Jealousy, madness, murder, trapeze acts. Welcome to E.A. Dupont’s stylish melodrama, famous for unchaining its camera and allowing the audience to leap and spin with the acrobats.
Okay, so the plot is thin and cliched and some of the casting is odd. What really matters to this picture is its style, which it has in abundance. Emil Jannings does wonderful work as a jilted man driven to jealous madness. He is less believable as an athlete. Lya De Putti plays the object of his obsession with enthusiasm. It all ends in murder, of course. Could we have expected anything else?
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
Jannings stabs De Putti’s lover to death and then turns himself in to the police. He is eventually released from prison. Hey, I never promised a happy ending.
If it were a dessert it would be: Pop Rocks. Not the most complicated but plenty of action.
Availability: The version of Variety to get is the gorgeous new restoration. It’s beautiful to look at and restores the film’s prologue, cut by censors decades before. Alas, it’s not yet available in region 1/A but you are a good nerd and have a region free player, right? I should also warn you that the musical score is… controversial and not in the usual nitpicky way. Here’s a clip. You’ll see what I mean.