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Lorenz Lubota is a city clerk with no direction in life. One day on his way to work he is run over by a woman driving a chariot and he is immediately infatuated with her. His life begins to spiral out of control as he searches for this girl and tries to win her heart. Written by
Moralist Tale of Corruption of Human Character and Redemption
In Germany, the honest city clerk and aspirant poet Lorenz Lubota (Alfred Abel) lives a poor but decent life with his mother (Frieda Richard), his ambitious sister Melanie (Aud Egede Nissen) and his younger brother Hugo Lubota (H.H. v. Twardowski). Lorenz shows his poems to the father of his sweetheart Marie Starke (Lil Dagover), who is the local bookbinder, and the man wrongly believes that Lorenz is a promising poet. The bookbinder promises to show his poems to a prominent professor for evaluation, but the man concludes that they are worthless. Meanwhile Melanie leaves her home to become a prostitute in a cabaret.
When the distracted Lorenz is going to work, a woman named Veronika Harlan (Lya de Putti) that is driving a horse-drawn chariot runs over him and he follows Veronika and immediately has a crush on her. Lorenz pays a visit to his wealthy and wary aunt and pawnbroker Schwabe (Grete Berger) to borrow some money to buy an appropriate suit since he believes that he will become a successful writer and make lots of money with the royalties of his poems. However he is followed by a swindler (Anton Edthofer) that dates Schwabe and they spend the borrowed money in a cabaret where Lorenz meets Melanie. The swindler stays with Melanie and convinces Lorenz to borrow a large amount from Schwabe. The naive Lorenz gives part of the money to the swindler and uses the rest to buy clothes to Veronika to seduce her. When Schwabe discovers that Lorenz is a liar and his poems will not be published, she gives a three days schedule for him to pay his debts; otherwise she will call the police. But the swindler suggests a scheme to Lorenz.
"Phantom" is a moralist tale of corruption of human character and redemption by F.W. Murnau. The story is divided in six acts and has flaws and lack of explanation for many situations, but since the film was reconstructed and restored in 2003 by the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv of Berlin, parts of the original work might be missing. The dramatic plot has many parallel stories entwined through the lead character Lorenz.
I saw this film in a Brazilian DVD with a nice soundtrack and in accordance with the Wikipedia, the first screening of "Phantom" in Brazil was on 30 October 2008, on the 120th anniversary of F.W. Murnau. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Fantasma" ("Phantom")
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