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Tannhäuser (1913)

Not Rated | | Short, Drama | 15 July 1913 (USA)
Elizabeth, niece of the Landgrave of Thuringion, a pretty prince who reigned during the middle ages, was noted for her beauty and goodness. In those days, when chivalry ruled the world, ... See full summary »


Lucius Henderson (as Lucius J. Henderson)


Richard Wagner (opera)




Cast overview:
James Cruze ... Tannhäuser
Marguerite Snow ... Princess Elisabeth
Florence La Badie ... Venus
William Russell ... Wolfram
Burton Law Burton Law


Elizabeth, niece of the Landgrave of Thuringion, a pretty prince who reigned during the middle ages, was noted for her beauty and goodness. In those days, when chivalry ruled the world, minstrels were held in high repute and great nobles sang to their lady loves and competed in minstrel tournaments for their favor. A minstrel tournament was held at the Landgrave's castle. There were many competitors, but all conceded that Wolfram, a young noble, would surely win the prize. And he would have succeeded if another contestant had not entered at the last moment, the young knight, Tannhauser, a stranger to the Thuringion court. Great as was Wolfram, Tannhauser was his master, and he received the laurel crown of victory from Elizabeth's fair hands. Love came to Elizabeth and Tannhauser, but the Landgrave had other plans for her, and betrothed his niece to Wolfram. Tannhauser, broken-hearted, wandered away from court. In the forests he met the pagan goddess, Venus, who ruled in her dominion ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Plot Keywords:

based on opera | See All (1) »


Short | Drama


Not Rated




Release Date:

15 July 1913 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Silent Operas
24 September 2009 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

I don't care for opera; regardless, opera is undeniably worse when adapted to the silent screen. (Two adaptations of "Carmen" and one of "Assunta Spina" (1915) come to mind, as well.) Mostly, we're just left with whatever the ludicrous plot was. In this three-reeler, "Tannhäuser", there is, of course, a tragic, melodramatic romance. There's also some Catholic moralizing. It also doesn't help that the filmmakers use the tableau style wherein title cards describe proceeding actions. The camera-work and staging is very static; there's one match on action close-up that stands out as otherwise an example of too advanced film techniques for these filmmakers to use. There's double-exposure photography with dissolves for appearances and disappearances during the Venus episodes.

The Venus episode is the best part—the film really suffers after it. There's an awfully enacted and confusing sword fight, and the rest of the film, as aforementioned, is just bad romantic tragedy and Catholic morals. There are better early films available to see, and I suppose there are superior means to view this opera.

(Note: The DVD print features reconstructed tinting based on those originally intended.)

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