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Faust DVD Cover A Previous Diabolical Presentation
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Faust

Friday the 25th of October



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God and Satan war over earth; to settle things, they wager on the soul of Faust.


Germany: 1926 -- Directed by F.W. Murneau (of Nosferatu fame

Written by Johann Wolfgang Goethe (story), Hans Kyser, and Christopher Marlowe

Starring Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings and Camilla Horn.


F.W. Murnau's last German production before leaving for Hollywood is a visually dazzling take on the Faust myth. Pushing the resources of the grand old German studio UFA to the limits, Murnau creates an epic vision of good versus evil as devil Emil Jannings tempts an idealistic aging scholar with youth, power, and romance. The handsome but wan Swedish actor Gosta Ekman plays the made-over Faust as a perfectly shallow scoundrel drunk with youth, and the lovely Camilla Horn (in a part written for Lillian Gish) is the young virgin courted, then cast aside, by Faust. The drama falters in the middle with a tedious courtship and bizarre comic interludes, but the delirious images of the opening (Jannings enveloping a mountain town in his dark cloak of evil) and the high melodrama of the climax (Horn desperately clutching her baby while crawling, abandoned and lost, through a snowstorm) triumphs over such shortcomings. The sheer scale of Murnau's epic and the magnificent play of light, shadow, and mist on his exquisitely designed sets makes this one of the most cinematically ambitious, visually breathtaking, and beautiful classics of the silent era. --Sean Axmaker

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a contract to sign--please ignore the fine print!

Memorable Quotes

Ummm, it's a silent movie, remember!

Trivia

Director F.W. Murnau wanted Lillian Gish to play Gretchen, but she insisted that the film be shot by her favourite cinematographer Charles Rosher. Murnau instead cast newcomer Camilla Horn, whom he had met on the set of Herr Tartüff (1926) where she was a double for Lil Dagover.

More trivia


The awful 1967 Elizabeth Taylor version The powerful 1994 animated Czech version