An abundance of German silent cinema on Region A Bluray! Just the thing to lift our spirits.
As always, thanks to Kino Lorber for providing review copies.
We have not one, not two, not three but four Weimar-era German silents to cover. First, and most famous, The Golem (1920) just in time for its centenary. Then we have F.W. Murnau’s Tartuffe (1925), G.W. Pabst’s The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927) and The Great Leap (1927), a mountain-themed rom-com. The restorations/transfers were overseen by the Murnau Stiftung.
One thing that’s really fun about these releases is that all but The Great Leap include the U.S. release cut. Comparing both versions is extremely educational as it allows us to see what German audiences liked and what Americans liked (or, rather, what the American release company thought they liked and what the censor boards allowed them to see). The German versions have their original language titles with optional English subtitles.
We’ll take these one at a time.
Paul Weggener’s horror classic received a 4K restoration just in time for its 100th anniversary and it’s pretty spectacular. We are also given the choice of three scores, one by Stephen Horne, one by Admir Shkurtaj and one by Lukasz “Wudec” Poleszak, plus an optional audio commentary by historian Tim Lucas. The U.S. release version has music by Cordula Heth.
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F.W. Murnau’s Tartuffe is one of his lesser-known German works but the restoration is lovely. The film has an orchestra score by Robert Israel and an optional audio commentary by film historian Troy Howarth. The U.S. release version has music by Giuseppe Becce adapted by Javier Pérez de Azpeitia.
The Love of Jeanne Ney
G.W. Pabst’s experimental film comes with music orchestrated by Bernd Thewes and the U.S. release version has music by Andrew Earle Simpson. There is an optional audio commentary by Eddy von Mueller.
The Great Leap
This is a mountain film rom-com, oddly enough, and is directed by Arnolf Fanck and stars Leni Riefenstahl. The film includes music by Neil Brand and an optional commentary track by Samm Deighan.
(Mountain films were basically all about showcasing climbing prowess with some kind of humanity vs. nature theme. This picture is definitely on the lighter side of that equation.)
So, that’s the rundown. These are very handsome releases and should expand your Weimar collection nicely. The Golem is obviously the centerpiece and I appreciated all of the musical choices included on the disc. Enjoy!
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