Monday, April 18, 2016

Faust (1926)

Starring Gosta Ekmann, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn, Frieda Richard, Wilhelm Dieterle
Directed by F.W. Murnau
(actor & director credits courtesy

An angel and demon make a wager on whether a scientist trying to save his people will be tempted to sell his soul.

Nosferatu director Murnau presents another picture filled with dark and memorable imagery, telling the classic story of Faust, tempted by Mephisto in a wonderful performance by Jannings with a leering eye and mischievous smirk.  The first half of the film is by far the best with some sensational visuals that obviously influenced the "Night On Bald Mountain" sequence in Walt Disney's Fantasia.  After Faust commits to Mephisto for the price of the youth he's lost, the picture drags a bit while conveying the love story with the innocent Gretchen, before building to an acceptable climax.  Nonetheless, it's another impressive production from Murnau, and likely one of silent cinema's most important works.

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