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The Three Lights (1921)

Der müde Tod (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Thriller | 30 January 1922 (Finland)
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1:07 | Trailer

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When a woman's fiancé disappears, Death gives her three chances to save him from his fate.

Director:

Fritz Lang
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lil Dagover ... Young Woman / Das junge Mädchen / Zobeide / Monna Fiametta / Tiao Tsien
Walter Janssen ... Young Man / Der junge Mann / Franke / Giovan Francesco / Liang
Bernhard Goetzke ... Death / Der Tod / El Mot / Bogner / Archer
Hans Sternberg Hans Sternberg ... Mayor / Bürgermeister
Karl Rückert Karl Rückert ... Reverend (as Carl Rückert)
Max Adalbert ... Notary / Notar / Schatzmeister / Chancellor
Wilhelm Diegelmann ... Doctor / Arzt
Erich Pabst Erich Pabst ... Teacher / Lehrer
Karl Platen Karl Platen ... Pharmacist / Apotheker
Hermann Picha Hermann Picha ... Taylor / Schneider
Paul Rehkopf Paul Rehkopf ... Grave-Digger / Küster
Max Pfeiffer Max Pfeiffer
Georg John ... Beggar / Bettler
Lydia Potechina Lydia Potechina ... Landlady / Wirtin
Grete Berger Grete Berger ... Mother / Mutter
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Storyline

As a young couple stops and rests in a small village inn, the man is abducted by Death and is sequestered behind a huge doorless, windowless wall. The woman finds a mystic entrance and is met by Death, who tells her three separate stories set in exotic locales, all involving circumstances similar to hers. In each story, a woman, trying to save her lover from his ultimate tragic fate, fails. The young lady realizes the meaning of the tales and takes the only step she can to reunite herself with her lover. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Movie That Inspired Hitchcock and Bunuel! (2016)


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

30 January 1922 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Weary Death See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,334, 22 May 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$12,156, 19 August 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Decla-Bioscop AG See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (2016 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film received a 2K restoration in 2016 by L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, Italy, with most of the material coming from New York's Museum of Modern Art and some shots taken from a copy belonging to the Cinémathèque de Toulouse, in France. The titles were rebuilt by Munich's Film Museum, based on a Russian copy, with missing ones coming from archives in Prague and Brussels, while the lost colors take inspiration from contemporary films. See more »

Quotes

Junge Maedchen: You dread, awful cactus, you!
See more »

Alternate Versions

DVD "Destiny (Der müd Tod)" (c) 2000 by Film Preservation Associates, with English titles and inter-titles by Ulrich Ruedel, tinted with added musical score, running at 99 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Macario (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Destiny's Child!
16 September 2016 | by HitchcockyanSee all my reviews

Fritz Lang's DESTINY is an expressionistic romantic-fantasy that centers on a young 19th-century woman as she challenges "Death" in the hope of bringing back her prematurely taken lover. What follows are three moral parables - set in Persia, exotic Venice, and Imperial China, each dealing with ill-fated love. The multi-story format affords Lang limitless opportunities to exercise his cinematic chops. The sets are as usual breathtaking from Gothic cathedrals to eerie sky-scraping walls to oriental castles to never-ending staircases. There's some stunning imagery on view like a spectral horde disappearing into a wall at midnight and of a terrifying hour-glass vision, forecasting impending doom. Candles are used to great effect both aesthetically (to complement the surreal setting) and thematically (as an allegory for mortal life-spans). Bernhard Goetzke's mysterious, darkly-clothed, succinct embodiment of Death might seem stereotypical but is far from it. For Death is not depicted as an arrogant, mustache-twirling entity which revels in its limitless power or earthly dominance but contrarily has grown tired of it. Death has become weary of its inevitability, its invincibility and is compassionate towards his mortal subjects. I particularly enjoyed the newly composed score by Cornelius Schwehr and thought it blended seamlessly with the film's grim premise.

DESTINY is perhaps most famous for igniting Luis Buñuel's surrealistic flames and leaving an indelible impression on an aspiring Hitchcock but to be honest the influences are unquantifiable. From its unmissable Bergman (and consequent Woody Allen) impact (THE SEVENTH SEAL and WILD STRAWBERRIES to some extent) to P&P's A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH. The multi- scenario life-saving premise was also reminiscent of Tom Tykwer's RUN, LOLA, RUN.

In the end DESTINY proves to be an ambitious little early-Lang which is frequently thrilling but doesn't come close to some of his subsequent masterpieces, then again few things do.


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