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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
Faust is a famous German story from Johann Wolfgang Goethe but to be honest I wasn't familiar with it until I saw this movie. Perhaps that's also why I liked the story so much, the movie changes direction time after time and from the beginning on you don't know how it is going to end. A great story of good versus evil in which love conquers all.
What makes the movie very memorable is the visual look of it. The movie is filled with some truly amazing early special effects. F.W. Murnau truly was a master in using convincing early special effects in his movies, some scene's are really impressive. Also the cinematography is spectacular and it has some brilliant lighting.
In many ways the movie was decades ahead of its time. The way the story is told in the movie is unique and spectacular for its period and so is the use of humor in it. All the scene's with Mephisto and Marthe Schwerdtlein were shear comedy brilliance, also mainly thanks to Emil Jannings his acting.
Mephisto himself really was one scary great villain character, especially when the character is first introduced to Faust.
Maybe not entirely a classic masterpiece, the middle and the drama is bit too much dragging and lacking for it but certainly a movie historical important and memorable movie. A F.W. Murnau movie that deserves to be seen by more.
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