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Faust (1926)

Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 6 December 1926 (USA)
The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director:

F.W. Murnau

Writers:

Gerhart Hauptmann (titles), Hans Kyser (titles) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Gösta Ekman ... Faust (as Gösta Ekmann)
Emil Jannings ... Mephisto
Camilla Horn ... Gretchen / Marguerite
Frida Richard Frida Richard ... Gretchens Mutter / Marguerite's Mother (as Frieda Richard)
William Dieterle ... Valentin: Gretchens Bruder / Marguerite's Brother (as Wilhelm Dieterle)
Yvette Guilbert ... Marthe Schwerdtlein: Gretchens Tante / Marguerite's Aunt
Eric Barclay ... Herzog von Parma / Duke of Parma (as Eric Barcley)
Hanna Ralph ... Herzogin von Parma / Duchess of Parma
Werner Fuetterer ... Erzengel / Archangel
Edit

Storyline

God and Satan war over earth; to settle things, they wager on the soul of Faust, a learned and prayerful alchemist. During a plague, Faust despairs and burns his books after failing to stop death; Satan sends Mephisto to tempt Faust, first with insight into treating the plague and then with a day's return to youth. Mephisto is clever, timing the end of this 24 hours as Faust embraces the beautiful Duchess of Parma. Faust trades his soul for youth. Some time later, he's bored, and demands on Easter Sunday that Mephisto take him home. Faust promptly sees and falls in love with the beautiful Gretchen, whose liaison with him brings her dishonor. Is there redemption? Who wins the wager? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Voice of the Tempter See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

6 December 1926 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Faust See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1997 restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Ebert says: "William Dieterle, who plays Gretchen's brother Valentin, fled Hitler, came to Hollywood and had a long career as a director, distinguished by 'The Devil and Daniel Webster' (1941), itself a version of the Faust legend." See more »

Quotes

Faust: I call thee for help, O Spirit of Darkness: Show thyself! Come forth, evil demon! I call to thee as thou callest thyself, by thy unholy name: MEMPHISTO, appear!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Silent Lovers (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Pleasure is Everything"
17 September 2006 | by SpondonmanSee all my reviews

Faust is my favourite German film, a timeless tale brought to life visually perfect by Murnau in 1926. The photography and special effects although obviously constrained by the prevailing technology was stunning and relentless, a tour de force of camera trickery to bring the power of the story across to Artheads and ordinary folk alike. Trouble is, it's a German b&w silent film so mainly Artheads and a few like me will ever see it for its beauty. Sunrise from a year later takes some beating but Faust does it easily.

The Devil wants to rule so places a morally dubious wager that if he wins Dr. Faust's soul he wins the Earth. Faust falls into the snare and so begins his descent into Hell, along with the woman he has in one night of passion – "No man can resist Evil". After 9/11 can we really be sure who won? There's so many memorable scenes: The Devil lowering over the town (Jannings having to spend hours perched uncomfortably over billowing soot until Murnau was happy with the shot); Faust throwing his books on the fire in his fantastic room (with piles of dangerous nitrate film deliberately going up to help); the un-cgi magic carpet ride; Gretchen with her baby in the snow etc. Ekman and Jannings were especially superb in their respective roles, but everyone and everything played their parts well.

The print is a knockout remaster, the menacing atmosphere whenever Faust or Mephisto are in shot is palpable as was only possible with nitrate film stock. Thoroughly recommended to those even only mildly interested who've never seen it before, one I will hopefully watch repeatedly in the future.


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