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 ... See full summary »
A wealthy man invites the local wealthy bachelors over for a puppet show about men who covet another man's wife. The puppeteer is actually a witch and gives the men nightmares about what could happen if they date the lady of the house.
For Balduin, going out to beer parties with his fellow students and fighting out disputes at the tip of the sword have lost their charms. He wants to find love; but how would he, a ... See full summary »
Elizza La Porta,
Extremely rare work of Robert Wiene. From the director and year of excellent "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" this work was eventually overshadowed by the success of Caligari. It has a dreamy atmosphere, like another world or something.
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski,
The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer, who after one look athe owner's pretty daughter, starts writing stories featuring the models, the daughter and himself. In the first, he is a baker, married to the girl, who is a little bit too much flirting with the customers, among them the wezir of sultan Harun Al-Rashid, who has just ordered his execution because the smell from the bakery is drifting to his palce, yet Harun Al-Rashid wants to meet the beautiful girl himself, while an angry baker is trying to get the Sultan's whishing ring to proof he's not a weakling... The second story is about Tzar Ivan the Terrible who likes watching people die together with his court-chemist. When he orders the execution of the chemist, the chemist thinks of a nice revanche, but till the revanche works, a nobleman is murdered, his daughter kidnapped by Ivan and her groom tortured. While writing the third story about...Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
"Waxworks" is an early example in film history of a movie that's clearly in homage to another film--in this case, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920). The expressionistic stylization in the film is obviously influenced by "Caligari", and a few references to that film reinforces that, beginning with the title. The literal translation of "Das Wachsfigurenkabinett" is "The Wax Figures Cabinet"--the keyword being "cabinet". Additionally, the frame narrative is purposefully set at a carnival, although a more dimensional one than the stage setting in "Caligari".
The narrative structure is closer to Fritz Lang's "Destiny" (1921), with the framing of three odd stories. "Waxworks" has the clever device of a writer of the inner stories in the framing story. And, the three biggest stars of Weimer cinema (Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt and Werner Krauss) play the historical villains and waxworks come alive in the inner stories. For the three stories, a different expressionistic technique dominates, each relating to and enhancing their respective themes. In the Harus al Raschid narrative featuring Jannings, it's the sets (Paul Leni's sphere) with oddly shaped architecture more akin to "Caligari' than Baghdad. Especially nice is the staircase set. Rather than the horrific, dreamlike abstraction of "Caligari", however, the sets are delightfully peculiar, as is Jannings and the silly story. Low-key lighting dominates the Ivan the Terrible episode featuring a darkly paranoid Veidt, and the multiple exposure kaleidoscope imagery places Krauss's stalking serial killer everywhere.
A clever film, and Leni and the other filmmakers seem to have had fun with it, which crosses over to viewers, but beyond that it's rather lackluster, not emotionally engaging as "Destiny", nor stunningly fresh as "Caligari".
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