will enter into a certain agreement. Balduin rebuffs him, satirically asking his weird companion to procure him "the luckiest ticket in a lottery or a doweried wife." The old man goes off chuckling and thence onward persistently shadows Balduin, exerting a sinister influence over him, while Balduin is still disconsolate under the frowns of fortune. The Countess Margit Schwarzenberg, hunting with her cousin, to whom her father has betrothed her, meets with an accident. She is thrown over her horse's head into a river, but Balduin, who has been directed to the spot by his evil genius, plunges in and rescues her. Subsequently Balduin calls to inquire as ...Written by
Moving Picture World synopsis
Predating the German Expressionist movement in film (predating even World War I), this is the granddaddy of them all: the very first full-length horror movie. Being the first, we do not demand perfection from it; this film is as raw as William Burroughs's debut novel "Junky" or the first Stooges album, and suitably so. But the viewer will be pleasantly surprised that "The Student of Prague" still packs a punch after more than a century. From Paul Wegener's haunted, compelling performance as Balduin to the imposing backdrop of Prague with its spectral spires, there is much to appreciate in this film...and on its own terms, not just in its perceptible influence on numerous later productions. (Those who have seen "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", however, will note the visual debt that film's title villain owes to Scapinelli, the leering, top-hatted sorcerer portrayed by John Gottowt in "The Student of Prague".) A must-see for all students of film history.
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