Archive for February 7th, 2014



by Allan Fish

(Germany 1926 95m) DVD1

Aka. Der Student von Prag

He gambled with his soul and lost

p  Harry R.Sokal  d  Henrik Galeen  w  Henrik Galeen, Hanns Heinz Ewart  story  Edgar Allan Poe  ph  Gunther Krampf, Erich Nitzchmann  art  Hermann Warm

Conrad Veidt (Balduin), Werner Krauss (Scapinelli), Fritz Alberti (Graf Schwarzenberg), Elizza Porta (Liduschka), Agnes Esterhazy (Margit), Ferdinand von Alten (Baron Waldis Schwarzenberg),

Take a crash course in German Expressionism in the 21st century and a great injustice will be perpetrated borne out of ignorance.  We know Murnau, Lang, Pabst, of Robert Wiene for Caligari (if little else) and Paul Wegener for and as Der Golem.  Yet it’s a summary guilty of numerous oversights.  Such avant garde pioneers as Hans Richter and Walter Ruttmann, Kammerspiel founder Lupu Pick, Paul Leni, E.A.Dupont, Joe May and Hanns Schwarz all merit a mention.  As do the likes of Hermann Warm, Karl Freund and Fritz Arno Wagner.  Not to mention the man who perhaps was the movement’s very soul in the same way Zavattini was to neo-realism, writer Carl Mayer.

The one missing from this illustrious roll call is Henrik Galeen.  Various key film reference works list him as an essential figure in German expressionism, but why do we not know him better?  It can be partially explained by looking him up on the IMDb, where Galeen comes up as “writer, Nosferatu.”  He did indeed write the scenario for Nosferatu.  He wrote Der Golem and Waxworks, too, but who remembers that he once co-directed the 1913 version of Der Golem?  Who indeed remembers him as a director at all?

He didn’t make many films as a director, and fewer still survive, but there are two that are worth tracking down.  Alraune is a worthy variation on many expressionistic themes with Paul Wegener and Brigitte Helm excellent in the leads.  Better is his The Student of Prague, like Der Golem a remake of a 1913 original, and while that version has its advocates, few could argue that Galeen’s is the better film.  (more…)

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