1921-1930

F.W. Murnau – Die Finanzen des Großherzogs AKA The Finances of the Grand Duke (1924)

The likeable and carefree Grand Duke of Abacco is in dire straits. There is no money left to service the State’s debt; the main creditor is looking forward to expropriating the entire Duchy. The marriage with Olga, Grand Duchess of Russia, would solve everything, but a crucial letter of hers about the engagement has been stolen. Besides, a bunch of revolutionaries and a dubious businessman have other plans regarding the Grand Duke. With the intrusion of adventurer Philipp Collins into the Grand Duke’s affairs, a series of frantic chases, plots and counter-plots begins… Read More »

Ewald André Dupont – Das alte Gesetz AKA This Ancient Law [+extras] (1923)

Baruch Mayr, son of an orthodox rabbi from a poor shtetl in Galizia, decides to break with the family tradition and leave the shtetl to become an actor. Due to this behaviour his father bans him from his family. Baruch, who joined a small burlesque troupe is discovered by an Austrian Erzherzogin (archdutchess) who introduces him to the director of the most important Theater in Vienna, the Burgtheater. Baruch receives a contract there and becomes more and more an assimilated jew. Read More »

Paul Leni – The Last Warning (1928)

IMDb wrote:
A producer decides to reopen a theater, that had been closed five years previously when one of the actors was murdered during a performance, by staging a production of the same play with the remaining members of the original cast. Read More »

Géza von Bolváry – Der Herr auf Bestellung (1930)

Quote:
“Der Herr auf Bestellung – the gentleman who can be booked” has the Weimar dream team of Walter Reisch as scriptwriter, Geza von Bolvary as director and most importantly, the incomparable Willi Forst as main actor.

This ‘musical burlesque’ tells about a stylish young gentleman (Willi Forst) who works as a so-called ‘Festredner’; an untranslatable term, it indicates a person who makes speeches at important events like marriages etc. for people who don’t feel able to do it themselves. Willi lends his voice to a speech-impaired professor (Paul Hörbiger), but the baroness (Trude Lieske) who falls in love with Hörbiger only does so because of Willi’s voice, and you can guess that this leads to all sorts of complications… Read More »

Géza von Bolváry – Das Lied ist aus AKA The Song Is Over (1930)

Quote:
I don’t hesitate to call “Das Lied ist aus” one of the great masterpieces of early German cinema. It is one of the best and most stylish of all the Weimar musical sound films, and it’s unusual for its strongly melancholic undertone and unhappy ending. It can also be regarded as one of the defining films for the team of actor Willi Forst, director Geza von Bolváry and scriptwriter Walter Reisch. Forst fully established his screen persona here: the witty, elegant, but also fragile and thoughtful gentleman, although he was a much too versatile actor to be pinned-down to such keywords. Forst is paired here with the equally stunning Liane Haid, very charming and womanly, and the chemistry these two have has rarely been achieved again in later films with Forst (but check out “Der Prinz von Arkadien” with the same team!). Read More »

Teuvo Puro – Noidan kirot AKA The Curses of the Witch (1927)

A customized rip of this 1927 silent classic from the Suomi-Filmi studio. Often referred to as the first Finnish horror film, though the 1923 historical drama made at the same studio, Rautakylän vanha parooni (“The Old Baron of Rautakylä”), can also be classified as Gothic horror. What is more, the horror elements in The Curses of the Witch are few and far between, but all the more effective for that: the interposed image of a raving Lapp witch, the ominous owl foreboding the nerve-wracking and fateful boat ride, and the strange furry demon that appears on the hero’s bedside after it are as unforgettable as anything the best of Swedish or Danish horror films of the time had to offer. Read More »

Adrian Brunel, Alfred Hitchcock – Elstree Calling (1930)

Quote:
A series of 19 musical and comedy “vaudeville” sketches presented in the form of a live broadcast hosted by Tommy Handley (as himself). There are two “running gags” which connect the sketches. In one, an actor wants to perform Shakespeare, but he is continually denied air-time. The other gag has an inventor trying to view the broadcast on television. Four of the sketches are in color (in shades of yellow and brown only). Read More »