Prologue: The murderer "Boss" Huller - after having spent ten years in prison - breaks his silence to tell the warden his story. "Boss", a former trapeze artist, and his wife own a cheap ...
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Joe May's sensual drama of life in the Berlin underworld is in many ways the perfect summation of German filmmaking in the silent era: a dazzling visual style, a psychological approach to ... 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.
Prologue: The murderer "Boss" Huller - after having spent ten years in prison - breaks his silence to tell the warden his story. "Boss", a former trapeze artist, and his wife own a cheap side-show that displays ''erotic sensations''. But he longs for his former glamorous life in the circus. When he meets the orphan Berta-Marie, he falls under her spell and leaves his wife and young son behind. He makes Berta-Marie his partner in a new trapeze number. One day, the famous trapeze artist Artinelli takes note of them and engages them for his trapeze show in Berlin. Their salto mortale becomes an immediate sensation. Calculatedly and cold, Artinelli seduces Berta-Marie and destroys "Boss'" happiness.Written by
Christian Taube <email@example.com>
American humorist S. J. Perelman was so taken with this movie he wrote about it 40 years later in an essay entitled "And, in the Center Ring, That Stupendous Death-Defying Daredevil..." He said "Alfredo Cordona, the wizard of the flying rings, and his partners doubled for the actors. I saw the picture four times, reacting so volcanically to Cordona's forward triple somersault that I almost rent the chair in front of me to matchwood." See more »
Wonderful cinematagraphy and cutting influenced other films of the day. The story is old, but made interesting by the acting, sets and location shooting. The trapeze act shots are well worth seeing, though vaudeville and circus fans will be unhappy that there are few other acts shown. However, a 30 or 45 second summary of the variety (vaudeville) show is clever.
The print I saw at New York's Museum of Modern Art did not have the 'prolog' either. Perhaps it was omitted when the film was released in the US.
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