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Michael (1924)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 17 November 1924 (Denmark)
Trailer
1:49 | Trailer
Triangle story: painter, his young male model, unscrupulous princess.

Director:

Carl Theodor Dreyer (as Carl-Th. Dreyer)

Writers:

Herman Bang (based on the novel of the same name by), Thea von Harbou (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Walter Slezak ... Eugène Michael
Benjamin Christensen ... Claude Zoret
Nora Gregor ... Fürstin Lucia Zamikoff
Alexander Murski Alexander Murski ... Herr Adelsskjold
Grete Mosheim ... Frau Alice Adelsskjold
Didier Aslan Didier Aslan ... Herzog Monthieu
Robert Garrison Robert Garrison ... Kunstkritiker Charles Switt
Max Auzinger Max Auzinger ... Jules - Majordomus
Karl Freund ... Kunsthändlr LeBlanc
Wilhelmine Sandrock Wilhelmine Sandrock ... Herzoginwitwe Monthieu
Eugène de Klotz Eugène de Klotz ... Baron
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Storyline

Mikaël is an artist who rises as his teacher, the aging Zoret, falls. Zoret gives Mikaël his start, and their relationship is sexual as well. Then Mikaël takes up with the Princess Zamikoff, selling gifts from Zoret and even stealing from the master to pay for his carnal and luxurious life with her. He abandons Zoret, whose health begins to fail but who also discovers spirituality in his solitude. In a subplot, Alice Adelsskjold cuckolds her husband and takes a lover, the Duke of Monthieu; their relationship, infused with the eroticism of art, also gives way to religion as the duke becomes ill. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Release Date:

17 November 1924 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Michael See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2004 alternate) |

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

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

Goofs

When the painter Claude Zoret is talking to Mikael's creditor he switches from standing up to sitting down back to standing up between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Motto (titlecard): Motto: Now I can die in peace for I have known a great love.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2004, Kino International Corporation copyrighted a version with a piano score compiled and performed by Neal Kurz. It was produced for video by David Shepard and runs 86 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in New York Stories (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Karl Freund in Front of the Camera
8 March 2011 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

A famous painter named Claude Zoret (Benjamin Christensen) falls in love with one of his models, Michael (Walter Slezak), and for a time the two live happily as partners. Zoret is considerably older than Michael, and as they age, Michael begins to drift from him, although Zoret is completely blind to this.

Directed by the great Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer, who went on to direct "The Passion of Joan of Arc", called by some "the most influential film of all time". Written by Dreyer, and Thea von Harbou, who is now probably best known as Fritz Lang's wife. Produced by Erich Pommer, which cinematography by Karl Freund. As far as 1920s German cinema goes, this is top drawer.

Along with "Different From the Others" (1919) and "Sex in Chains" (1928), "Michael" is widely considered a landmark in gay silent cinema. It has also been suggested that the film reflects personal feelings harbored by Dreyer after a purported homosexual affair, though I have no evidence of that.

This film was pretty great, despite being silent and foreign. Those factors took nothing away from the experience for me, and I have to give credit to Dreyer and the cast -- the film is full of very intense faces, which made up for the lack of any audible emotion.

What drew me to this film was having cameraman Karl Freund on camera. A genius behind it, this is a rare treat to see the man in front and caught on film. His role is fairly small, but captures his movements and body language in a way that no photograph ever could. To my knowledge, this was his last acting role in a film.

The film has been cited to have influenced several directors. Alfred Hitchcock drew upon motifs from "Michael" for his script for "The Blackguard" (1925).


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