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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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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