Conrad Veidt (OT)

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Conrad Veidt (OT)

oct. 15, 2017, 7:17pm

(continued from Gothic Films Part Three post 190)


I thought Veidt actually made his evil 'Escape' villain appear vulnerable, especially in his final scene, which is quite something given that there is little in the script, but it is all in Veidt's eyes.

I think it's sad that Veidt did not live to see the Nazi regime (he detested so much) crushed.

Gosh, I don't think you realise how eloquent you were in your last post. Transparently projecting thought, acting intelligently and instinctively - spot on.

I am surprised that Valerie Hobson was so much cheaper to hire than Vivien Leigh given Leigh hadn't made a breakthrough film yet and Hobson had been making movies for much longer.

I realise we have been OT with much of our last posts (sorry everyone), so now this is OT - what are the tidbits about 'Dark Journey'?!

Editat: oct. 15, 2017, 9:52pm

I thought Veidt actually made his evil 'Escape' villain appear vulnerable, especially in his final scene, which is quite something given that there is little in the script, but it is all in Veidt's eyes.

Spot on!--this is something of a specialty of Veidt's, adding a dimension, a shadow, to characters conceived rather flatly on paper. It's something Soister calls his "melancholy", a sadness, but I think it's both that and something more flexible, something ambiguous that the viewer can interpret according to their own emotions. For example, his Cesare Borgia is one of the evil-est villains who ever villained on screen, a poisonous double-lidded snake poured into black Renaissance tights with not a smidgen of a redemptive trait... but at his downfall--which is literal, after a duel, and he's squirming on the ground having to witness the final loss of Lucrezia to his rival, Veidt makes this horrible, ridiculous creature completely human--obviously not humane, not even someone one could truly pity--but, suddenly, stripped of power and tumbling into death, so REAL in his abjectness and misery.

And with women (ETA: and the young man in Anders als die Andern), there's a characteristic gesture that recurs in every movie I've seen so far, which is lifting his hands to their faces, most often not touching them or very lightly so (one exception being in The Hands of Orlac, a study in "hand" eroticism, where he presses his wife's head tightly obscuring it completely and letting both his hands be visible to the camera--a scripted direction, obviously, for the symbolism in the story.)

What struck me is that this gesture occurs not only when he plays a "good" man, but every time--even his reptilian Prussian commander in I was a spy who forces the Belgian nurse to sex uses not the usual repertoire of manhandling moves such as rough grabbing, shaking, let alone slapping--just the feathery touches that, actually, have a far more perverse effect than simply conking her on the head and shoving on the bed would have.

But, the point is, there is always around him a mélange of menace, of psychological suspense (who is he, what does he want?) and physical expression of some flavour of tenderness--the gliding walk, the elegant deportment, the soft-spokeness, and those hands... those very questionable hands.

Dark Journey: we are not alone, no one knows what happened at the end! :)

...Madeleine is "arrested" by the Swedish police and sentenced to deportation, thus outmaneuvering Karl. Once her ship has left Swedish waters, however, a German U-boat blocks its way; Karl boards the ship and arrests Madeleine for being a spy. Out of nowhere, however, comes a British destroyer, which engages the U-boat in battle. The German submarine is sunk and Karl is captured; he is to be interned for the duration of the hostilites. The lovers wave their goodbyes, tacitly promising to meet up again after the war.

(From reviews):

"With a tsk-tsk over the fact that the Britons are apparently still fighting the World War, let it be reported that Central's Dark Journey, a British-made spy melodrama centering around England's most charming screen actress, Vivien Leigh, and that bulwark of villainy, Conrad Veidt, is a swift, colorful and engagingly tangled cinema of virtually no importance whatsoever..."--New York Times, 23 August 1937

"...The film has a tremendous asset in its first-rate acting, with Vivien Leigh and Conrad Veidt carrying off the honours as rival spies for whom the war means a denial of their love."--To-Day's Cinema, 31 August 1937

Notes and Quotes:

"Lajos Biro and Arthur Wimpernis had tailor-made this improbable and naive tale of a French and German espionage and counter-espionage for Conrad Veidt, the intelligent German actor who had just signed a contract with Korda and for whom Alex had difficulty in finding suitable and acceptable roles....

Dark Journey was the first of the WWI/lowering-clouds-over-Europe subgenre features to transcend the traditional generalization of the bellicose Hun. This was more a nod to Veidt's own integrity than an attempt at sanitizing Great War operations...

Oh, did I say what the book is? Haven't catalogued it yet, I mean to enter my Veidt-trove in bulk one of these days: Conrad Veidt on Screen: A Comprehensive Illustrated Filmography by John Soister.


I am surprised that Valerie Hobson was so much cheaper to hire than Vivien Leigh given Leigh hadn't made a breakthrough film yet and Hobson had been making movies for much longer.

It seems, as you suggested, that it really was Dark Journey that propelled Leigh onward and that she already received attention from the Americans when The Spy in Black offer came up--hence the higher price. Leigh met up with Selznick and got the Scarlett O'Hara role immediately after she was replaced by Hobson.

oct. 15, 2017, 10:01pm

This room needs pictures!

From Furcht (Fear), 1917, dir. Robert Wiene

oct. 16, 2017, 7:18pm

>2 LolaWalser: I saw 'Lucrezia Borgia' a couple of years ago on a you-tube upload that wasn't great quality (too dark and pixelated in places) but Veidt gave a delicious performance in it. He so effectively got across Cesare's sheer delight in his own wickedness!! You're right that he was so 'real' in his misery in the final scenes - knowing he was facing his death, and totally stripped of his previous triumphalism, he let us see the human within.

Must say, I haven't noticed Veidt's 'characteristic gesture' with his hands (I obviously need to pay more attention!) I will watch out in future.

Many thanks for the interesting comments on 'Dark Journey'. It's good to know that we are not the only ones who can't figure out what happened at the end!

I did find an interesting comment about 'deleted' footage from 'Dark Journey' (and some good pics) on this web page:

"The original movie is at least 15 minutes longer than the actual version, of 75 minutes. For example, there was a scene where Karl (Veidt) is trying to seduce Madeleine (Leigh) at the first dinner party they meet. There is a famous photo from that deleted scene with Conrad and Vivien smiling at each other, and clinking two glasses of wine. And this is just one of the many deleted and important sequences from the film."

I suspect this is accurate in that Victor Saville's other 1930's films I have seen (including all the films he made with Jessie Matthews) are cut well, not confusing in the least, and don't have any loose ends.

That Soister book on Veidt looks great, but oh the price! I have leafed through it at my friend's house - the mate who showed me 'Dark Journey'. He is a huge Veidt fan, and was involved with the Veidt Society - he went along to the ceremony at Golders Green Crematorium about 20 years ago when Veidt's ashes were interred there (Vivien Leigh was cremated there before her ashes were scattered on the pond in her country retreat).

>3 LolaWalser: That is a fabulous still, thanks!

Editat: nov. 10, 2017, 5:32pm

>4 Rembetis:

Wow, now there's a fervent fan. Thanks for the link--if she's scanning Soister's book for every film, it will spare me some typing. (I hope our references are too minor to breach copyright, certainly I wouldn't want to harm his excellent work.)

Yes, the book was expensive for a paperback (I got it from Book Depository) but blasting CAD 135 on a used DVD of Das indische Grabmal opened the floodgates--heck, where I can burn a hundred, I can burn a thousand dollars.

All the more so as I'm expecting the Orangeutan and his pigs to blow the world up any moment now: my final-days plan is to fetch some drugs from my friendly neighbourhood dealer (I'm just assuming we have one--I may have to go slumming), open my best wine (both bottles I currently have on the premises), set up my laptops side by side, and play on a continuous loop Veidt's silents on one, Garbo's on the other, until visions of Die Odaliske von Smyrna arise mystically from this my alchemico-cinematic wedding.

I SHALL make cinema gold!

Fond greetings and THANKS to your friend. It burns me up inside to think Berlin didn't deign the petition to bury Veidt in his birth town with even a word of acknowledgement. To think there is no Conrad Veidt Straße there. (There is in Potsdam. Or was.) No museum, no cinématheque bearing his name.

Actually, I meant to discuss that cutting up of Dark Journey and what the choices reveal about how some people saw, or rather didn't see Veidt, but I'll leave that for later.

I watched Jew Süss and my head's just bursting with stuff. Must process.

P.S. I don't mean to lead you into temptation and wasting money, this is just FYI and the record, the DVD of Lucrezia Borgia available on Amazon US from a "Grapevine Studio" operation is excellent, on par with (this is a random comparison) Kino Video's Beloved Rogue, say. Much better than anything I noticed on YouTube.

oct. 17, 2017, 5:42am

Gothic films - part three, post 190

Just moving my post over from the end of 'Gothic films - part three' where it was rather in the way:

>190 LolaWalser:

Just HAD to add one more entry here to note a great post! I'm afraid I'm still at the 'the Nazi in Casablanca' stage, but now you've got me really itching to explore Veidt's body of work.

oct. 17, 2017, 1:13pm

>6 alaudacorax:

Ha!--this ship will sink in fine company! :)

I hope you enjoy whatever you may find or at least don't feel like you've wasted your time--I really should organise my thoughts and make a better effort at explaining what the hell I'm going on about, although I recognise I'm undergoing something one can't normally expect to happen in the run of ordinary movie consumption.

Also, I shudder at the idea that I might "oversell" something. Veidt appeared in a number of turkeys (Under the Red Robe, I'm barely squinting at you through my fingers, you so ugly!), to say nothing of simply trivial fare, and, much as I secretly may believe it, wasn't really half-lily, half-unicorn from another planet. His artistry is, to a degree, "pinnable". One can compare him to others. There are instances where you can see he's being directed by some foreign, obtuse, uncomprehending hand. Where something--terrible scripts, bad direction, uncommunicative co-stars--blocks him.

But consumed in toto, the gallery of his characters and their inner lives is uniquely remarkable in variation within type, in realness, in a special kind of Veidt-dance... right, losing the thread again!

Editat: oct. 17, 2017, 8:06pm

>5 LolaWalser: Gosh, that is alot of money to spend on a used dvd! Reminds me of my huge flirtation with American laserdiscs (yes, I was stupid enough) e.g. I paid £100 for a box set of 6 rare US Gable/Crawford films I was desperate to see, and other such delights.

The World has never been in such a sorry state in my lifetime with so many crazy people 'in charge'. I like your final days plan of making cinema gold with Veidt, Garbo, and drink and drugs helping you conjure up 'Die Odaliske von Smyrna'! Very funny! What a way to go (but let's hope it doesn't ever come to that...)

My Veidt friend was a childhood friend of my partner, and he lives a few miles away (we are all vintage film buffs). Since around 1984 we take it in turns to host dinner and film shows every month or so (it is very civilised lol!) I was only aware of Veidt in 'Casablanca' and 'Caligari' until my friend starting showing us other Veidt films, silent and sound, and it was he who opened my eyes to Veidt's extraordinary body of work.

We too were shocked with the Berlin and German response to bury Veidt at home. Bizarre.

I wonder whether 'Dark Journey' was re-released at some point after 1937 (perhaps after the success of 'GWTW'), and was cut about then, after Britain had entered the War. I also think the most telling quote you provided about the film was:

"Dark Journey was the first of the WWI/lowering-clouds-over-Europe subgenre features to transcend the traditional generalization of the bellicose Hun. This was more a nod to Veidt's own integrity than an attempt at sanitizing Great War operations..."

I haven't seen 'Jew Suss' but have bookmarked a copy on you tube to watch at some point (I have a long list of bookmarked films - some of them disappear before I find the time to watch them, as I am not a huge fan of watching films on you tube).

Many thanks for the heads up on the 'Grapevine' copy of 'Lucrezia Borgia'. I have never heard of the company and thought it would be a poor copy. I had seen this on Amazon uk where some soul is asking £101 for it (!!!) but I just ordered a copy from the US on ebay for £13.

oct. 18, 2017, 2:19pm

>8 Rembetis:

It's so nice you have a circle of friends like that. Most of mine have trouble wrapping their heads around the idea of seeing a B&W movie, let alone a silent. Another reason I'm still mourning Jackman Hall ten years later--we habituals all became familiar. Of course most were older folk, retired, and I imagine on limited budgets--I didn't see any of them later again when I went to the accursed Lightbox or whatever it's called. But, there is hope in the darkness--the local Goethe Institut is finally, years after they dropped the film programme, reinstating some of it. I'm going to see M (who cares if it's the 300th time) there next. That's where I saw Anders als die Andern and a truckload of Lubitsch, Pabst etc. before. They do sponsor a series of German movies at the cinematheque but it's mostly new stuff that doesn't get North American distribution.

I've come to collecting film very late, basically with the ability to watch DVDs on the computer (I've never owned a television), and I dearly hope no drastic revolution in media will force me to ditch/reinvent my collection before I die.

Jew Süss is one for conflicting responses. It's impossible to discuss (or like or dislike) solely on artistic merits because it's deeply political and there is so much politics around it. Feuchtwanger gave a serious portrait of a complex character, a Jewish man resolved to escape the ghetto but without betraying his origins and his people. The movie botched this (as movies typically do with nuanced literature) and Joseph is left to rely for our sympathy mainly on Veidt's charm. Which is great, even here where he does something unspeakably base (allows his boss to rape the woman he's himself half in love with and who is only present in his house for this to happen because he, basically, invited her on a date) and in general isn't very nice.

The script is hopelessly stilted and clunky and except for Veidt and his "boss" the duke played by Paul Vosper, it's hard to identify a performance that isn't bad or worse. Cedric Hardwicke sleepwalks through his role intoning lugubriously his wretched lines--maybe they shocked him into a coma.

Well, all this said, it is still very moving. The final scene of Joseph's execution I thought too sentimental with the Jesus-y close ups (but who can seriously complain about those marvellous eyes eating up the screen), but when he starts screaming the Sh'ma Yisrael it's... well he hits one tone at one point that skinned me alive.

I can barely bear to comment on the Nazi obscenity made in the wake of this movie. I never saw it and never want to see it and didn't know until I read Soister's comments that Werner Krauss, Veidt's co-star in so many wonderful, legendary movies and presumably a friend once upon a time, was in it, and not just in it, but played his role with gusto and full Nazi conviction. And Krauss wasn't the only one.

It only makes me feel with deeper despair how singular and alone Veidt had been.

Editat: oct. 18, 2017, 8:43pm

>9 LolaWalser: I am lucky to have a circle of friends around my own age (54) that like old films (though we discuss new films too!) Since my late teens, through regular attendance at the National Film Theatre and as a member of film societies and fan clubs, I became friends with quite a few older film buffs (many with encyclopaedic film knowledge), and it has been very sad these last 10 - 15 years to see so many pass away. I suppose the old friends you had at the Jackman Hall went the same way, sad to say :-(

Turning to more cheerful thoughts, that's great that your local Goethe Institut is showing 'M'. Hopefully they will carry on in the same vein (perhaps write and suggest to them some titles they might want to show in future?)

I don't believe dvds will die out for a very long time, despite blu ray and streaming. Streaming is great but so intangible. Many people still like physically owning films in cases with cover art etc. Blu ray is pernickity (the machines need updates) and the software is expensive. DVD is popular, cheaper, and the machines they play in don't generally misbehave.

I started collecting with Betamax videos (you see my talent for making dumb decisions), then - VHS, laserdisc, dvd, and blu ray. Certain films were purchased in each of those formats (film companies aren't dumb).

Many thanks for your interesting views on 'Jew Suss'. You are right that most films don't reflect nuanced literature. I have an awareness of the history of 'Jew Suss', particularly the notorious remake (which I wouldn't watch). I can see why discussing either version is difficult given the politics. I will try to find time to watch the Veidt version over the weekend (famous last words!)

oct. 19, 2017, 10:30am

>10 Rembetis:

M is only the second "real oldie" GI are showing this year--the first one was Blue Angel back in January. All the rest was newish and video experiments and docus and the like. Thus have we fallen...

Browsing Soister's filmography, every (LOST) mark is like a punch in the gut, but this one, I think, is the worst (for me):

SATANAS, 1919, directed by... Murnau (waaaah)

Listen to this: Synopsis: (italics mine)

"The frame shows how Satan, the fallen angel, suffers from the loss of the Light. He pleads and wrangles with God, but God's voice repeats the condemnation, concluding, "You are cursed until one person, a single person, brings good out of evil." Satan traverses time and space, seeing only evil and despair, but his eyes betray a yearning for the Light, a yearning for Good..."

Tell me this wasn't a movie written expressly for Veidt's eyes! :)

Last night I was watching Unheimliche Geschichten (Eerie Tales), 1919, and there's a close-up of Veidt where I swear it looks as if the man had lighthouse beams in his head and turns them on. (I plan to take screen caps; will document the phenomenon.)

To continue with Satanas, how smashing does this scene sound (from the first episode, Veidt/Satan masked as Hermit):

"(Pharaonic Egyptian shenanigans, the Hermit is meddling with a couple of lovebirds and whatnot, then...) ... The Hermit changes into a huge angel of death--Satan--who goes through the palace crushing the sundry mortals scornfully. There is no hope for his salvation here."

HOW CAN THIS NOT EXIST ANYMORE...! Can you imagine what that looked like!

Actually, Soister has a footnote about some fragment being found in Madrid, but I can't find anything on the web.

oct. 19, 2017, 12:31pm

>11 LolaWalser: I haven't much time at the moment, but there is a tiny fragment of Satanas (without Veidt) here:

I will try and post again later.

oct. 19, 2017, 12:47pm

Thanks--I'm just surprised that didn't come up in recs after all the trawling I did for Veidtiana. YouTube, thy ways are too too mysterious. *shakes computer*

oct. 19, 2017, 4:17pm

changes into the huge angel of death... goes through the palace crushing the sundry mortals scornfully...

Shadow projection, maybe? Backlighting and tilting camera? Puppets?

oct. 19, 2017, 7:54pm

>8 Rembetis:

I hope you think the Grapevine DVD worth it... The one version I saw on YT looks terrible, so it should be an improvement at least on something like that.

A screencap from my DVD:

oct. 19, 2017, 8:39pm

>11 LolaWalser: >14 LolaWalser: Only two real oldies shown at GI this year - that's poor for a cultural institute.

'Satanas' - what can I say?! I wish I could see this film! The synopsis sounds amazing. I read the synopsis on imdb too. It sounds like a major project for Murnau. Wiki says that a fragment of the film is kept in the Cinematheque Francaise archive. Someone on imdb says this runs 2 minutes and is from the Egyptian section of the film (the fragment on you tube).

'changes into the huge angel of death... goes through the palace crushing the sundry mortals scornfully...'

- I see Veidt morphing into the huge angel of death with a succession of shots. Emphasis on the eyes, then back to the frame, perhaps black wings and a scythe... His fingers become elongated, long sharp black nails. His cheeks hollow, the eyes burning. The camera is tilted and glides slowly along, following the shadow of his outstretched arm with his claws passing over the palace inhabitants who die at the touch of the shadow on their skin. Cut back to the scornfull look on Veidt's face as he glides along...

I can but dream.

I am looking forward to seeing your screencaps (when you find the time) of the 'lighthouse beams' from Veidt in 'Eerie Tales'!

>15 LolaWalser: Thanks, Wow! That screengrab from 'Lucrezia Borgia' looks fantastic. I am sure it will be worth the small outlay to see it properly. You're right, the youtube version was awful - especially the constant pixellation.

Editat: oct. 20, 2017, 12:24am

>16 Rembetis:

Interesting, are you basing your image of Satan on some stills from the production or what?

I picture it like this: the Hermit is a haggard old man in filthy rags, sheep skins and a shepherd's stick, and then, suddenly, BANG!!! the skins fall off, the bent old man straightens up, the figure splits like a ripe chestnut in swirling smoke and WHOOOOOOOOOSH!!!!!--UP goes this GIANT NAKED FIGURE (ok, I understand if they stick to the torso), night-dark, with wicked long hair and these huge luminous eyes light up in WHITE HOT RAGE...! teeth, SNARL, rip CRUSH tear...! etc, etc.

Here are some screen caps from Unheimliche Geschichten, episode 4, The Suicide Club (Veidt plays the club President). (ETA: the DVD is from, 99 minutes, 5 episodes.) The eyes--eh, stills can't really convey it because the effect relies on transition in movement, his whole expression lighting up the previous ambient dark.


oct. 21, 2017, 7:21am

>17 LolaWalser: No, I haven't seen any stills of Veidt as Satan (do any exist?) My description is based on images of the angel of death I have seen in illustrations and films. Murnau used shadows so well in 'Nosferatu' and I can see shadow would have been effective in the scene with the angel of death crushing mortals in the palace.

Your description of the hermit/angel of death sounds great!

Thanks for uploading the stills. Pretty effective, even without the benefit of movement!

Editat: oct. 21, 2017, 11:03am

>18 Rembetis:

You're welcome, and let me know if you'd care for more. I'm sure there are plenty of googlable scenes but screencaps also give some idea of what the DVD copies are like.

Murnau used shadows so well in 'Nosferatu' and I can see shadow would have been effective in the scene with the angel of death crushing mortals in the palace.

Yes--and there's also the bit in Der Student von Prag when Devil/Scapinelli's gigantic shadow rises ominously on the great wall on top of which the lovers, the Student and the Countess, are coming to an agreement. It had been done many times before even by that time but I bet some gasps went up anyway.

Yesterday I received Le joueur d'échecs (The chess player), 1938, and it's a total delight. I have a huge fondness for automatons, mad scientists, steampunky labs and workshops--and it has all that AND pretty 18th century costumes. To top it all, for once there is someone else on screen as interesting to watch as Veidt, Françoise Rosay giving a performance as Catherine the Great that is for the ages, and really an object lesson in playing "strong women". Others are also on the whole very likeable, especially the two young women and Potemkine. I usually abhor generalisations about "national" styles and whatnot but in this case I can't help feeling there is something very appealingly "French" about the charm of this movie.

Veidt, by the way, sounds great in French! He had a funny voice, light and high-pitched, and in English in particular the German accent gives him an acid edge, but French with its nasal tones and German-friendly pronunciation of consonants makes him sound positively melodious.

oct. 23, 2017, 10:38am

Ha!! To file under: mentions of Conrad Veidt in least expected places...!

Reading the second volume of Simone de Beauvoir's memoirs, La force de l'âge. The year she's talking about is 1929/30 (she's about 21 years old, Sartre 24).

The subject is "Camille", one of Sartre's previous... erotic interests, I suppose, it doesn't seem correct to call her a girlfriend or even mistress. "Camille" is a character! A beautiful girl from a well-to-do middle class family, she took up prostitution as a hobby, aided in the enterprise and in keeping it secret from her doting parents (with whom she continued to live long after) by a devoted adopted childhood companion/maid--a set-up straight out of some farcical Italian opera. Beauvoir describes their shenanigans, giving some idea of "Camille"'s fantastical turn of mind and... (my translation)

However, Camille admired grand frenzies of passion and aspired to surrender to them. She fell in love with Conrad Veidt, and then, having seen him play the role of Louis XI in Le Miracle des loups, with Charles Dullin.

Note that she actually stalked Dullin until she became his mistress (doesn't sound like it took enormous effort, tbh) and sort of pursued an acting career herself. I fully expect she'd have besieged Veidt too if he'd been less geographically unavailable. :)

oct. 23, 2017, 6:37pm

Today I got David Thomson's The big screen : the story of the movies and naturally looked up Veidt in the name index--only three entries, but the last one, regarding Casablanca of course, made me laugh...

Ask the man on the street today to name a Hollywood picture, and Casablanca will be there in the first list. It's such a nostalgia-encrusted classic that we are spared having to notice that it is fake, foolish and fanciful beyond belief.

Ha! and HA!!

This is why I can put up with Thomson's silly infatuations with Nicole Kidman and (ughhhh) Julia Roberts and soldier through examples based on tripe like Pretty Woman or whatever.

Infatuation!--that reminds me...

Conrad Veidt- I'm In Love With A German Film Star


oct. 23, 2017, 6:39pm

Actually, watching those clips, I realised I'd forgive Hollywood typecasting him as a Nazi ten times over if only they didn't also slap those horrible, ratty "I'M A DASTARDLY VILLAIN" moustaches on him every. chance. they. got.

oct. 24, 2017, 12:42am

>21 LolaWalser:

I'm confused by the references to Pretty Woman and Casablanca. Does Thomson actually like Pretty Woman? I mean, '... fake, foolish and fanciful ...' is a pretty exact description. I can see that it could also be applied to Casablanca, but to do so without applying it to Pretty Woman rather takes the breath away ...

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your post?

oct. 24, 2017, 12:54am

>20 LolaWalser:

Speaking of taking my breath away, I'm still trying to get my head around 'Camille'. I read a lot of Satre around the time the brilliant The Roads to Freedom was on British TV (alas, seemingly impossible to get hold of), but never got round to Simone de Beauvoir. Sadly, it seems one can spend a whole lifetime 'meaning to' read various authors ...

oct. 24, 2017, 11:30am

>23 alaudacorax:

The quotation itself is about Casablanca. I was amused that it echoed my earlier disparagement of that movie (something I scarcely dare expect from the general public OR the critics. Presumably if I bothered to look I might also find someone who doesn't accord Citizen Kane the title of the best movie ever made! ;))

I skimmed the beginning of the book and Thomson illustrates various things with examples from movies like those with Roberts and Kidman, 99% of which I never even saw, but I respect what he's saying and the way he says it. Very enjoyable, not jargony up-his-arse type or a tediously blathering autodidactic nutter (Manny Farber, I'm looking at you).

>24 alaudacorax:

I was reading Beauvoir at breakfast and got so caught up I had to carry it with me (it's chunkier than my usual commute reads) and then kept sneaking peeks at it all day. The second volume is much livelier than the first, naturally enough, as she's grown up and navigates the open wide world, with zillion people and interests coming into focus. She's a great writer.

oct. 26, 2017, 8:09pm

>19 LolaWalser: Thanks for the interesting review of 'Le joueur d'echecs' (1938). It sounds fascinating. Another film to add to my ever growing 'list I want to see'!

As you like automatons (and silent films), you might like Scorcese's 'Hugo' (though it might be too sentimental for you?!)

>21 LolaWalser: David Thomson - I have a few of his books, including a great little book he wrote on 'Bette Davis'.

Loved that video of 'I'm in love with a German Film Star'!

>25 LolaWalser: The BFI carried out a survey in 2012 which confirmed 'Vertigo' as the best movie ever made ('Citizen Kane' slipped to second place, and Murnau's 'Sunrise' came in fifth):

Unfortunately, my plans to watch 'Jew Suss' last weekend went awry (as ever). It was in fact a horrible weekend with family illness, though things have improved significantly since then, thank goodness.

oct. 26, 2017, 9:51pm

>26 Rembetis:

Pox on all viruses, bacteria, ill wind...! I hope your routine settles in pleasant waters soon. :)

I just opened the package with A woman's face, but I'll postpone watching it till the weekend.

Thanks for reminding me of Hugo, it's been recommended to me before and I can't remember now how it happened that I didn't go to see it on a big screen--was planning to.

Vertigo, eh? Interesting.

My favourite Hitchcock is Shadow of a doubt.

Tellingly, Joseph Cotten's opening scenes were likened to the classic "vampire laid out in his crypt" imagery.

Editat: oct. 29, 2017, 5:34pm

Two discoveries this weekend... someone anticipated my "last days of mankind" scenario all the way back in 1975... ;)

and... this is the amazing-est!--or maybe not--guess I simply don't hang out with the right crowd...

a chap called Gustaf Sobin actually wrote a NOVEL about the Veidt-Garbo movie that never happened, In Pursuit of a Vanishing Star!!

From Sobin's obituary in The Guardian:

Sobin's first novel, Venus Blue (1991), focused on Hollywood actresses of the Golden Age, showed his relish of film and ability to depict women. His second, Dark Mirrors (1992), was slightly muddled, linking a writer's affair with the plot of his own novel. If this work did not quite gel, it was a harbinger of the intense, dreamlike world of The Fly-Truffler. With a rich vocabulary - "telluric", "autarky" - The Fly-Truffler tells of grieving Philippe Cabassac, a linguistics lecturer who ekes out an existence on a dwindling family estate, haunted by the memory of a student, Julieta, with whom he has had an affair. Evoking the stark landscape of the area, The Fly-Truffler is that rare thing, a French novel written, in English, by an American.

Sobin always liked to surprise, and his fourth novel, In Pursuit of a Vanishing Star (2003), returned to film, this time drawing on an incident in the early, European life of Greta Garbo as parallel with the dying narrator's own memories of young love.

nov. 1, 2017, 9:10pm

>27 LolaWalser: Thanks for your good wishes about my routine.

My favourite Hitchcock is probably 'Psycho'.

>28 LolaWalser: Well, that is priceless, that someone wrote a book about the Garbo/Veidt movie that was never made (that you, hopefully, won't ever need to magic up)!

I saw 'Jew Suss'. I thought the overall message of the film (against racism/anti-semitism) was commendable, and I would guess that is what drew Veidt to the project. But I thought it overall an odd vehicle to put the message across. However, it is very moving, particularly the final sequence with Veidt displaying coruscating emotion (I don't think it was too sentimental).

I think Cedric Hardwicke was probably directed to be so laboured and ponderous in the delivery of his lines, perhaps mistakenly in the belief that the approach added weight or importance (I've seen a similar approach in Hollywood biblical 'epics').

Ironic that 'Jew Suss' finishes with a message that 'perhaps one day the walls will crumble...and all the World will be one people', given the state of the World today (the wording also made me think of Trump's wall - I was taken from 1934 to 2017 in a heartbeat).

You pointed out how Veidt uses his hands in a previous post (post 2) and I did notice that in 'Jew Suss' in the scenes with his loved ones. I also re-watched 'A Woman's Face' and noticed how he used his hands in the absolutely astonishing scene with Joan Crawford in the attic - tapping her face, caressing her head, and then practically strangling her...!

Editat: nov. 2, 2017, 11:40am

>2 LolaWalser:,>29 Rembetis:

I watched Dark Journey a few nights ago. I liked it and got so absorbed that after it finished I realised I'd forgotten about paying particular attention to CV's performance - hands, etc. To be honest, it took me a bit of concentration to keep up with the plot.

Given the 'open-heartedness' of the film (can't think of a better description at the moment - I mean particularly the sympathetic portrayal of a German spy-chief) and the time the review was written, I think the New York Times writer's 'tsk-tsk' comment was crass. The sentiments - if that's the right word - tone of the film struck me as quite unusual.

nov. 2, 2017, 11:31pm

I'm intrigued.

In the day just gone I came across a Folio Society Jerome K. Jerome: My Life and Times in an used book shop. As a youngster, Three Men in a Boat was one of my favourite novels and I used to quite literally fall about laughing at it.

I've just been reading the introduction to My Life and Times (past 3:00am - really should be in bed) and there's reference to the story The Passing of the Third Floor Back. "Hang on - that's a film in my YT Conrad Veidt play list!"

The mind slightly boggles at the combination of Jerome K. Jerome and Conrad Veidt. As I said, I'm intrigued. I've downloaded the story to my Kindle and I suppose I'd better resist the temptation to read and watch right now, and go to bed. Tomorrow evening, perhaps ... er ... I think I mean this evening.

Editat: nov. 4, 2017, 3:36pm

Aack, I've fallen into my pre-winter vacation black hole earlier than expected! Not much time for anything...

>30 alaudacorax:

I thought the tsk-ing was just Americans reminding Brits not to go to war--in 1937 it looked avoidable to many--and of course they prefer to do it for sheer plunder.

The passing of the Third Floor Back is rather untypical for Veidt so I wouldn't lend too much weight to the association... it's a very saccharine story, in the vein of Christmassy feel-good pap. Some good actors, though, and it's a change to see Veidt play no less than an angel.

>29 Rembetis:

Still haven't watched A woman's face (tomorrow I hope), and in the meantime I received also F.P.1 doesn't answer. I think that will complete what's possible to find/buy of Veidt's on the market at the moment.

I'd talk more about Süss and else but no time right now. I took some screencaps--I hope I'll manage to post before long.

Editat: nov. 5, 2017, 4:25am

>32 LolaWalser: - I thought the tsk-ing was just Americans reminding Brits not to go to war ...

Yes, but I thought the sentiments of the film were the other way, reminding the Brits that Germans were human, too.

nov. 7, 2017, 9:39am

Frankly, in 1937 I think the Germans were long past due being reminded of the humanity of others. Dachau had been running for four years already, Buchenwald opened for business that year... to say nothing of racial laws and all the violence, orchestrated and spontaneous, that had started way back with Hitler's breakthrough in the twenties.

There is a Veidt movie that speaks volumes on that point, though--Die andere Seite (The other side) from 1931--only 12 years or so since the end of WWI--based on R. C. Sherriff's Journey's end. Yes, Veidt and co-stars play--Brits. Veidt is Captain Stanhope, a beacon of fortitude to his men, but in reality a shattered man who only makes it through his trauma and terror by drinking.

In this scene a terrified officer begs him for release from duty due to "neuralgia"--Stanhope blocks him and orders him to choose between being a man and getting a bullet between the eyes, from his gun:

After a tense one-minute standoff and the young man's hysterical breakdown, Stanhope picks up the pieces:

nov. 7, 2017, 9:44am

Even worse is the ordeal Stanhope goes through with another of his officers, Lieutenant Raleigh, who hero-worships the older man since schooldays:

Raleigh dies, in disbelief that he is dying (as Veidt caresses his face):

nov. 7, 2017, 9:46am

Seconds later Stanhope climbs out into the last battle and his death, which he very clearly SEES:

A shot of a tremendous explosion, and Ende.

nov. 7, 2017, 9:52am

The movie is available but unfortunately only in German (still, linking for the record): Die andere Seite.

nov. 10, 2017, 9:13am

The renovation of Conrad Veidt's London house, with some interesting views of the façade (likely the only element retaining much of the original):

Groves Natcheva delicately extends 1930s Hampstead home

The original house was built for the German actor Conrad Veidt who fled Nazi Germany in 1933, and while the original architect is unknown, dark brick and tiles with subtle Art Deco motifs run through the detailing.

nov. 10, 2017, 9:24am

From David Thomson's entry on Veidt in The new biographical dictionary of film:

Veidt was the most highly strung and romantically handsome of German expressionist actors. He was a creature from Poe's nightmares--tall, gaunt, glowing with a mixture of illness and ecstatic anxiety. Amid so many overweight actors, Veidt was an attenuated, hypersensitive figure, the aesthete or artist tormented by dark forces and driven to violence. His movements were deliberately slowed and prolonged, and the somnambulist Cesare in Das Kabinett des Dr Caligari (19, Robert Wiene) is one of the most influential performances in the history of fantasy and horror film. Veidt was supremely able to suggest the noble hero possessed by some torturing spirit. Thus the riveting first close-up of Cesare, a pale face and harrowed eyes, awakened from sleep; the rhythmic, boldly diagonal way he creeps along the wall to kidnap Lil Dagover; and the sense of emotional exhaustion in his collapse at the end of the chase. These are dancer's movements. Lotte Eisner speaks of the way in Orlacs Hände (24, Wiene) Veidt "dances a kind of Expressionist ballet, bending and twisting extravagantly, simultaneously drawn and repelled by the murderous dagger held by hands which do not seem to belong to him."

nov. 10, 2017, 8:08pm

>30 alaudacorax: I am glad that you enjoyed 'Dark Journey'. I too had to concentrate to keep up with the plot! (I mention in post 4 above, the website that says the film is cut by at least 15 minutes).

>34 LolaWalser: Many thanks for the wonderful sequence of screen caps from 'Die andere Seite'. It looks like another excellent performace from Veidt. Pity it isn't available with English subtitles.

>38 LolaWalser: Thanks for the interesting extract from the Thomson book, and the link about the renovation of Veidt's London home. I wonder if Veidt had intended to return to London from Hollywood had he not died so young.

I have recieved the Grapevine dvd of 'Lucrezia Borgia', and plan to watch it soon.

Hope you have a wonderful Winter vacation Lola.

nov. 11, 2017, 5:44am

>38 LolaWalser:

That house has me perplexed. I really can't work out what I think about it.

And having written that I discover that the website only lets you look at the pictures once ...

Editat: nov. 11, 2017, 10:12am

>41 alaudacorax:

I like all the windows--hopefully there's some sunshine to catch on occasion. ;)

>40 Rembetis:

Thanks, I leave in two weeks and should be back after Christmas.

Yes, I think Die andere Seite is one of Veidt's best performances and movies in general (speaking, as ever, from a necessarily limited experience). Another puzzle--given that the Deutsche Kinemathek has a good copy of the film, why on earth doesn't someone issue it? As an example of German filmmaking that assumes the point of view of "the enemy"*--and this after the appearance of Hitler and little before such things would become unimaginable, let alone doable--it has interest greater than for Veidt's fans.

*Veidt, and probably many, maybe most of the men who made the movie, was conscripted in WWI in the first wave. Veidt himself saw action on the Eastern Front, then typhus and general ill health disqualified him from combat and he spent two years acting in a military theatre for the troops.

Oh, I saw A woman's face--Crawford's movie, but that's for sure the best sound role Veidt had had in America (I think the general in Escape had the potential for a really great character, deeper than Barring, but the script just didn't give him the space and attention).

Speaking of Escape, this might amuse you... from J. C. Allen's biography (although "hagiography" may be more apt):

One very well-known film critic of the day wrote that the villain (Veidt) was much more attractive than the hero of the film (Robert Taylor). Veidt's mature good looks, and his poise and charm were especially noticeable in this film, in sharp contrast to Robert Taylor's irritable and loud boorishness.

Assuming this opinion was more widely shared (and I certainly don't see how it could not be! ;)), it would go some way to explain Hollywood's penchant for "uglification" of Veidt.

Editat: nov. 18, 2017, 12:59pm

This is hands down the funniest thing I've read about Veidt yet (i.e. why Gussy Holl divorced him). I must get Rosay's book--the translation in this excerpt is atrocious (but clear enough as far as meaning goes):

excerpt of Françoise Rosay’s memoirs (translated by {ninja chipmunks united}) where she reminisces about meeting Conrad Veidt in Hollywood in the late 20s.

Also funny (and actually very informative!), Veidt's film persona analysed through TV Tropes:

nov. 18, 2017, 6:00am

>43 LolaWalser:

Funny, but ... did she divorce him because they were all in women's dresses or because he wore her brand-new Paris gown?

Editat: nov. 18, 2017, 12:58pm

I'll go out on a limb and suggest that was probably just the proverbial straw... ;) I must say I wondered about how does one go from Veidt to Jannings but fair enough--no way could the latter fit into her dresses.

Some interesting photos and notes on another pretty much impossible to find American movie of Veidt's, the 1942 Nazi Agent, with Jules Dassin's reminiscences:

Nazi Agent (1942): Reflections on Working with Conrad Veidt

(...) {Jules Dassin told Patrick McGilligan:} "The first job I was ever offered at MGM--I never knew I'd be so thrilled--was a film with Conrad Veidt {Nazi Agent, 1941}. I remembered as a youth sitting in a theater in New York watching Conrad Veidt...This first job was a typical MGM masterpiece, with Nazis and anti-Nazis, and Conrad Veidt playing two parts--the good German and the bad Nazi. I remember when I was introduced to Veidt. I had this problem of always looking very young, much younger than I was, even when I was young. I was brought to the executive office, and in came Veidt--a tall, tall, beautiful guy with these gray eyes. They said, 'This is your director.' And he looked down at me, said 'Nein,' turned and left. {Laughs} He was persuaded to try it for one day. (...)

Things I want to post about in the future:

*Veidt's Expressionist manner

*the "laying of the hands"

*every movie individually as I watch them

*the what ifs and could beens of his career--if there hadn't been Nazism and war; if he'd lived longer; if MGM had had the sense and taste of Alexander Korda, or even a basic inkling about what treasure they had on their hands...

*instances of straight men calling Veidt "beautiful"


nov. 19, 2017, 4:49am

>45 LolaWalser: - ... instances of straight men calling Veidt "beautiful" ...

He had the kind of face that makes me wish I could draw a lot better than I can.

nov. 20, 2017, 11:13am

>46 alaudacorax:

SAME here! :)

There's a very poor copy on YT of Der Gang in die Nacht, 1921, (apparently released in English as The Dark Road), the earliest surviving Murnau, and the only surviving Murnau-Veidt movie out of the five they made. A comment there led me to the page of forthcoming releases from the Filmmuseum project and the good-good news is that the brilliant new version the MOMA link talks about is scheduled to be released on DVD, but the bad-good part is that months later there is still no firm date or time frame announced...

I'm delighted also by the pending release of Algol, the tragedy of power, a science fiction movie involving tons of Veidt's colleagues and connections--a curiosity I'd mention specially is the (dancing) presence of Anita Berber's husband Sebastian Droste, a character as flamboyant as she was herself. Their most famous collaboration was a multimedia (as we'd say today) project called Die Tänze des Lasters, des Grauens und der Ekstase--The Dances of Vice, Horror and Ecstasy. What can one say, one person's marital bliss is quiet domesticity; another's a Decadent Apocalypse... :)

nov. 26, 2017, 1:12pm

I've been following this thread with interest but nothing to contribute, but >46 alaudacorax: reminded me of a chap offering prints of various horror film and general gothic-related subjects, including one of Veldt as Cesare. so I bought one:

nov. 26, 2017, 7:06pm

>48 housefulofpaper:

Wonderful. The eyes, it's all about those stunning eyes...

Editat: nov. 27, 2017, 9:47pm

Another dreamer in thrall to the fascination of old movies and endlessly musing on their real irreality was the poet Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. From "Film 1924" (my translation):

What a thrill it must have been/
what a sensation/
as Conrad Veidt and Lya de Putti/
stirred upon each other, as/
they bestirred themselves properly./
There are shadows more real //
for being shadows, the shadows of shadows of what never was.

nov. 27, 2017, 6:37pm

>50 LolaWalser:

Brinkmann is a poet I had been totally ignorant of before this evening. Thanks for this glimpse of his work.

nov. 27, 2017, 9:47pm

You're welcome. I think I'll edit again... (how do translators ever decide when to STOP?!)

nov. 28, 2017, 7:41pm

I'm sorry I haven't found the time for this board lately - life getting in the way again (and not in a good way!)

>42 LolaWalser: Is there any reason you are aware of that the Germans don't seem keen on issuing the Veidt treasures in their vaults? It seems odd.

Oh, I am happy that you saw and enjoyed 'A Woman's Face'. The scene where Veidt first sees Crawford's deformed face is electric and one of my favourites in cinema. The camera captures Veidt's reaction and inner thoughts in close up. Crawford expects him to recoil, while he displays a quiet, serene calm; outwardly ignoring the deformity completely - - but his eyes - so much going on - surprise, fascination, calculation. How do we get that information from his eyes, without a word being said? It's a rare talent.

Lovely quote from J. C. Allen's biography - and so true!

Thanks so much for the excerpt of Francoise Rosay's memoirs (how hilarious - explains alot too!), the TV Tropes (funny and interesting), and Dassin's reminiscences of 'Nazi Agent'. Veidt did seem to make a deep impression on colleagues, with (as you point out) many straight colleagues noting his beauty (which is very odd indeed for those times, but understandable ;-).

Thanks too for the great poem from Brinkmann (a poet I too was unaware of)

>48 housefulofpaper: That's a stunning print. Multiple eyes!

>49 LolaWalser: Another wonderful photo! Many thanks.

des. 8, 2017, 5:13am

>53 Rembetis:

Sorry to hear about continuing upsets.

Why is there so little about Veidt in general is something I can only speculate about... a combination of many unfortunate factors and bad luck, I think, but even so, I wonder at the lack (as far as I can tell) of academic interest in him (life/work). I suppose the first thing to remember is that the Nazis actively destroyed everything they could find of his in Germany and occupied countries. And the banning and suppression of Veidt's work lasted more than a decade--nor was postwar Germany considerably friendlier or more interested in people whose resistance forever shamed the majority... Quite a lot of surviving early material seems to have been cobbled from archives scattered all over the globe; no special great discoveries in Germany proper, it seems.

But it's an interesting and inexhaustible discussion, given how little primary documentation there seems to exist. I keep coming back to these questions myself.

des. 11, 2017, 5:56am

For some reason, one of my facebook 'suggestions' this morning was for 'Psychotronic Cinema'. Guess whose face is their profile image? It's the 'The Man Who Laughs', 'Joker' pic ...

des. 31, 2017, 2:19pm

For info - talk (with clips) about Conrad by Thomas Hamilton (director/co-writer of the great documentary 'Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave a Damn') including interview with Vivienne Phillips of The Conrad Society:

Editat: gen. 7, 2018, 2:18pm

>56 Rembetis:

Thanks so much, most interesting! So much one could comment on--the contrast to Barrymore, for example, is something that made me too first realise the special quality of Veidt's acting and provides a good standard to judge both actors. Oh, and in Germany and Central Europe Veidt had been a "matinee idol", i.e. seen as a sexy star, for much longer than since Rome Express!

What piques my curiosity the most--Vivienne Phillips mentions " a girl called Pat Battle who was writing a biography (of Veidt's)"; that's obviously the same Pat Wilks Battle who provided the biography in Soister's book... well, I wonder why did she stop at that, why not write a book-length biography--and a REAL one, not a stilted, censored affair like J. C. Allen's? Puzzles wrapped in enigmas.

This year's Berlinale is presenting, within a "Weimar cinema revisited" module, at least two of Veidt's movies--Die andere Seite and Christian Wahnschaffe (both parts!):


Anyone fancy Berlin in February? :)

gen. 8, 2018, 2:20pm

>57 LolaWalser: Glad you liked the Conrad talk, and thanks for the interesting information about the Weimar cinema season in Berlin (hopefully they will go on to do more about getting good quality copies of the films available commercially). Berlin in February sounds delightful! If only!

I found time to watch the 'Grapevine' copy of 'Lucrezia Borgia' at Christmas. It was delightful, miles better than the pixelated copy I previously watched on you-tube. What a performance, pure evil!

gen. 10, 2018, 5:59am

This is probably a pointless post, but ...

I've just read The Nursing Home Murder by Ngaio Marsh, first published in 1935. Quite out of the blue, these lines cropped up:

You think because he's got a face like Conrad Veidt he's a suitable leader of the people - a man to make laws. Typical bourgeois ignorance and stupidity!

Editat: gen. 10, 2018, 6:05am

>59 alaudacorax:

That reminds me, I've got a batch of books to catalogue - a Kindle, an Amazon account and insomnia are a wallet-nibbling combination ...

gen. 10, 2018, 10:10am

>59 alaudacorax:

Oh, that's great! On the wishlist it goes. Beauvoir and Ngaio Marsh so far--looks like a list of books that casually mention Veidt would look quite puzzling to the naked eye. :)

But see? He was a household name once upon a time.

>58 Rembetis:

Glad to hear that! By the way, if you buy directly from their website (getting F.P. 1 doesn't answer was cheaper that way than via Amazon), there's a 10% off code, "THANKYOU".

gen. 11, 2018, 4:04am

>61 LolaWalser: - But see? He was a household name once upon a time.

... and, from those lines, not as a villain ...

Editat: gen. 11, 2018, 11:20am

>62 alaudacorax:

Yes, in his European career (as opposed to Hollywood) he actually played a large variety of characters, including quite a few "noble" types.

Plus he was a babe, have I mentioned that before? :)

gen. 11, 2018, 7:47pm

>61 LolaWalser: Many thanks for the tip about buying direct from Grapevine - much appreciated!

gen. 22, 2018, 1:50pm

>64 Rembetis:

A million apologies--I just found the original slip with the discount code and it's "THANKS10". I'm so embarrassed--I hope it didn't cause you any inconvenience. That's it, I have to start checking everything.

gen. 22, 2018, 7:59pm

>65 LolaWalser: No need to apologise Lola - I haven't got around to ordering anything...yet! I spent like Imelda Marcos recently - not on shoes, but Christmas presents, blu ray box sets, and the Folio Society sale. I am trying to rein my spendthrift impulses in for a while! Grapevine have got quite a few interesting titles that are very tempting though (particularly 'Beggars of Life', a couple of the Lon Chaney's, and the two Veidt titles I haven't got - 'FP1 Doesn't Answer' & 'The Passing of the Third Floor Back').

gen. 23, 2018, 7:57pm

>57 LolaWalser: The 'Film Archiv Austria' is currently running a huge Veidt season, started 11 January, finishes 28 February:

On this facebook page, someone says they have seen the restored version of 'Christian Wahnschaffe', that it 'looks glorious' and the restoration took 'the good part of two years'.

gen. 23, 2018, 9:18pm

>67 Rembetis:

OMYGODDDDDD...!!! OPIUM! And everything else! Rasputin! The Student! The Black Hussar! The last company and DER REIGEN..!! The blackly luscious and luminous young Veidt! Why oh why don't they issue all that stuff, I simply can't understand. What's a body to do, I can't possibly live on stand-by for a retrospective somewhere, anywhere in the whole wide world again in my lifetime. Let me at least have the DVDs... And to think I'm going to Vienna in October! *SOB* It's like someone heard my wishes and scrambled fulfillment! Betcha October's when someone in, what do I know, Montevideo, will decide to have a Veidt gala next...!

But still. At least we know now all of this exists and LIKELY in good shape too.

Thanks so much for this heads up, who knows if I'd have seen. Oh, and whew, I'm glad my faulty memory didn't compromise your shopping.

Editat: feb. 18, 2018, 6:35pm

I'm about a third of the way through The Hands of Orlac. I was absolutely fascinated; then 'derailed'.

There's quite a long and powerful build-up to Orlac's meeting with his wife, on coming home from the hospital. Then he comes home, comes into the door frame of the room where she's waiting. She walks falteringly towards him, holds out a little posy of flowers (a hark back to an earlier, very poetic bit of dialogue) and ... nothing - an exterior scene of someone loitering suspiciously outside, then we go to a scene where he attempts to renew his relationship with his piano. Surely there's a bit missing?

feb. 18, 2018, 5:58pm

The Hands of Orlac again:

The body language in this is such, am I the only one to be thinking of shadow puppets?

Having written that, a little searching online and I realise I was thinking of Lotte Reiniger, but the dates are wrong so that the influence could be the other way - but what tradition was Reiniger coming from?

feb. 18, 2018, 6:27pm

The Hands of Orlac yet again:

In a PM, Lola enthused over Paul Mercer's score for the print she linked for me.

I have to say that it's so good it's several times come close to distracting me from the film. I don't mean it doesn't fit - it really enhances the visual, but every so often I just want to close my eyes and listen.

feb. 18, 2018, 6:33pm

One last The Hands of Orlac post:

Max Schrenk in Nosferatuwas clearly in the back of the mind of Veidt or Robert Wiene or both.

feb. 18, 2018, 6:34pm

The trouble with watching films on a laptop is it's too easy to pause, switch tabs and post on LT ...

feb. 18, 2018, 7:15pm

>70 alaudacorax:

Marionettes, perhaps?

They have there place in German Romantic thought, apparently. There's an essay, "On the Marionette Theatre" by Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811).

feb. 20, 2018, 1:45pm

Guysssss!!!! GUESS WHERE I AM....

VIENNA!!! hahahahahahaaaaa

Guess what i just bought.....


geez typing on pho e to post su x

But OH


feb. 20, 2018, 1:47pm

Rembetis THANKS

totally wdnt hap wout you

feb. 20, 2018, 1:51pm

Anyone fan cy postcard PM me target coordinates. Mebbe i can find Veidt pictures. ..

feb. 20, 2018, 1:58pm

Paul so glad u seem to hv.liked Orlac. Influences o Rei iger eh, shadow play? Many many early animation contraptions com ine that graphics + movement

feb. 23, 2018, 5:17pm

>75 LolaWalser: WOW! How brilliant! I hope you have a fantastic time in Vienna by day and with Conrad at night! And when you get back home, I hope you let us know what you thought, particularly on RASPUTIN (*swoons*) and The Black Hussar! Enjoy!

feb. 24, 2018, 3:37pm

Hi! Ive been trying to post a pic but no joy. Check out my Junk Drawer-- newest is Movie loot Vienna 2018--not that it can b mistaken !
Two Veidt retrospc posters-- bcos THREE wd be just MAAAAD!
(Insane laughter) argh this typing is tiring--will tell all by & by
Met guys who did the thing they cant explain dearth of Veidt either

Editat: març 6, 2018, 4:37pm


Well i dont know

Sorry if output is a mess on yr side

Editat: feb. 24, 2018, 6:02pm

>81 LolaWalser: Whatever you're attempting to post isn't right, you have "" which is not an image, there's no file type indicated. If you right-click the images and "copy image source" (or whatever your browser says) that's what you need in there.
Ah I see, it's the URL of the page. The image is


feb. 25, 2018, 3:52am

Thanks bunches sweet Monkey!! Cant figure out posting pix on phone

feb. 25, 2018, 4:53am

No problem! Let's see *checks* on my phone if I do a long-touch on an image on LT it gives me the option to open it in a new tab, and that page is just the image URL, rather than the page the image was on, so that one could be copied for making the pic show. Something like that ought to work for yours, too, for any future phone-picture-posting needs you may have. :D

feb. 25, 2018, 8:01am


>81 LolaWalser:, >82 .Monkey.:

Thanks to both of you. And look - you've given me the extra bit of knowledge I needed to paste pictures using a Mac (credit where it's due: the print is by Richard Wells who tweets as "@slippery_jack").

Editat: març 3, 2018, 8:43am

Hello honeys I'm hoooome! What a trip! Where to begin!

Overview: Minus the travelling days, I had ten full days in Vienna, of which the middle EIGHT I saw a Veidt movie --more often movieS!--in the evening on a big screen EVERY DAY!!!

What I saw: Lucrezia Borgia; Contraband; The spy in black (twice); The passing of the third floor back; The wandering Jew; The thief of Bagdad; Nazi agent; Under the red robe; Rome express; Rasputin, der Dämon der Frauen; and Der schwarze Husar.

Of these, The wandering Jew was the only one that I had never seen before. I had seen none of the rest on a big screen (i.e. in a proper cinema) before. All were film prints, in the original languages without subtitles or dubbing.

I'll comment more on individual titles later. As for the whole trip... bet you thought I was joking when I asked about the interest in the Berlinale? :) Well, it's true I was only about 23% seriously toying with the idea to hop on a plane for a mere THREE movies (Die andere Seite and the two parts of the Christian Wahnschaffe adaptation), but still... And then Rembetis dropped that bomb...! I knew instantly I'd have to go, but the trouble was immense because during the sequence that I would have liked to catch most of all (given that it was already too late for the ENTIRE retrospective!), the one containing Opium; Der Student von Prag; Der Reigen, and others that I hadn't seen at all; the logistics were impossible, I had to hold the fort here. When the Student came and went I even thought "why bother then at all", which is why I didn't mention anything here. It's not that I dislike the later phase of Veidt's work--it's that I like his early silents and that beautiful magical elf persona so much! But then as time went on... Anything was better than nothing. Just the idea that I could go someplace and watch Veidt movies among other people for DAYS, as if it were normal, as if it were all still alive, was too too entrancing.

I'll upload and post now a few pics from the Metro Kinokulturhaus. I'm kicking myself for not taking info on the history of the location--I thought it would all be online, but seems not, the website itself talks only about the period since the Film Archiv Austria took over--it was actually built in the 1880/90s as a picture palace and always served that purpose. They were still renovating and expanding the original structure (more stories, additional theatre) as late as 2015, but the "Historisches Saal" retains its early look.

Editat: març 3, 2018, 9:14am

Please forgive the crap quality, I've an anti-talent for taking pics.

Inside of the cinema, the foyer--ticket box on the right, one of the DVD stands on the left, stairs lead to upper floors with another much smaller theatre, the "historical room" is past the ticket box on the right.

març 3, 2018, 9:02am

Oh joy! :)

There's a bar and little tables, chairs and armchairs scattered around the foyer...

març 3, 2018, 9:12am

Inside the old, "historical room"... The person up front in the hoodie was a pretty blonde girl with a gamine haircut; she showed up for several movies. The audience, by the way, was generally very spare. Possibly, since I was present mostly at second showings, the first waves were bigger; but overall, I don't get the impression this retrospective drew large crowds. Rasputin, which had only one showing, had the largest audience that I saw, about 20+ people. The thief of Bagdad came in second. For most I think we were maybe ten-twelve people or so. Genders balanced, as far as I could tell, mostly loners, tending to older, but there were youngsters too every time. I noticed a few, all men, old enough to have trod or at least crawled the earth during Veidt's lifetime. One of these, and looking oldest by far (I'd say eighties or even older), was also the only other person besides yours truly present at every showing in the period I went (note, though, that I didn't go to the two showings of Above suspicion, the only omission I made--too depressing).

març 3, 2018, 9:21am

Finally, I desperately wondered whether to be that obnoxious person and futz around with taking pictures during the film--at least a few souvenirs... I thought I'd try it during the picture I cared for the least, Under the red robe, and try I did, crouching and shielding the glare from others as much as I could... hence the weird angle and the looming backs of the seats... but it was too much hassle, the click was too loud, and what the hell, I wanted my eyes glued on the screen on the whole time--especially during the movies I'd want to record the most!

març 4, 2018, 2:08pm

>86 LolaWalser: Welcome home! The Metro Kinokulturhaus looks gorgeous, a beautiful picture palace with lush red curtains over the screen yet (reminds me of my youth before the age of soul-less tin can auditoriums). That's really sad that the audiences were so sparse for the films. But how brilliant that you went and had a fantastic time!

març 4, 2018, 4:22pm

Yes, yes it WAS! :)

The only regret I have is not knowing about this much earlier, in--well, it would have to have been November at least, so I could have gone FOR THE WHOLE THING! FIFTY days and THIRTY-NINE movies, mes amis! Because when is it ever going to happen again? Never, that's when.

No clue how I'd have swung it. Probably had to quit job and try to relocate to Vienna for good. Claim insanity. A love affair. Amnesia. Or something. BUT I WOULD HAVE! Oh, I would have. :)

However, it seems they went live with it pretty much at the last moment, just days before the retrospective started! It's unclear the website was even running before January? So you pretty much had to be there and follow the goings-on--weirdly, for instance, the printed March programme wasn't out yet by March 2. There were posters for a few specific programmes (I wish I could have seen the movie and exhibition around the newly discovered print of Die Stadt ohne Juden), but no full schedule posted.

And I've had a Veidt Google alert for several years--the Berlinale came up way back--but not a peep about Vienna, then or now.

I also had the impression they did pretty much nothing to advertise the retrospective. There was a poster inside and the booklets, but nothing outside. I'd have papered the city all over. Where were the students? The club members?

And yet someone came up with this HUGE retrospective dedicated to a forgotten actor. In my decades of cinematheque-going I have never seen a programme this big; not on themes, not on directors, to say nothing of actors. Who'd even qualify for something similar? Chaplin? Suppose you told someone, let's do a programme on Chaplin (Bergman; neorealism; Griffith; whathaveyou...) containing THIRTY-NINE movies, what would they say? "Um... how about twelve?"

So, on the one hand, a stupendously ambitious, rich project; but on the other, as if all that was done sort of casually...

març 4, 2018, 7:32pm

>92 LolaWalser: It is very rare to have a season of 39 films! Our National Film Theatre in London used to be good at wide, sometimes comprehensive, retrospectives, and they still sometimes pull the stops out (they are currently in the third month of a huge Bergman season, showing everything he produced for the cinema screen and a lot of his tv work too).

That is so strange that the season wasn't publicised in Vienna. I would have expected posters in the U-bahn stations at the least. And surely the Film Archiv would have engaged with film schools, teachers and students in and around Vienna? Very odd. I think that more people would have travelled from abroad too had there been more awareness (one acquaintance I bumped into last week who wasn't aware said 'Aarrrh! Why didn't I hear about this in time?') Barely a mention on social media across the boards about silent film, classic horror etc.

They need someone in charge of publicity at the Film Archiv Austria..!

març 5, 2018, 6:43am

>93 Rembetis:

Oh A-men! It's the truth.

I think that more people would have travelled from abroad too had there been more awareness

Exactly--I can't imagine it wouldn't have drawn considerable interest at least among the (presumably statistically more numerous) fans in Germany--or any other place Vienna's so fabulously a mere 15-20 euro ticket away from.

As it is, when I told the chap who led the project that I had come from Canada just for this, he was all, wow, unbelievable, international interest?! Dude. Maybe a Veidt fan can't be expected to be all on the up about globalisation, social media etc. ;)

I asked about attendance only in the most general terms after it became clear to me how few people came (and, by the way, tickets are very affordable, much cheaper than Toronto, I got ten for 65 euro--the usual ten-block discount--plus two for 17) and sadly, overall it was really low, without a single showing being sold out.

"My" gang here back in the Jackman Hall days filled the theatre to the gills. True-Heart Susie or Apichatpong Weerasethakul's latest, we showed up in numbers.

I roamed all over the old city and beyond (this trip I was on a special mission to do the "Red Vienna" walks, which flung me quite a bit outside the Ring) and saw nary a mention, scrap, word or picture referring to the retrospective. Dropped by the uni (math faculty) to say hi to a friend, saw nothing around there either...

març 5, 2018, 2:17pm

A delight to see such joy in a series of posts. I'm quite envious. And how sad - missed opportunity, really - that nobody seemed to be really hard-selling the retrospective.

març 6, 2018, 7:44am

I had a ball--but now the time of penance is upon me!--nothing but toil and hailmarys and bread and water as far as the calendar stretches...! This cricket must hang her castanets! ;)

Before I forget everything, a few notes on the movies seen...

Lucrezia Borgia--Rembetis, you may be glad to hear that our Grapevine Video version is almost 40 minutes LONGER than the one I saw in Vienna, which cut entirely the initial sequences with Lucrezia disguised as the gypsy (her first meeting with Alfonso) and the introductory sequence to Cesare when he pretends to poison the prisoner--now that's a real pity, as it establishes his character so beautifully. Also cut--severely--is Cesare's fight with Sforza and his death. There are many other shorter cuts, but in counterbalance, in places there were scenes or shots that, as far as I can tell, are missing from the Grapevine--including, I'm sorry to report, several splendid close-ups of Veidt. The scene when he meets Noemi in the street was longer in the film print. There was also more Wegener (as Cesare's main hired thug), after Noemi's abduction. The cuts also changed the chronology of events somewhat.

The film was less dark than the DVD, without the occasional flares, the image more consistently good and somewhat sharper... but all in all, the DVD seems really good to have.

The thief of Bagdad--the quality of the print seemed to me considerably less than the quality of the Criterion DVD, although I suppose this is closer to what the original audiences saw. Still, it was fun to see on big screen.

Under the red robe--this was the biggest surprise of the lot. I'll never positively LIKE this movie but I found it actually enjoyable when seen in a decent print (as a corollary, I would recommend avoiding the copy floating on YouTube). "Annabella", whoever she was (presumably a big star, given the pretentiousness of billing under first name only), seemed more bearable this time--or maybe the awful acting by the women in The wandering Jew humbled my standards.

I hope to discuss the rest at greater length when/if we continue to talk about Veidt.

març 8, 2018, 12:18pm

>96 LolaWalser: I am sorry to hear that blood sweat and tears is all you have to look forward to in your calendar :-( I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel...

It never ceases to amaze me how silent films have wildly different versions floating around. It is a great shame that the Vienna copy of Lucrezia Borgia was missing the excellent introductory sequence to Cesare (a great loss), and that Cesare's fight with Sforza was cut severely, etc. At least you had extra scenes that weren't in the Grapevine Video - including more Veidt close ups, by way of compensation!

I have yet to see 'Under the Red Robe'. I have seen a few films with Annabella, and none of her performances stick in my mind. I think she was a popular, award winning French actress, but she failed to make a mark in any of her American pictures. She was married to Tyrone Power.

'Rome Express' turned up one of our tv channels (Talking Pictures) and I am hoping to watch it over the next few days...

març 9, 2018, 5:18pm

>97 Rembetis:

Ah, the movie in which Veidt is introduced to the British public... eating a banana. :)

Do give us your impressions, and I'll share mine.

març 10, 2018, 8:05pm

>98 LolaWalser: I watched 'Rome Express', and I thought it was delightful, albeit the resolution was a bit rushed and hackneyed.

I was very surprised how fluid and energetic the camerawork was for an early talkie (how did they get the bulky cameras to move around with such speed?) The Director and cinematographer hid well the fact that the film was made entirely in Shepherds Bush Studios. Apart from some dodgy 'miniature' shots, I felt we were really on a train, speeding its way to Rome.

The script had a good mix of comedy and action, and the ensemble cast worked well together (though Esther Ralston was the weakest link to me - I thought her scenes weren't well scripted from about half way through).

Finlay Currie was great fun as the American publicist, and Gordon Harker was good as the mind-numbingly BORING golf fanatic. The film contained the best performance I have seen from Cedric Hardwicke. For once, his stagey delivery worked in his favour as a repugnant, social-climbing, cruel and stingy multi-millionaire. His character was probably the worst in the film to my mind - worse than Veidt (and that's saying something given what Veidt gets up to).

Veidt provides another delicious and intelligent performance, the most polished in the film. At first I thought he wasn't being given enough to do, but as the film developed, I was very impressed. Truly sinister, unpredictable, scary, and ruthless, combined with a sophisticated charm and elegance that almost makes you want him to get away with anything...! I loved little touches like when he leaned over the coshed Harold Huth and affectionately said 'Goodnight sweetheart' (probably echoing the hit Al Bowly song from 1931).

Donald Calthorp as the man on the run from Veidt was also a delight. I particularly enjoyed the scenes around the card game where Calthorp keeps on winning (very uncomfortably), with Veidt seemingly happy to lose lots of money; Calthorp realising what a dire predicament he is in, with a couple of the card players completely oblivious as to what is actually going on.

This is a very good, exciting ensemble train based thriller. Better than either version of 'Murder on the Orient Express' for my money. Perhaps as good as 'The Lady Vanishes'.

març 10, 2018, 8:36pm

Very nice write-up, I concur.

Doesn't Veidt seem more alive and electric than anyone else on screen? Like dropping a glistening anaconda in a pond with sleepy ducklings.

There's a short scene when he's blithely incriminating the movie star as a shameless hussy and he gives her a dirty once-over that's out of some other movie entirely. Most amusing.

març 10, 2018, 8:53pm

>100 LolaWalser: Haha, yes, good description! Veidt's so electric that it seems as if you are watching something that is happening in the moment you are watching it - that he is alive and can step off the screen at any moment (like in Woody Allen's 'The Purple Rose of Cairo').

The scene with Esther Ralston was priceless! I think Veidt had fun making this movie. It must have been a great relief for him to get out of Germany.

març 11, 2018, 11:36am

I'm trying to find out the full programme for MOMA's 2010/11 Weimar film retrospective, but not having much luck. See, for instance, the PDF file:

It ran from November through March and contained 75 or 81 individual films (the latter number from the NY Times, the former from MOMA's website... no clue why the discrepancy).

There's a book that may or may not have this information but I haven't decided to buy it yet.

Through January 31, at least, the following movies with Veidt were shown: Caligari; Anders...; F.P.1...; Waxworks; Der Kongress tanzt; Die Brüder Schellenberg. As usual, my interest in noting this is in the fact that versions good enough to show exist, some even restored, but not all have been made available commercially.

(Not about Veidt, but another example that's killing me--Hintertreppe with Henny Porten, designs and direction by Paul Leni, according to the programme was shown in a length of 70 minutes--I only ever saw a much shorter remnant, maybe 40 or so. And this is a really interesting movie, a landmark of style in direction and performance--for example, Porten's acting here is much more like Veidt's than the typical silent era product. In sum, films like these hint at a different, "modern" cinema--paths not taken or abandoned by the mainstream. Etc.

Argh! All this that exists, but I can't get to it!)

Editat: abr. 27, 2018, 11:41am

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

març 11, 2018, 8:19pm

Welcome to Veidt-mania! I'm sure you've come across scenes and stills from his movies even if his name didn't register--what, no Caligari at all?! Of course, I don't suppose silent cinema is all (or any part of) the rage today and that's usually the gateway to interest in these forgotten stars.

Casablanca and other movies from the last part of Veidt's life are very different to his beginnings. There's hardly any comparison... I read somewhere that after the success of A woman's face, L. B. Mayer wrote a memo to the effect that he wanted better roles for Veidt, but it was too little too late.

And as you can see from the thread, what survives today is a very mixed bag, in several ways--but the magic is still strong for the chosen few. ;)

març 13, 2018, 8:58pm

>102 LolaWalser: It might be worth dropping MOMA a line to ask if they have a list of all the films they showed in their 2010/2011 Weimar season?

I had a quick look on line but could not find a full list. I did find a link to a MOMA page which states they were showing 75 full length features and 6 shorts (which accounts for the discrepancy you mention 75 - 81). I also found a page about MOMA showing Werner Hochbaum’s 1932 film “Razzia in St. Pauli” in late Jan/early Feb.

Editat: març 18, 2018, 11:06am

>105 Rembetis:

The sort of thing that keeps us hoping!

Meanwhile, announces the issue of Die andere Seite on April 5:

Note that it will contain English subtitles.

For my purposes, however, this seems rather disappointing--is it my imagination, or are the screencaps on Amazon less sharp than the Deutsche Kinemathek version I've linked above, and my own screencaps from there?

I'd still be tempted if there were any extras, but there seem to be none. Sigh.

So, after impulsively pre-ordering, I've scrapped it and decided to wait for reviews.

Editat: març 24, 2018, 8:19pm

>99 Rembetis:, >100 LolaWalser:, >101 Rembetis:

I've just thoroughly enjoyed Rome Express.

I really can't add anything much: everything I'd like to say >99 Rembetis: nailed, and I fully agree with >100 LolaWalser: about Veidt being more 'alive and electric than anyone else on screen' - and that in a pretty good ensemble cast. Veidt packed in so much, though - so much facial expression and body language. He stole the film.

I was pretty much rooting for him to somehow get away with it at the end - the police failing to find his body, perhaps - I agree the actual ending was a bit pat and perfunctory - almost as if they unexpectedly found they had to wind things up, fast.

març 26, 2018, 7:47pm

>106 LolaWalser: You're right, your screen caps look sharper. The English subs are calling me though...

>107 alaudacorax: That's great you enjoyed 'Rome Express'. I agree with you about rooting for Veidt to get away with it at the end. I was hoping that the horrible Cedric Hardwicke character would come to a sticky end instead!

març 27, 2018, 5:40pm

>108 Rembetis:

If you do get it, maybe it will at least serve to inform you enough about the dialogue that you could enjoy the DK version.

Haven't had much chance to tackle some of the topics I mused about above, and I'm still waiting for a pause to enter my most recent DVD loot (Veidtian and not), but I was browsing in a bookshop the other day, between commutes, and picked up two tidbits from a Marlene Dietrich bio (published by a university press--I want to say Stanford but not sure)--no idea if true or not but I'd like to believe a uni press furnishes a better class of material--anyway; according to this bio, Veidt rented (for a while) an apartment (house? cottage?) from an uncle of Dietrich's; also, supposedly Veidt was present offstage when Sternberg was filming Dietrich's first number in The Blue Angel. This is delightful if true, and of course there's nothing mysterious or unexpected about these people crossing paths.

But it does make me regret again the "misses" of Veidt's career. No work with Lang, Pabst, and above all (personally my biggest regret) none with Dreyer. Watching Ingmarsarvet, Veidt's Swedish movie in which he played a religious fanatic, one can only fantasize with melancholy about what a "deep" director like Dreyer could have given and taken from Veidt. As for other actors, the list is too long but yes, no Garbo (*SIGHHHH*) or Dietrich or--why not, Louise Brooks...

ag. 8, 2018, 10:15pm

I picked up Jim Shepard's Nosferatu along with a copy of Shadow of the vampire (John Malkovich as Murnau and Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck) and was gratified to see that Veidt figures briefly but significantly in Shepard's imagining of Murnau's entry on Berlin's cultural scene. There's a short bibliography in the back but I can't tell how much is fact-based and how much "pure" fiction... at any rate, we know Veidt and Murnau had at one time been close enough to form a production company together (although Shepard's narrative doesn't cover that at all), and I've gathered from other reading that some of their correspondence survives (or, at least a few of Veidt's letters).

I'd love to know most of all what was their vision for that enterprise but, alas, it does not seem likely we'll ever be able to reconstruct it.

Editat: set. 24, 2018, 7:10pm

More tidbits for the "unexpected Veidtian connections" files... In the 1954 Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Kenneth Anger's film dedicated to Aleister Crowley, Curtis Harrington plays... "Cesare the Somnambulist"--not really playing "the same character" as Veidt, but rather Veidt's performance of the character (costume, makeup, hair, mannerisms).

There was a conversation before where Rembetis brought up the friendship of Anger and Harrington and their mutual interest in the occult, but this particular event was news to me. Since I like to watch first and look at the cast lists etc. after, "Cesare" came totally out of the left field... and that being Curtis Harrington making it all the more curious!

set. 25, 2018, 2:37pm

>111 LolaWalser:

Do you have the 'Complete Magick Lantern Cycle' discs? I read about them somewhere or other recently and I've been wondering whether it was worth buying the set.

set. 25, 2018, 3:07pm

>112 alaudacorax:

Yes!--watched the first DVD (Fireworks; Puce Moment; Rabbit's Moon; Eaux d'artifice; Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome). Much as could be predicted, given my penchant for experimental/avant-garde/just weird stuff, I'm loving it. Don't expect to be disappointed by the second DVD either.

I got it cheaply from Amazon US for about 25 dollars including shipping and tax. So if you're interested in this type of filmmaking and you can find the set at that cost or thereabouts, I'd say definitely go for it.

I was actually shopping for a copy of Genet's Un chant d'amour and this set came up as a recommendation. I'd known of some of the films by reputation but never thought to look for them as I expected silly prices (the Genet is still ridiculously expensive)...

Editat: set. 25, 2018, 7:48pm

>111 LolaWalser:

I found a review of Curtis Harrington's memoir. It's a little sad to reflect that aside from Night Tide, I've only ever seen his TV work, stray episodes of Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman, Logan's Run, Vega$ (I never did watch the likes of Dynasty or The Colbys)...the fruit of Harrington's "descent into Hell", apparently.

(and look - touchstones work for all those ropey old TV shows!)

Editat: set. 26, 2018, 12:19am

>114 housefulofpaper:

Thanks very much for that link, most interesting. I've never seen those soap operas and it wouldn't have meant anything even if I did, but yes, it's talking about What's the matter with Helen and Who slew Auntie Roo that brought him up--I think you should be able to find those relatively easily, btw... I'll look for Games--the memoir too.

Ah, by the way--I think I talked about this somewhere before but maybe not in this group--another more "ordinary" Veidtian association of Anger's is Max Reinhardt--Veidt started on his acting career in Berlin in Reinhardt's theatre (as who didn't!), and Anger appeared as a child in Reinhardt's 1935 A Midsummer Night's Dream. Apparently there is some doubt cast on whether the child (the little boy Titania and Oberon quarrel over) was Anger, and/or more than one child may have been used, but in any case, Anger was not only adamant that it was he, he seems to have felt he was marked, or was marked (what's the difference?) for life by being in the film--was kissed by the fairies, so to speak... :)

I recalled that strongly as I was watching, especially Rabbit's Moon, which is like a reconstruction of a dream a child might have had of a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. In purely visual terms, like recreating a childlike memory of shapes, lights, shadows and gestures without the knowledge and understanding of the plot and characters.

set. 26, 2018, 7:31am

>113 LolaWalser:

Thanks, Lola.

>114 housefulofpaper:, >115 LolaWalser:

"Had we but world enough and time ..." (not to mention money ...)

I'm getting afraid to log on to LT. Read three posts and a link and there's at least two new books to read and a whole stack of films to watch.

To be honest, Kenneth Anger's books have been 'meaning to reads' for years - decades, probably - and now there's Harrington's book.

The trouble is I've drifted my way into a pretty massive project.

I started reading a couple of books on the directors Ingmar Bergman and Jacques Rivette. I quickly realised (a) I didn't really understand half the concepts referred to and (b) I really needed to have watched all the key works of both directors before starting reading. So I temporarily abandoned the two and I've started laboriously working my way through Peter Barry's Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, which is hefty, and, at the same time trying to watch my way through a huge stack of Bergman's and Rivette's films (they both tend to make films I can watch over and over-hence the original reading, of course-so I didn't mind shelling out for them).

Put that together with my other interests I'm starting to really know that life just isn't long enough.

And then there's that leak in the bathroom which I really should be fixing now rather than faffing about on LT ... and the hedge is shockingly overgrown ...

Editat: set. 27, 2018, 10:00pm

>116 alaudacorax:

I salute your project-undertaking energy. I'm not familiar with Anger's books except Hollywood Babylon--a mass of gossip (god knows how much true or not) copiously illustrated. Apparently it raised quite a stir once upon a time, but a lot has changed since then...

My favourite Rivette and one of all-time favourites generally is Céline et Julie vont en bateau. Simply magical. :)

set. 28, 2018, 7:22am

>117 LolaWalser:

I may have been a bit ambiguous - by 'Anger's books' I meant Hollywood Babylon and its follow-up. Vulgar curiosity, perhaps - as he is reputedly not to be relied on ...

I adore 'Celine ...' and I've puzzled often about if I can talk about it in a Gothic literature thread - doesn't quite seem to fit, somehow, despite the mysterious house and the dark, secret schemes. Love La Belle Noiseuse and Le Pont du Nord, too, but came a bit unstuck a night or two back with Va Savoir. Perhaps I was in the wrong mood, but it seemed to me as if it were made by a different director - fell asleep half-way through.

I suppose this is all a massive tangent - not Veidt and not Gothic ...

des. 16, 2018, 12:00pm

Was browsing yesterday when I came across a mint copy of a book (and writer) previously unknown to me--imagine my surprise when I saw this cover...

This is the first time I see a photo of Veidt in his own person used for illustration of something that's got nothing to do with him. I wonder if it was the author's or the designer's idea. It would be nice to know whether the author was inspired by Veidt in creating the character or whether it was a "post-production" flourish. In any case, they had to secure the owner's permission to use the photo, so it was a very deliberate choice.

I approve of this! :) Too bad it isn't likely to represent a trend I could start collecting...

Editat: des. 16, 2018, 12:01pm

double post

abr. 19, 2019, 1:00pm

Announcements of two upcoming releases, both scheduled for end of May:

Der Geiger von Florenz (1926)

and (oh my! Really?!)

Das indische Grabmal (1921)

All glee suppressed until I hold these babies in my hands... ;)

abr. 19, 2019, 1:17pm

Murnau's Der Gang in die Nacht from Filmmuseum is also finally out. This could turn out to be a good year for Veidtians...

Editat: abr. 19, 2019, 7:02pm

>121 LolaWalser: Exciting news - especially 'Das indische Grabmal'! This bodes well for the restored 'Opium' (in colour) and reconstructed 'Student of Prague' getting released. But - English subtitles. How hard is it to learn German?!

abr. 19, 2019, 7:06pm

Forgot to say there was a gorgeous HD print of 'The Spy in Black' on Film 4 a few months ago. Better quality than the dvd that's out. Veidt is a very strong presence in this film. Steals every scene (as ever).

abr. 19, 2019, 9:47pm

>124 Rembetis:

Oh yeah. :) I'm happy with the DVD but I'd love something with bonus material... surely there must be more out there.

Yes, one would hope these releases are a sign of increased interest--there have now been several recent retrospectives dedicated to the Weimar film and/or Veidt and his directors and each time I noticed articles giving special attention to Veidt, not least because of the newly found copies and restorations. There's also a new book on Veidt out (in German; I'm waiting for it).

It's truly ridiculous that something like The student of Prague hasn't been released at all (not counting the wild off-air packages).

abr. 19, 2019, 9:49pm

For example--on the cover of the catalogue for last year's retrospective on Joe May (repeated this year in Vienna too):

Editat: abr. 20, 2019, 7:20am

>123 Rembetis: - How hard is it to learn German?!

Don't know, never tried, but I've been learning French for thirteen months--about an hour every morning--and I STILL can't watch new-to-me French films without subtitles. Maybe it's because I'm getting old (though I blame it on the actors for talking too fast).

abr. 20, 2019, 7:37pm

>125 LolaWalser: I saw that new Veidt book on Amazon, thanks. Exciting! Wish it was in English.

You're right it is ridiculous that 'The Student of Prague' hasn't had a proper release. It is also ridiculous that when 'restored' silent films hit dvd/blu-ray in Germany - German is the only language option. So strange that something like the restored version of 'Zur Chronik von Grieshuus' has English subtitles on you-tube, ripped from a tv showing, whereas the official dvd release does not!

>127 alaudacorax: Good point about actors talking too fast! I am quite fluent in Greek (grew up learning it) but sometimes lose track in Greek films because they talk too fast! Not sure I can learn a new language. I am at that stage in life where I sometimes read a page in a book then have to go to the top again as I have lost track!

Editat: abr. 20, 2019, 8:27pm

Surfing on France Amazon, I see a dual package blu ray/dvd was issued in January of 'The Man Who Laughs':

Bizarre that none of the reviews seem to relate to the product (typical Amazon!) But I did find a user review elsewhere, which says it is a fantastic 4k restoration, with English title cards with removable French subtitles. The extras are in French with no subtitles:

Edited to add - the film is getting a US dvd/blu ray release from Flicker Alley in June:

abr. 22, 2019, 8:51pm

>129 Rembetis:
Ordered! I also ordered a copy of Paul Leni's The Cat and the Canary which came up as a recommendation below it.

Editat: maig 12, 2019, 2:29am

I received Der Gang in die Nacht (the only surviving Murnau-Veidt collaboration, and the earliest surviving Murnau) from BookDepository and I can't recommend it highly enough--this, of course, if you don't mind the kind of melodrama it is to begin with. The restoration is beautiful; moreover, the second DVD contains Lupu Pick's Scherben--to my mind a much better movie than Der Gang...--with Werner Kraus (Dr. Caligari himself) in the lead role.

The newest Filmmuseum DVDs seem to be region-free, if that's a consideration.

I also received Sabine Schwientek's biography of Veidt. I'm sorry to say that so far it doesn't seem to be the sort of book I will be recommending enthusiastically, although no doubt it will have its uses. Schwientek relies heavily on Jerry Allen's absurd hagiography, Soister, and several well-known interviews with Veidt. Despite the subtitle that translates as "Conrad Veidt AND THE GERMAN FILM...", so far I have seen no evidence of a deeper study of Veidt in this context, relating his work to the history, nature, meaning of the German theatre and cinema. Like Allen, it's a torrent of chronological narrative with almost no comment or critical distance. She reports everything Veidt said to his interviewers as fact. At least one is spared Allen's constant compliments to Viola Veidt...

So, this is not an in-depth, thoughtful, informed academic biography I have been wanting. I presume the odds for getting one are no better now, while also recognising that the amount of labour I envision such an undertaking would demand is probably unrealistically gigantic.

I'm also beginning to think that the "Conrad Veidt Society" (also Schwientek's source and reference) may be more of a hindrance than help in a project of that kind. There seems to exist a tacit pressure to depict Veidt officially as an ordinary heterosexual bourgeois husband and father, when he obviously was neither. For example, Schwientek reports a fragment of that quote of Françoise Rosay's I had posted about before, when she told of her meeting with Veidt. Rosay said of him that he liked women (actually "jeunes filles", young girls), but that he also liked men ("les messieurs", gentlemen). Schwientek quotes only the bit about the women. Even if one decided that this kind of information is mere rumour, why then report it--if at all--in such a selective manner? Besides, it's not like it was only Rosay who thought he was at a minimum bisexual, and possibly, actually gay. It was common knowledge among the theatre and film folk.

Mais, passons... I'll post more on this when I finish the book.

maig 22, 2019, 9:29pm

>131 LolaWalser: Many thanks for the info on 'Der Gang in die Nicht'. Irresistible - especially as it has English subtitles (something I wish the Filmmuseum did on every one of their releases).

I wasn't intending to buy Schwientek's biography of Veidt - as it is in German, but the whitewash account of his sexuality sounds very annoying, and, frankly, unprofessional of the biographer. At least provide the quotes from sources and say why one disagrees with them instead of brushing the issue under the carpet.

I have not been able to get to any of the Weimar season, and doubt I will get to any, which is very frustrating. The first performance of 'Student' sold out, but there are a few seats left for the next one on the 30th. I did find one review of the first NFT showing here (it sounds magnificent):

There are a couple of articles on Weimar cinema in the latest issue of 'Sight and Sound', including info on an upcoming exhibition in Berlin. When I find the time, I will post a few extracts.

Editat: maig 23, 2019, 1:49pm

>132 Rembetis:

Ahhh! Here's hoping they'll release that print before the world melts courtesy of climate change and the orange ape and his diabolical minions. I think the frames shown are from the internet copies, though.

I'm past half done with Schwientek and will report more fully later. It's irritating to have to plunge into the dodgy ocean of rumour on the topic of Veidt's private life, but wilful distortion of what little record there is is insufferable.

Editat: juny 5, 2019, 2:38pm

Guysss, what a find. WHAT A FIND. Turns out H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), the modernist poet and Ezra Pound's great friend, published several film reviews in the 1920s--one of them being of the Veidt's Student of Prague. Weirdly, Soister doesn't mention it!--and yet fangirling of this quality is surely a monument in itself.

The whole article is too long to quote (for the whole text see the PDF link and page reference in this post:, but have a few excerpts and bask in this contemporary moviegoer's beautifully in-the-moment captured cinematic infatuation-at-first-sight (apparently this was the first time she saw a movie with Veidt?)

(...) Students sing under summer trees. Students have filed under summer trees and seated in a garden make obvious opera bouffe groups with beribboned guitars. Students sing in a garden... grey eyes cut the opera bouffe to tatters. The student of Prague has entered.
   His visage, his form, the very obvious and lean candour of him spell something different. He is and he isn't just this person sitting under a tree. The little man gesticulating at the top of a sandy hill has given one the clue to the thing. This is and isn't Conrad Veidt or this is and isn't Baldwin the famous fencer. His eyes cut the garden, the benches, the sun-light (failing obviously) to tatters. How did this man get here? Steel and fibre of some vanished lordlihood. Conrad Veidt has entered.
   A gesture, a tilt of a chin, the downward sweep of a student's wide-brimmed cap and the world has altered. With the same obvious formality and the same obvious banality as the little Italian conjurer, the least hunch of shoulder of this famous artist has some hidden meaning. He is lean and wild. He is firm and sophisticated and worldly. He will break from his skin like a panther from a tight wicker box. He is tight in his personality and behind his personality his mind glints like his own steel. Conrad Veidt impersonating the famous Baldwin may not be the Conrad Veidt of The Hands of Orlac, or Nju. I have seen only this film. But I don't want to see another Conrad Veidt if it must abuse my mind of this one. (...)

This Jekyll and Hyde are alike elegant, alike poised, alike at home in the world of fact and the supernatural. For by a magnificent trick of sustained camera magic we have Baldwin the famous fencer student selling his shadow, rather his brave reflection to the little obvious Italian magician of the first reel. The little Punchinello obtains it, by a trick; gold poured and poured Danae shower, upon the bare scrubbed table of the student's attic, 'for something in this room'. The student has lifted his magnificent blade ruefully and cynically has decided (as that is the only object worth a sou in the bare attic) to be done with it. It is not that blade that our friend Punchinello's after. He beckons with his obvious buffoon gesture toward the mirror.
Baldwin regards (in its polished surface) the face of Baldwin. Tall, alert, with that panther grace, like some exquisite lean runner from an archaic Delphic frieze, Baldwin regards Baldwin. It is true there should be Baldwin upon Baldwin, Veidt upon Veidt, elegantly pursuing (across some marble entablature), Baldwin upon stripped Baldwin, Veidt upon naked Veidt. In that, the little Punchinello shows his aptitude for beauty. Such charm, such lean and astute physical intellectuality should be repeated. (...)

Editat: juny 5, 2019, 2:35pm

Ugh double post

Well, let's have this snapshot of the top of the article--is it legible at all? Never mind, at least the title is...

juny 5, 2019, 2:54pm

>134 LolaWalser:
That's fascinating.What a find! How enlightening to see someone recording the moment-by-moment apprehension of a silent film. It feels familiar, but of course I'd never be able to put it into words like that.

juny 5, 2019, 3:04pm

>136 housefulofpaper:

Isn't it something! Surely she can't have been taking notes during the projection? Maybe she saw it several times... some scenes are mentioned out of order but there's no telling if that's due to faulty memory or if perhaps the reels were shown in that order--for instance, the "little man", the "Punchinello" (Werner Krauss as Scapinelli, i.e. the devil) on top of a hill watching something in the distance comes AFTER the students in the garden scene, AFTER his first approach to Balduin. But don't let me get boring with that stuff...

The sourcebook that collects this article (the whole PDF is available!) looks very interesting, the theme overall is modernist film criticism.

juny 6, 2019, 4:24am

>134 LolaWalser:

She comes close to poetry in a lot of that quote.

Intriguing: something I've long meant to hunt up but never got round to is people's reactions to moving pictures when the medium was still new--'A great new art form or penny dreadfuls for the masses?' and that sort of question. She seems to be in the corner for art form. I really must read more memoirs from the times.

juny 6, 2019, 4:30am

>134 LolaWalser:

It's rather a delight to see someone being so obviously smitten ... her enthusiasm is infectious.

Editat: juny 6, 2019, 1:31pm

>138 alaudacorax:

'A great new art form or penny dreadfuls for the masses?' and that sort of question. She seems to be in the corner for art form.

Interesting you should say that, it's a thought that she ends the article with (I'll post the snip instead of writing it out--it ought to be legible, maybe with a little zoom):

Editat: juny 7, 2019, 6:24am

>134 LolaWalser:

That article is a joy to read pretty much for its own sake. I have to explore more of that lady.

And I have to watch 'The Student of Prague' again as soon as I get home tomorrow--I said she was infectious (at the moment I'm on the edge of Dartmoor watching the pouring rain through the window--ran out of weather-luck on the final day of my holiday).

juny 7, 2019, 1:45pm

Sorry about the rain... yea me too with the impulse to watch the Student again, only I wish I could sit next to her and go *nudge* "so, H, tell us again about that panther grace and lean archaic friezes and beauty and charm and and and"

Editat: juny 12, 2019, 3:51pm

The link won't give you the whole article (unless you're a subscriber to The New York Review of Books) but there's a smashing photo of Veidt and Lillebil Christensen on top of the first few paragraphs:

Miracle in Bologna: Il Cinema Ritrovato a film festival in Bologna, Italy, June 23–July 1, 2018

To roam at will among films lost, films never seen, films quite likely not even known by you to exist, day after day among spectators all animated by a common attentiveness and palpable curiosity, as if nothing existed outside the parallel world of cinema: for some of us that might be the most irresistible escape of all, a plunge not into oblivion but into all the corridors of memory, lit by a thousand cameras. In early summer of each year Bologna becomes the site of such a collective immersion. On July 1, Il Cinema Ritrovato wrapped up its thirty-second edizione, in which during nine days more than five hundred films (of lengths ranging from a minute to many hours) were shown on as many as nine screens.

"L'immagine ritrovata" is the name of the Bolognese film conservation company that restored so many of the Murnau-Stiftung, Kino Lorber, Criterion etc. releases.

oct. 26, 2019, 8:41pm

I am catching up with these boards having taken a break. The past few months have been tough - the worst was my father passing away.

I didn't get to any of the Weimar NFT season. However, it was good to see that it was well attended, with both screenings of the reconstructed 1926 'The Student of Prague' sold out. I dropped a line to Eureka Video back in June to ask if they had any plans to release this version on dvd/blu ray, but they sadly replied 'no'.

>134 LolaWalser: Wow! Hilda Doolittle seems to have fallen head over heels in love! And she certainly has a wonderful way with words! Thank you!

As promised, here are a few extracts from Margaret Deriaz's long and thought provoking article on Weimar Cinema in the June 'Sight and Sound':

'Around 3,500 features were produced during the 14 years of the Weimar Republic...we still have roughly 500 productions of the period... Rich in ambiguity and capable of multiple interpretations, the acknowledged masterpieces retain their power. But it's also the little known titles in less familiar popular genres, now being brought to wider attention, that enrich our insight into a multifaceted cinema shimmering with contradictions.

'Right from the start, films were often not quite what they seemed to be, such as the Aufklarungsfilme (enlightenment films) made during the brief initial period without censorship between November 1918 and May 1920 - which purported to educate the public in matters of sex. Today the best known of these is Richard Oswald's 'Different from the Others' (1919), a passionate plea for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, but others are more ambivalent in nature, ostensibly attacking moral depravity while catering to the audience's appetite for sensation. A truly spectacular example is Robert Reinert's 'Opium' (1919) recently restored in gorgeous colour by the Filmmuseum Munchen. This exotic slice of silent hokum, which warns against drug addiction and sexual debauchery, uses all the techniques at its disposal to conjure both the pleasures and perils of vice (its brazenly erotic opium dream sequences were hailed as a triumph of the medium)....

'Weimar cinema remained remarkably adept at having its cake and eating it - a tendancy of which Kurt Pinthus, a contemporary critic, was clearly aware. His review of 'Dr Mabuse the Gambler' (1922) sees Lang's sensational thriller as providing a playful, harmless outlet for 'the dangerous lusts and instincts of the confused masses'....

'Until fairly recently, the wealth of Weimar comedy, from gender bending farces to sparkling musicals, has been largely overlooked, but these too shed interesting light on the deep divisions and double standards of Weimar society. It was not by chance that the filming of 'Heaven on Earth' coincided with the introduction of a new obscenity law (the Law to Protect Youth against Trash and Filth Writings) in December 1926. This brilliant satire of Weimar hypocrisy, now almost forgotten, was officially directed by Alfred Schirokauer, but its presiding genius was (the film's producer and co-writer) Reinhold Schunzel...who starred as a moralising politician who embarks on a double life when he inherits 'Heaven on Earth', the city's most notorious nightclub. As in so many comedies, order is reassuringly restored, but what leaves a lasting impression is the film's transgressive humour, its self-delighting cinematic exuberance...

'What stands the extent to which so many films of different types, though made for the moment, delight us still with their extraordinary energy and sheer creativity. Expressive of a complex fractured society, they also resonate with current concerns. How often during our Brexit crisis have commentators invoked the turmoil of Weimar - its polarised politics, social inequality, and culture of resentment and blame? ....

'It's striking how frequently films portray the perils of extremism, the inability to respect difference, communicate rationally and hear other views. Not only in ('the superbly realised action film') 'The Cat's Bridge' (1927), but across a range of genres, the spectre of the lynch mob is conjured up, whether in the horror film (Murnau's 'Nosferatu'), the historical epic (Lubitsch's 'Madame Dubarry' 1919) the sci-fi or urban thriller (Lang's 'Metropolis' and 'M') or indeed the mountain film (Riefensthal's 'The Blue Light' (1932). And yet another recently restored film - 'Christian Wahnschaffe' (1920/21)...culminates with a scene of mob fury that evokes the violence of the young Rebublic. Such alertness to danger, back in its time, was surely positive, steering away from potential disaster. Weimar Cinema contains multitudes - not just doom and despair, but a sense of hope and infinite possibilities. In our own age of strife and uncertainty, its experimental spirit, ironic wit and multiple perspectives are especially cherishable. Whether through imaginative direction, nuanced acting, deft scripts, or virtuouso camerawork, it encourages us to stand in another's shoes.

The article also discusses a new exhibition on Weimar Cinema in Germany, which has now finished:

There are also 2 further lengthy articles on Weimar Cinema in this issue; one on the Jewish figures in Weimar Cinema; and another on contemporary film critics of Weimar Cinema, like Siegfried Kracauer, Lotte Eisner, and Rudolf Arnheim.

oct. 27, 2019, 11:45am

>144 Rembetis:

Welcome back!

Deeply sorry to hear about your father. The past few years seem to have been inordinately tough for you--I really hope you'll see the clouds dispersing soon.

Thanks for the quotations, it's amazing how resonant all things Weimar are even a century later.

Reinhold Schünzel is another figure badly in need of rediscovery and due recognition. Never a leading star, but he appeared in so many classics and important movies, including Eerie tales and Different from the Others next to Veidt (in the latter he's the blackmailer who drives Veidt's character to suicide). They also acted on stage together.

His role as a writer and director is even more remarkable--including, as I discovered recently, being the writer and director of the original Viktor und Viktoria from 1933. (Anton Walbrook played the guy who falls for the title character--both of them. ;))

oct. 28, 2019, 7:21pm

>145 LolaWalser: Many thanks for your kind thoughts.

I do remember Reinhold Schünzel from 'Different from the Others' in particular. He is multi talented - producer, screenwriter, actor, director. I haven't seen 'Heaven on Earth', which sounds fascinating. The storyline sounds so relevant to today. It reminds me strongly of hypocritical politicians (you know the type - 'do as I say, not as I do'!)

I saw 'Victor und Victoria' many years ago at the NFT, and was impressed with it. Schünzel's script certainly had legs, being remade in the UK in 1935 as 'First A Girl' staring Jessie Matthews, and of course, Julie Andrews' version in the 80s. Renate Müller was sublime in the original film. I believe she subsequently refused to work for the Nazis, and died in mysterious circumstances, falling from a hospital window, possibly at the hands of the gestapo.

'Der Geiger von Florenz' is getting a blu ray release in Germany in 2 days. Doesn't seem to have English subs:

oct. 28, 2019, 7:30pm

>146 Rembetis:

I saw recently a muddy YouTube version of Viktor und Viktoria (there is or was a DVD available but very expensive when I last looked), it comes across as rather tame, but still groundbreaking in context. (Of course there was some censorship and changes imposed.)

I didn't know there was a UK remake of such early date, I must track that down.

Müller made a very handsome lad although borderline jailbaitish--maybe... :)

oct. 28, 2019, 9:08pm

>147 LolaWalser: 'First A Girl' is worth tracking down. Network dvd issued it in a double bill with another Jessie Matthews film 'Friday the 13th' (no Jason Vorhees in this one - it deals with an Omnibus accident and the lives of the people travelling on the bus - Jessie plays a showgirl). The dvd is usually cheap on Amazon etc. Clips from both here on Network's webpage:

There are also a few clips of 'First A Girl' on youtube. My partner and I are massive Jessie Matthews fans (he used to run an online web page about her in his healthier days). Her singing voice isn't great, but she was known as 'the dancing divinity' - certainly one of the greatest dancers to grace the silver screen (particularly in 'Evergreen' and 'It's Love Again'). She was big in the US and UK in the 30s, with films like 'Evergreen' opening at the huge Radio City Music Hall. Sadly, poor mental health plagued her most of her life.

Know what you mean about Müller ;-)

oct. 29, 2019, 5:22pm

>148 Rembetis:

Fascinating. Somehow or other I'd never heard of her--but I just ordered the DVD, so thanks!

oct. 29, 2019, 8:25pm

>149 LolaWalser: I do hope you enjoy 'First A Girl'.

Network have released most of Jessie's films, but she is largely forgotten today (although Andrew Lloyd Webber remains a great admirer, and has named a bar at the Adelphi Theatre after her, with lots of stills and posters of her theatre shows and films on the walls).

The second feature, 'Friday the 13th' has a great supporting cast - Ralph Richardson, Donald Calthorp (you will remember him as the man on the run from Veidt in 'Rome Express'); Gordon Harker (the boring golf fanatic in 'Rome Express); a young Martita Hunt (so memorable as Miss Havisham in Lean's 'Great Expectations' and in Hammer's 'Brides of Dracula'), and the comedian Max Miller.

oct. 30, 2019, 12:40pm

Great, I love picking out familiar faces in the background--gives everything a touch of "theatrical company".

Speaking of theatre and backgrounds... The other day I was browsing through a guide to the Los Angeles homes of European artistic exiles and there was a short entry for the place where Veidt lived 1940-1943, 617 Camden Drive.

This is a (much) later photo but with the house, at least from the outside, appearing unchanged:

As you can see, it has a weird, totally incongruous Alpine vibe going--the guidebook notes something like "immediately we think of Dr. Caligari"... well... maybe...

Anyway--it's apparently gone now, replaced (in 2011, as far as I can make out) by this:

Stunning Tuscan Villa – $9,995,000

From faux-Alpine to faux-Tuscan settings, treating "homes" like stage décor, I suppose that very fakeness and transitoriness represent the authentic movie-Californian experience.

But it makes me feel again for those unhappy uprooted old Europeans, forced to live as if imprisoned in a frame of a film.

oct. 30, 2019, 7:54pm

>151 LolaWalser: Fascinating that Veidt picked that house to live in - a reminder of home (and prettier than that ostentatious mock Tuscan villa). This reminds me, funnily enough, of a Marlene Dietrich costume exhibition I saw in Paris about 10 years ago. Among all the suits, and outrageous and glamorous outfits, there were Bavarian 'Dirndl' or folk dresses, which she and her daughter Maria wore in the US. The notes said that Marlene did this as an act of resistance, almost re-appropriating the traditional German dress. But I think it's also a longing for home. It must have been very difficult for those actors who were forced to uproot themselves from their homeland.

I also note how the Europeans congregated together in their 'down' time in Hollywood. This also applies to the British contingent. Elsa Lanchester reflects on this in her autobiography 'Herself'. Which reminds me of a funny story therein where her American cook produces green apples, and the British attending lunch wouldn't eat them as they had never seen green apples before. Ernest Thesiger's priceless comment was 'Ah - arsenic apples'!

oct. 31, 2019, 2:02am

>151 LolaWalser:
A 10 million dollar villa in which the “exquisite wood-paneled library” has more shelves than books? The horror! The horror!

nov. 1, 2019, 5:46pm

>153 dypaloh:

Optimistically, maybe the owners will fill them up. Library shelves abhor a vacuum!

>152 Rembetis:

It would be interesting to know why they chose it. Sentimentality is stereotypically taken to be a German trait but somehow I don't get the feeling Veidt suffered from it... Or Dietrich, come to think of it--but who knows?

Not that these actors were unfortunate, compared to many other exiles. I read recently some of Alfred Polgar's correspondence (he was a famous "man of letters" in pre-war Vienna), during and after his last-minute escape to the US and the problems he and his wife faced, the poverty, the difficulty of getting any work, the loneliness and isolation and constant fear and insecurity, were probably more common than not. It's interesting that relatively few adapted really well or wanted to stay in the States. Someone like Dietrich is a rare exception. (But then so is the scale of her success.)

'Ah - arsenic apples'

I'll never look at a Granny Smith without recalling this now. :)

nov. 1, 2019, 8:48pm

> It's interesting, this question of sentimentality. Maybe, being forcibly ripped away from everything that is familiar - community and family, colleagues, places, customs and environment - even a pragmatic person might compare and contrast and perhaps feel some sentimentality for what has been lost?
In the 1984 documentary 'Marlene', directed by Maximilian Schell, (where Dietrich is interviewed but not seen) Dietrich dismisses nearly every film she starred in as 'kitsch'! She does not look back at the past with any fondness, not a shred of sentimentality. However, towards the end of the documentary, she gets emotional and tearful when she joins Schell to recite a poem from her childhood. I think this shows things aren't as straightforward as Marlene would like us to think. Maybe it's this other Marlene who enjoyed wearing the traditional German dress in the US?

Alfred Polgar's experiences were probably the norm for many exiles.

'Ah arsenic apples' - it stuck in my head too!

Editat: nov. 9, 2019, 12:55pm

Reading about the pre-war cabaret scene in Vienna and Berlin, came upon a reference to a song by Max Hansen that mentions Veidt:

Max Hansen - Jetzt geht's der Dolly gut (1928) (original recording--the same one Veidt played to his friends!)

The beginning, and my unrhymed translation:

Voriges Jahr, genau um diese Zeit,
War ich verlobt. Was bin ich heut'?
Meine Freundin Dolly war sehr nett.
Da neulich las ich in der B.Z.*:

Jetzt geht's der Dolly gut,
Die sitzt in Hollywood,
An einem Tisch
Mit Lillian Gish.
Die kennt den Harold Lloyd,
Die kennt den Conrad Veidt.
Wen kennt sie nicht?
Ich glaube, mich!
Dabei hab ich ihr hundert Mark geschenkt,
Damit sie immer, immer an mich denkt!
Jetzt geht's der Dolly gut,
Die sitzt in Hollywood,
In USA -
Und ich steh da!

Last year, around this time,
I was engaged. What am I today?
My friend Dolly was very nice.
Recently I read in the {newspaper}:

Dolly's doing really well now,
She sits in Hollywood
At a table
With Lillian Gish.
She knows Harold Lloyd,
She knows Conrad Veidt.
Who doesn't she know?
I believe, me!
And to think I gave her 100 Marks
to remember me always!

Dolly's doing really well now,
She sits in Hollywood,
In the USA--
And I'm stood here!

Full German lyrics here:

nov. 8, 2019, 6:45pm

>157 Rembetis: How fascinating, Conrad's cultural reach - in this thread we find him mentioned in fiction books, non-fiction books (including astute early film criticism), now a song - what next?!

Also, the song sounds like it's straight out of Kander and Ebb's 'Cabaret', down to the quirky instrumental riffs. I wonder if Joel Grey was tipping his hat to Max Hansen in the film - they sound so similar, even down to the delivery. Amazing. Thank you!

nov. 9, 2019, 12:22pm

>157 Rembetis:

Now that you mention it, yes, it does bring to mind Grey's performance.

now a song - what next?!

As it happens, I do have something!

The other day I picked up a book of Edward Steichen's photographs, mostly fashion and glamour shots. It includes his well-known portrait of Veidt--this is also on the back cover (I'm not saying that made the sale, but it certainly clinched it).

It got me wondering about whether there are any paintings of Veidt--it's actually curious that there don't seem to be many, if any, famous paintings of movie stars in general. Perhaps their photographic ubiquity worked against the impulse to paint them? Too much exposure, too familiar to be interesting to painters? Not sure what to think about it...

In any case, I discovered one painting of Veidt:

The author was Milena Pavlović-Barili, (1909-1945), a Serbian modernist painter. The painting seems to have been made when she was still a teenager, sometime in the 1920s, but I can't seem to find the exact year. She also painted Valentino in his role as the Sheikh.

There are more examples of her work and info on her life on the website for the gallery dedicated to her:

nov. 9, 2019, 7:29pm

>158 LolaWalser: Interesting, thanks! Steichen's photograph of Conrad is stunning! The Pavlović-Barili doesn't quite capture him?

I think you are spot on about movie stars photographic ubiquity. Also, moving quickly from film to film and the hours they kept would probably work against long sittings for painters.

nov. 11, 2019, 12:01pm

>159 Rembetis:

Yeah, I don't know what it is, but it does seem a little unexpected that people with, generally, such interesting faces would not be widely sought as models.

O, btw, I received last week the First a girl DVD--it's on schedule for tonight.

nov. 11, 2019, 3:50pm

>160 LolaWalser: I hope you enjoy 'First A Girl'! Let me know what you think.

Editat: nov. 12, 2019, 12:07pm

>161 Rembetis:

Aw, thanks so much for introducing me to Jessie Mathews and in particular to First a girl. She's adorable and the movie is very enjoyable--I think the slapstick is better than in Schünzel's original! Tons of laughs. It looks more expensive too--lots of dance numbers...

Friday the 13th was also interesting to see. They sent me a slimcase volume 1 from a set--now I'm thinking I ought to have gone for the whole set.

nov. 12, 2019, 8:29pm

>162 LolaWalser: Phew, I am glad you enjoyed 'First A Girl'. Jessie is indeed, adorable, a real charmer, and the slapstick is great. It's amongst her best films - the other two best regarded films being 'Evergreen' and It's Love Again' - all three directed by Victor Saville. I think these 3 films are amongst the few British musicals that could stand comparison with the Hollywood musicals of that era.

Network released six volumes of slimline double dvd sets of Jessie's films, 12 films in all. I like all 12 films (haha), 'Climbing High' is probably the weakest. They are all quite cheap.

Volume 2 has 'It's Love Again' with 'Waltzes from Vienna' - the latter directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I think the only musical he directed. It's a quirky biopic about Johann Strauss, with the famous 'Blue Danube' yet! Hitchcock thought it was his worst film and Jessie said it was 'perfectly dreadful'! I think it's ok.

Volume 6 has 'Evergreen' with an early Jessie vehicle 'There Goes the Bride' (similar story to 'It Happened One Night' - rich heiress on the run from her family, falls in love, - only made two years earlier, in 1932, with little of the polish of Capra's film, although Jessie is as adorable as ever.)

Talking of 'Evergreen' there is a brief, very odd and fascinating sequence in it, I think it's about the Great War and industralisation/mechanisation, but it's like something out of (and maybe a tribute to) Weimar cinema? Someone has posted it on youtube and it starts about 3.10 in up to 4.40:

nov. 13, 2019, 1:36pm

>163 Rembetis:

Oh, yes, that looks very much as if it had Metropolis for inspiration.

I did see The Waltzes from Vienna yonks ago!--but I forgot practically everything about it--apparently most people do. :)

I'll be on the lookout for the remaining films. Interesting to see Saville directed so many (and had been already mentioned above in relation to Dark Journey.)

nov. 14, 2019, 11:25am

>164 LolaWalser: Of course, Metropolis!

I have yet to meet a fan of 'Waltzes from Vienna'!

nov. 16, 2019, 8:24am

>163 Rembetis:

That is a very odd sequence. I'd be fascinated to read contemporary reactions, but the reviews I found in a quick search didn't mention it. The musical has an odd plot, too. I'd heard of Evergreen, of course, but don't remember I ever saw it. I shall have to, now, out of sheer curiosity.

gen. 23, 2020, 11:33am

In homage to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari here is a virtual reality video project that lets one enter "Cesare's dream"!

"Le rêve de Cesare – Dans le cabinet du docteur Caligari"

From the description: "Here the dream is a logical continuation of the sleep, which is one of the key elements in the film. For the user, the virtual experience of the dream also touches on the aspects tied to freedom or its absence, the freedom of the points of view, of perception and of interpretation of oneiric images; the absence of freedom in the sense that the scenario cannot be changed. Moreover, one part of this dream relates to dependance, the character of Cesare being controlled by Doctor Caligari."

If you're watching on the mobile, turn your phone (I presume horizontally) and move it around you; on the computer there's the four point cursor (left-right, top-bottom) in the top left corner and the drag handle.

gen. 23, 2020, 7:38pm

>167 LolaWalser: Thank you! that was interesting and fun! It was Conrad's birthday a couple of days ago too.

gen. 24, 2020, 9:06pm

Yes it was! One hundred and twenty-seven years--practically teenage in vampire terms. :)

gen. 24, 2020, 9:17pm

So of course I had to go looking for a pic of young Veidt

gen. 24, 2020, 9:39pm

...and came across someone's blog post about (supposedly) the photographer of the beautiful photo in >49 LolaWalser:, one Hans Grohmann. According to them, Grohmann and Veidt were friends (and mayhap more?):

Why Was Hans Grohmann an Enigma?

I've no idea as to the accuracy of anything in that blog post, and they do acknowledge most of it is speculation.

A quick search (in German) brings up practically nothing about Grohmann, but there is a plaque commemorating his killing by the Nazis in 1933:

gen. 25, 2020, 7:01pm

>170 LolaWalser: Beautiful photo!

>171 LolaWalser: Very interesting web page, many thanks! Never heard of Hans Grohmann, what a fascinating man, and what a tragic end.

But I can't understand why the author finds it unlikely that Grohmann could have been murdered just for being gay. History is littered with examples of gay people being murdered just for being gay, and in the wrong place at the wrong time. That includes recent history - Ian Baynham was murdered in Trafalgar Square in 2009 by youths shouting homophobic abuse, for example, and there have been many more recent examples in the World, sad to say.

Editat: gen. 26, 2020, 3:33pm

>172 Rembetis:

True, alas.

I suppose Grohmann's connection to Veidt makes it tempting to speculate, especially since there seems to be little information about the circumstances of his assassination.

feb. 23, 2020, 10:35am

In Jerome Charyn's Cesare (2020), a mention of Veidt:

The lieutenant would often tease Erik about Conrad Veidt's role as Cesare in Dr. Caligari.
   "Did you know that our Conrad was the handsomest transvestite on Unter den Linden before he became a big hit in the movies? He was the rage of every boy bar. The rouge he wore could be seen for miles."
   "You couldn't have been one of his customers, Wolfie. You were much too young."
   "But I saw him on the Linden, saw him with my own eyes. He stuck out his tongue at me. It was indecent."
   "Yes," said Erik, "he must have been dreaming of Cesare long before he met Caligari."

The book is set in 1943, with the (real life) character of Wilhelm Canaris, head of military intelligence, being referred to as "Caligari" and the character of Erik the spy as his "Cesare".

feb. 25, 2020, 7:47pm

>174 LolaWalser: Fascinating!

I subscribe to Movie Memories magazine, 4 issues are published a year here in the UK by Chris Roberts. It celebrates classic films and stars from the 1930s to the 1960s. Vivienne Phillips (who was instrumental in getting Conrad's ashes interred in Golders Green) is also a member and wrote a letter to the mag regarding the beautiful portrait of Conrad Veidt in his role of 'The Wandering Jew' which hangs 'proudly' in her living room. Vivienne says she treasures it, and that 'the eyes really do follow you, no matter whereabouts you are in the room'.

feb. 25, 2020, 11:03pm

>175 Rembetis:

Nice! Any idea if the portrait is contemporary? I haven't thought to note art based on Veidt's film roles because there's quite a lot of it, especially with the explosion of fanart on the internet.

In The Wandering Jew Veidt goes through multiple costume and make-up changes as he passes from one period to another. My favourite is the medieval version (I think that's the second segment, after the Biblical times):

Editat: feb. 26, 2020, 5:04am

>176 LolaWalser: Vivienne did explain about the portrait in 'Movie Memories', back in the Summer 2019 issue, then sent in a photo for the Autumn issue. Unfortunately, I put the Summer issue out for recycling, and can't recall what she said (I am getting old!) It's taken me since Autumn to work out how to post pictures on here! I did find a colour picture of the portrait on line last night:

(Edited for clarity!)

Editat: feb. 27, 2020, 2:48pm

Virginia Woolf composed this essay on the cinema after watching The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the 1920 German expressionist film. Published in the 3 July 1926 issue of The Nation and Athenaeum, ‘The Cinema’ captures both Woolf’s fascination with and apprehension towards film, an art form which was still in its infancy. ‘Film’ in 1926 meant black-and-white, silent film. (British Library)

feb. 27, 2020, 7:37pm

>178 LolaWalser: Fascinating to read this essay, particularly around the 100th anniversary of 'Caligari'. I recall another essay where Woolf labelled herself a 'snob', and the essay on cinema seems to me snobbish in its criticism of cinema as an inferior art form (but with potential). 'Caligari' is full of creative inspiration to 21st century eyes - I can't understand how anyone can walk out of it in 1926 and say 'the cinema has within its grasp innumerable symbols for emotions that have so far failed to find expression'?!

feb. 27, 2020, 8:12pm

>179 Rembetis:

I can't understand how anyone can walk out of it in 1926 and say 'the cinema has within its grasp innumerable symbols for emotions that have so far failed to find expression'?!

Hmm, I think this is laudatory--she is admiring cinema for the richness of its symbolism and communicative power of emotions "that have so far failed to find expression". The implication is that other media are less powerful than cinema in communicating emotions.

She sounds inspired to me--she wrote the essay after all under the influence of seeing the movie. I know she had reservations regarding cinema, popular musics and other such "pop" fare that had such a wide appeal among the uneducated but she didn't reject any of it absolutely. Here she's clearly impressed--and she did shimmy with T. S. Eliot once. :)

Also, it has to be recognised that today we treat as "high art" lots of stuff that back in its day was meant simply to turn a buck. It's just that the talent and people involved, their craft and standards, might be of a quality we find unusual.

Caligari is a great movie but the audiences delighted in shrieking and fainting at it as much as at William Castle's shockers.

feb. 27, 2020, 8:27pm

>180 LolaWalser: Yes, on reflection, I can see the points you make. Woolf must have been inspired to mention seeing 'Caligari' in the high brow 'The Nation and Athenaeum', as I guess it would have been considered low brow schlock art by most of the readership!

It's funny thinking of people fainting and shrieking at 'Caligari', but there are certainly reports of people doing that with early horror cinema, particularly the first Universal horrors.

I would like to have seen Virginia Woolf shimmying - with T. S. Eliot yet!

feb. 27, 2020, 8:36pm

>181 Rembetis:

She was no conventional stick in the mud for sure (Eliot, now...)

The marketing for Caligari went at it as shamelessly as a Hollywood blockbuster these days--Berlin was plastered in advance for weeks with the slogan "Du musst Caligari werden" before any announcement of the movie so that people would wonder about it, the posters were then put up at night, the audiences were begged not to "spoil" the ending (i.e. the narrator is mad) etc.

abr. 9, 2020, 10:16am

Shaky hold on facts in the article but the sentiment is appreciated:

maig 7, 2020, 7:46pm

Something I learned from the Curtis Harrington Blu-Ray set mentioned elsewhere.

In 1953 he attended a masquerade party with a "come as your madness" theme, in full Cesare (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari) make-up and costume, which led to his appearing in the same guise in Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.

maig 8, 2020, 7:59am

>184 housefulofpaper:

Ha, I didn't know about the party! Gosh, now that's one I'd have loved to crash...

Harrington's appearance as Cesare in Anger's short came as a surprise to me: >111 LolaWalser:

I wonder how much written material still unpublished there may be regarding Veidt among Hollywood people at least... but who'd know to look, or care?

maig 15, 2020, 6:36pm

>181 Rembetis:

A friend's grandfather told her about seeing Dracula as a child when it came out in 1931. He was terrified and hid under the seat (he must have been young). I'd say "Well, he was only a kid," but the adults in the audience were just as scared. The audience applauded when Dracula got the stake (even though, as I recall, it happens offscreen).

juny 4, 2020, 9:11am

Saw a "documentary" about Veidt by one Mark Rappaport, titled "Conrad Veidt - My Life", produced in 2019. It's being shown currently online within the Toronto Jewish Film Festival programme. (It's planned to be released in cinemas come autumn, but who knows.)

I'm afraid I have little good to say about it--it's nothing but a stream of clips from Veidt's movies and some superfluous digressions about random other people (Veit Harlan and his brood, Valerie Hobson, Juliette Binoche etc.), precariously glued together with a perfunctory narration that mostly describes what we are actually seeing.

The narration is in the first person singular, which annoyed me immediately, the more so as the one "production" effort seems to have been getting a reader with a German accent.

The rest is available to anyone with YouTube access and a video editor.

The title is a lie. The only thing about Veidt's life you get from this beside the succession of clips from his movies, is that he had fled Nazi Germany and that he died on a golf course in Hollywood. That's it.

Honestly, there's a hundred times more material and interesting information in this thread.

That said, if Rappaport's video makes more people interested in Veidt, that's fantastic, and I suppose no more than one can expect for a long dead star of the silent era.

juny 4, 2020, 9:43am

>187 LolaWalser:

I've got to ask. What on earth is the connection with Juliette Binoche?

juny 4, 2020, 9:55am

It's pure filler, nothing to it. The narration goes on about Veidt's accent, one of the reasons he was typecast in the Hollywood in the forties, and there's a random comparison to Binoche's and Adjani's adoption of American accents in English-speaking roles, accompanied by clips of them in these movies.

The digression about Valerie Hobson quickly becomes about her second husband John Profumo and Christine Keeler, and we're shown multiple photos of... Keeler, back when she was a hottie in the sixties and what she looked like shortly before her death at seventy-four.

Total bs.

juny 4, 2020, 12:30pm

>189 LolaWalser:

Oh that's really stretching ... don't think I'll be watching that any time soon.

juny 4, 2020, 4:36pm

I'm really sorry it's not something I could wax about enthusiastically... but honestly, I can see only two groups of people who'd benefit--the die-hard collectors of "Veidtiana", who don't need recommendations anyway because they'll seek out any small sign of interest in Veidt; and people who are curious but have seen nothing at all of his movies so far.

I should note there's a section on his two Jewish roles (in The Wandering Jew and Power), perhaps that's enough to attract attention within this festival. Seemed awfully short and empty to me, but maybe it's just that I don't see this with fresh eyes.

juny 4, 2020, 7:17pm

>187 LolaWalser: Thanks for the information about the documentary. How disappointing though. Hopefully ,as you say, it will do some good if people see it and want to see more.

Some good news (and, boy, do we need it) - Eureka have announced a blu ray for 'The Man Who Laughs' - out 17 August. The extras include, a new interview with Kim Newman, a new video essay by David Cairns, a featurette on the production of the film, rare stills gallery, and a collector’s booklet.

Eureka also have a sale on their silents:

juny 4, 2020, 7:41pm

>192 Rembetis:

Thanks for the info about the sale, I went for Madame Dubarry (which I missed out on before when it was discounted even more!) and Sunrise. Almost certainly the last time I shop from Eureka, given that they went all-Blu-Ray, SIGH...

juny 4, 2020, 8:37pm

>193 LolaWalser: It is odd that so many companies have abandoned the dual dvd/blu ray sets (Indicator being another). I suppose, eventually, everything will be download anyway!

juny 4, 2020, 9:01pm

God I hope not! We had recently an internet outage in the building, it lasted only about 40 minutes, but even so it was distressing to see how much depends on internet access. For one thing, they sent us e-mails detailing what was going on--which we saw only after they reconnected us, of course.

I realised I don't even have any emergency numbers around, or city maps etc. Yellow pages and telephone directories are all things of the past. I use internet apps to talk with people abroad; otherwise the charges are prohibitive--phoning is twenty times more expensive now than BEFORE all these brave new developments.

juny 4, 2020, 9:12pm

Hmm... I was unkind about Rappaport's video but in fairness it must appear differently to someone with less exposure to the topic.

On the off chance I haven't ruined it for whoever may be interested, here's the link to it with the possibility of buying a ticket--it's only 12 CAD (or 15 with a food bank donation). The festival ends June 7:

juny 12, 2020, 6:42pm

Milestone!!! I finally got to see the BEAUTIFUL restoration of Opium!!! White stone day, is this!

The pics don't capture the crispness--I hope to god they'll issue a DVD of this, I can't understand why skimp and stall on releasing this stuff to the public after all that effort.

Title cards showing the credits with the names of both Werner Krauss and Veidt--although they don't appear together in a scene here, the history-making collaboration was just around the corner... plus the card with the director's name to show off more of the wild typography:


The conscience-stricken lover; the adulterous couple:


Editat: juny 12, 2020, 6:55pm

And, a key scene for the end of the film... Veidt and the kid were so cute together! A charming sequence.

juny 25, 2020, 3:29pm


This thread has come full circle from its beginning in 2017--WE HAVE A RESTORATION OF THE STUDENT OF PRAG!

Well, when I say we... The Filmmuseum München anyway, and it's available to see here free from today UNTIL MONDAY JUNE 29.

Der Student von Prag (1926)

juny 27, 2020, 7:48pm

>199 LolaWalser: A billion thanks for the link to the restored Student of Prague! Just finished watching, and WOW, what a film! I was so impressed with the shorter version I saw years ago, but this restoration knocked my socks off (I couldn't even understand the German intertitles, and don't think it spoiled my viewing one bit). The film flowed so much better, and there were so many powerful sequences, all carefully building to that breathtaking powerhouse crescendo of a finale!! Thanks again!

>198 LolaWalser: WOW - Love the photos from the restored 'Opium', thanks! It looks like it was shot yesterday. That's excellent you finally got to see it! Yes, let's hope for a release of this and the Student asap!

Random, but I came across a photo of British star Anna Lee, going to a showing or premiere of 'Jew Suss':

Editat: juny 27, 2020, 8:21pm

>200 Rembetis:

I'm SO happy you got to see it! I think this means that it should become available on DVD or something at some point--there's a trailer at the Filmmuseum's site, but no DVD cover in the "Forthcoming releases" (while Opium isn't mentioned anywhere, and we know that's been restored a few years ago).

The longest insertion is the restored sequence in the latter part of the film, in Balduin's bedroom after the drunken revelry in the tavern. In the off-air copy I have (with later Czech intertitles) there's an obvious cut between the shot of the flower girl (from Balduin's POV, as he's lying on the bed and she's standing in front) to the image of Countess Margit kneeling and praying. Then we see the flower girl and Balduin lying next to each other on the bed (fully dressed of course) and she asks him for the cross he's wearing--the cross that Margit had given him.

While even the censored version contained enough to imply that sex had happened, the restored version, with the kiss on the bed, makes it obvious. I've actually read something about the censorship of that scene but can't for the life of me remember where--must go look through the records. There were some labyrinthine rules about who could wear what in scenes with whom on what kinds of furniture etc.

In any case, as tame as it may look to us, that scene was very daring for the times.

Other changes, as far as I noticed, are short sequences and frames.

What did you think of the colouring? I must admit I am so used to seeing it black and white I felt some contrast was lost. But I don't have this problem with films I only know with coloured filters so it must be just the force of habit.

(By the way, let me know if you'd like the link to Opium.)

juny 28, 2020, 7:16am

>201 LolaWalser: That's interesting that there were rules for Weimar cinema about what could and could not be shown, I wasn't aware.

I very much enjoyed the colour tinting, perhaps because I had seen the film only twice before - in a battered, speeded up print, at a friends house eons ago, and, more recently, the ropey one on youtube - so wasn't overfamiliar with it.

I also thought the music soundtrack was very well done, especially the piano.

I would very much like the link to Opium! That would be a treat! Many thanks!

juny 28, 2020, 2:08pm


Another famous writer, Eudora Welty, turns out to have been a Veidt-watcher. Hers is a very interesting viewpoint, bringing together German expressionism and the Deep South (to say nothing of her wishful casting of Louise Brooks and Veidt together... see, it's not just me!)

From Eudora Welty's 1985 Reading of William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying", "Sanctuary", and "Light in August" by Pearl Amelia McHaney:


juny 29, 2020, 7:30pm

>203 LolaWalser: (Many thanks!)

It's wonderful how Veidt's name keeps cropping up in the articles of famous writers! Mind you, who can blame them? :-)

Veidt teamed with Louise Brooks; Veidt teamed with Garbo - it makes so much sense. Why didn't it happen? Particularly Garbo as they were both at MGM?!

Editat: juny 29, 2020, 8:03pm

>204 Rembetis:

You're very welcome--again, I'm so glad I got to share this enthusiasm with someone--I had hardly any hopes back in 2017 that we'd manage to see the Student AND Opium both cleaned up, ever, let alone within a few years!

Let's start wishing anew. If someone would do The Black Hussar next... I'd probably feel obliged never to ask for anything more. :)

Ah yes. The "misses" of Veidt's career are so sad, and probably none sadder than the one with Garbo, where somebody had come up with a project and all.

Speaking of which, I came across this picture yesterday as I was searching for that article about Weimar censorship, never seen it before:

Makes me wonder again whether that tidbit from Dietrich's bio, that Veidt had been present when she shot the famous song scene in The Blue Angel, was actually true. I mean, it sounds too perfect to be true! But clearly they knew each other--at some point.

I'd give a lot to know what these two refugees might have talked about in Hollywood.

juny 29, 2020, 8:44pm

>205 LolaWalser: We are indeed very lucky that we have seen cleaned up versions of Opium and the Student! Who would have thought?!

Onto 'The Black Hussar' next! Let's see if our wishing alchemy works again!

That's a lovely photo. We know they were close, not least because of the fragment of home movie footage on you tube of Garbo at Veidt's Hollywood home playing with his daughter. I would expect two stars of Weimar cinema to have known each other in the pre-Hollywood years, surely.

They must have felt like kindred spirits in Hollywood, with their shared experiences (albeit separate) in film in their homeland, and their forced exile in Hollywood, and horror at what was going on back at home to their Country, colleagues, friends and families.

I can't recall if we talked about this before, but there's a 1986 documentary about Veidt on youtube. Alas, all in German, but has some fabulous stills, home footage, film clips and posters:

juny 30, 2020, 12:00pm

>206 Rembetis:

Err, was Dietrich in that home movie footage, I don't recall...?! Sorry if I misled you by mentioning Garbo and then posting a pic of Veidt with Dietrich--it all led seamlessly one from the other in my mind.

Thank you very much for that documentary, I had not seen it before! Yes, they found some great posters and photos, and that segment from Rasputin is especially appreciated. Makes one realise it's very hard to wish for just one more restoration of Veidt's movies.

Just a few remarks... it doesn't much surprise that this is a DDR production, what with the tribute to Veidt as an anti-Nazi. He was not a convenient figure to extoll in the FRG.

Too bad there are no credits for the quotations and the films shown. I can't tell for sure, but I presume the sequence with Veidt in the old man makeup may be from Peer Gynt, the very end...

It's great to see the poster for Satanas, as that gives some idea of Veidt's appearance in it. (Random observation: would be worth investigating the relative significance of God typically being depicted with a beard, and Satan (Lucifer) beardless. Could be old age/youth i.e. authority/lack of/rebellion against, could be gender ambiguity... could be the last vestige of lost angelhood?)

In Murnau's films Veidt played, they say, "endangered existences, fragile and divided characters". Nicely put. Speaking of divided...

Veidt played twin roles a surprising number of times: in Januskopf; Brothers Schellenberg; The Student of Prag; Nazi agent...

Interesting idea that it was Paul Leni who discovered Veidt's "demonic" potential. (Unfortunately Prinz Kuckuck is lost.)

They quote (but don't say from where, arrgh) Veidt as writing that it was Richard Oswald who changed his (Veidt's) view of cinema and convinced him of its future.

That it was Oswald (with whom Veidt would make about 20 movies, almost all lost) who gave Veidt the most thoughtful and diverse roles.

The succès de scandale of Anders als die Andern. Veidt reported as saying it brought him a river of mail from unhappy homosexuals, "outcries, shattering human documents". Note here the type of statement that, while technically probably perfectly true, subtly conveys also something that can't be true: the notion that Veidt may not have been aware before this river of mail of the problems facing gays, of the frequently tragic predicaments forced on them.

This kind of ambiguity is typical for basically everything Veidt is recorded as saying to his interviewers. It's not that he lies--it's that his interlocutors, and those who later report these statements, look no further than the surface, not even to the left and right of their subject.

There's the important observation speaking to Veidt's range, not merely of "characters", but acting styles. This is not just an actor with a gallery of "characters", he is multiple theatrical schools. He can be classically melodramatic--he can be avant-garde--he can be a stylised expressionist symbol--he can be naturalistic--Schrei or Geist, there is no mode Veidt doesn't master.

Oof, this is getting too long... mainly I wanted to note what Veidt said (they say) about his method (just yesterday I was reading about the expressionist theatre and it resonated amazingly)--that he (Veidt) places the character in front of his "spiritual" eye, grasps him from every facet, and then lets himself become "infected" with him, to the point of changing his own voice, gestures, mannerisms, in his own person, until the work is done.

The remarks about The Student of Prague are inspiring me to finally focus on it in detail, but for that I'll start a dedicated thread in the Silent Screen group--we have to begin with Wegener's film and, anyway, I have so many screenshots to note, they would swamp this thread.

Editat: juny 30, 2020, 7:43pm

>207 LolaWalser: Oh gosh, my bad, messed up my previous post. It's only Garbo in the home movie footage, and my comments were about Dietrich not Garbo. I must have been very tired, as it was late (hopefully not early senility!)

That's great you enjoyed the Veidt documentary. I watched it listening to music cos of the language barrier.

That Satanas poster is something, very striking!

The documentary sounds quite lyrical, from your descriptions of what the narrator said; but frustrating that sources aren't quoted.

The Richard Oswald info is interesting. I think he was a stage actor before he turned to directing in his 30s. I wonder what he said to change Veidt's mind about cinema?

It's a tragedy that so much silent film is lost. Thank goodness we have a few of the Oswald/Veidt collaborations. The surviving films are certainly milestones in Veidt's career and a testament to Oswald's talent.

'Anders als die Andern' - I think it's refreshing how Veidt described the river of mail he received. It speaks volumes in four short words. It's sympathetic, and the subtext of his description challenges Society's orthodox views and what it does to human beings who happen to be gay. I agree, of course Veidt would have been aware of the problem beforehand, not least because of the World he inhabited, but also the small bits of information we have that he was bisexual. I wouldn't expect Veidt to have been outspoken about sexuality, other than through his work, at that period of time. I wouldn't have expected interviewers of that time to delve further during his lifetime. It was probably taboo or too controversial. What I don't understand is how someone writing a contemporary biography (like the one you read last year) or making a documentary in 1986 could not explicitly deal with these issues?! That's simply shoddy.

So fascinating what the doc said about Veidt's method of placing the character in front of his "spiritual" eye, grasping the character from every facet, and then becoming "infected", to the point of changing himself until the work is done. This is striking because of what we see in Veidt's performances, the way he physically transforms, especially how the character infects his eyes. This might be just me being over the top (haha) and I can't describe this properly, but when we see Cesare in Caligari, we see Cesare, not Veidt. When we watch Balduin and his mirror image/doppelganger on screen together in The Student, we don't see an actor playing two roles with a split screen, but two completely independent beings acting together, different in every sense from each other. The infection of character into Veidt is complete, and radiates from the eyes through the screen to the viewer. It's a rare talent.

(Edited to take out superfluous word)

Editat: jul. 1, 2020, 11:34pm

>208 Rembetis:

Not to worry, I go a bit stream-of-consciousness in these posts.

The documentary is very well written and, while similar to Rappaport's in that it doesn't mention Veidt's private life, shows what a deeper thinking-over of his art might mean.

If there are any specific sequences you're interested in, let me know, I was picking out phrases at random, just guessing that what intrigues me might interest others as well.

One other thing I recall is their saying that Veidt only rarely got roles such as the one in Nju, with Elizabeth Bergner and Jannings, where he plays an ordinary man (but melancholy again--in love with another man's wife again) and that that was the first time he got to be wholly "un-demonic".

In the book I was reading (German Expressionist Theatre: The Actor and the Stage) there was a lot about the Liebhaber (literally "lover") type of role in drama and film, always played by young men, and what struck me as the most curious and interesting aspect of it (thinking about Veidt), was the notion that the erotic energy of that role, the affective yearning, mobilised actors around him. The Liebhaber as a torch and engine of the whole show, the fire in its belly.

Kuhns quoted the actor Ernst Deutsch on a somewhat different theme, that of Max Reinhardt's performance philosophy and what it taught him, how to feel in order to express feeling--anyway, all that combined to throw some new light on Veidt's acting. (Veidt too was Reinhardt's student.) Doesn't it look, so many times, as if he's burning? He burns as Borgia, as the lover in Opium, as Ayan the rajah, as Rasputin, as Cesare, and as the Student--the whole time!

His characters seem to call up and focus in themselves a tragic conflagration.

But how does he do it--this, I think, is where Kuhns' writing about the nature and function of the Liebhaber and the dependence actors have on other actors, to fan the flames, to respond, to help the fire grow by catching the fire, comes in. I think Veidt's genius was in that he needed so very little, to give so much. Whether paired with another masterful actor like Krauss or Bergner, or with a comically miscast Mia May, he burned and glowed, a radiant star, the Liebhaber in abstract.

Editat: jul. 2, 2020, 12:25am

Oh, my, this is a fantastic opportunity to see this film (rather expensive to buy) in high resolution, and as a legit BFI upload!

Jew Süss (1934) | BFI National Archive

ETA: Just to be clear--this is Lothar Mendes' version of Feuchtwanger's novel with Veidt in the main role. Sometimes titled "Power".

jul. 5, 2020, 6:34pm

>209 LolaWalser: Couldn't agree more with your Veidt 'burning' analogy. You are right that his performance level is always excellent, whatever the style, and whoever he is cast against. There is some melodrama, when it is called for, but there is no 'bad' or 'phoned in' performances that I have seen.

>210 LolaWalser: Many thanks for the link. the print looks sparkling!

Editat: jul. 18, 2020, 7:28pm

I'm finally able to review the DVD of Die andere Seite released in 2018, and I only regret I didn't purchase it immediately when it appeared... (to refresh memories, the film was discussed and I posted some screen grabs from the Deutsche Kinemathek in >34 LolaWalser:).

The DVD image quality is no less than the version on the DK site; it credits DK but they have removed the watermark from every frame (great!), and both the sound and the image are cleaned up. The photos on the Amazon site are doing it a disservice--the image is BETTER than they show.

It includes English subs (didn't look at them but the menu lists them); no other extras.

This is a fantastic movie and a must for a Veidt fan.

In case anyone's interested but avoids Amazon, the producer/seller is Morisel Verlag at

jul. 19, 2020, 6:37am

>212 LolaWalser: Many thanks for the info! English subs - great!

jul. 23, 2020, 8:41pm

>17 LolaWalser:

Only 3 years late... I started watching Unheimliche Geschichten on Youtube a couple of weeks ago but decided to see if i could find a copy on disc. I ended up getting the same restored version from filmjuwelen that you screen capped. I watched it this evening, but found I had to play the Youtube copy in parallel, for the translated inter titles.

Part of the reason for wanting to buy a copy was because Anita Berber co-stars (the dancer who in some ways epitomised the Weimar period and was dead before she was out of her twenties). But it's Veidt who draws the eye of course, even under unflattering wigs in a couple of the segments.

It's an irrelevant (or irreverent) thought, but I couldn't shake the impression that he looks like Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten, ex-Bad Seed) when made up as Death in the framing story.

jul. 23, 2020, 9:51pm

>214 housefulofpaper:


(I have many snaps from that DVD in my Junk Drawer but I don't think they're visible unless posted.)

I'm always glad to hear when people find their way to this stuff. Sorry about the lack of subs... not quite sure why they don't take in account the wider audience, I can't imagine it would be a great outlay...

Berber was in other movies with Veidt but I'm not sure anything else survives where they share scenes. I don't remember if they do in Lucrezia Borgia (I think not), and very little survives of her role as his sister in Anders als die Andern.

Mel Gordon writes that they were lovers but it's hard to tell whether it's true or just something everyone assumed about anyone who got within kissing distance of Berber.

There is a great anecdote of Veidt's about her, one time he says, he accompanied her to some gala evening and she met him enveloped head to toe in a huge fur. When they got to this place/nightclub/?, they made a grand entrance on the top of the stairs, stopped while everyone looked at them, and then Berber dropped her fur to reveal she was completely starkers, and thus slowly descended the stairway. Veidt picked up her coat and followed as if he'd known what she was going to do...

The photos and the famous Dix paintings of her are striking but I get the feeling she was best appreciated in movement. I didn't have much luck searching for any footage of her dancing (there are some photographs one could conceivably "animate" for a short sequence).

Tangentially, Filmmuseum München has been promising to release a restored version of Algol for the last 2-3 years at least; Berber's dance partner and husband Sebastian Droste appears in it as a dancer and choreographer. Might give some idea of their style, or so I hope at least.

ag. 2, 2020, 7:43pm

Rappaport's Veidt documentary is free here (Filmmuseum München's Vimeo account):

It's in English, 60 minutes.

ag. 20, 2020, 7:18pm

I've been meaning to post pics from Der Geiger von Florenz but wanted to get some more screenshots; however, I'm behind on all my "projects" (except for finally having finished the music catalogue--all the stuff here in Canada at least--took me only 12 years, 6 months and a week or so!!), so let's have at least a couple stills of Veidt for now:

ag. 20, 2020, 7:38pm

It's somehow odd, this film. It's a vehicle for the irrepressible Elisabeth Bergner (the director Paul Czinner's wife), who was a great theatrical star but made her first movie, Nju, only a year or so before, co-starring Jannings and Veidt. In Nju Veidt and Bergner play adulterous lovers, and he's cast to his age (29-30), so it's a bit startling to find him in this movie, made a short time later, playing Bergner's father.

The plot has Bergner running away because she hates her adored father's second wife and pretending to be a boy. As a "boy" she becomes a young painter's model, who of course feels very drawn to her, the usual queer complications ensue but get resolved in the heterosexual happily ever after.

The painter's role is even smaller than Veidt's but I do regret a little that he wasn't cast in that part, as it would have been smashing to see him play a crush on a boy, or Bergner for that matter fawning over him while in male get-up.

That said, Veidt of course fulfills the role with aplomb. Someone who is not me could probably say some interesting things on the Oedipal current of the story... let's hope the film finds new analytical viewers.

For some reason it apparently sank without much notice. Apparently the mishmash, as the liner notes have it, of a "Kammerspiel" (chamber drama, such as Nju was) turning into a "road movie" once Bergner flees to Italy, didn't resonate with the audience.

But besides a sparkling Bergner and elegant Veidt it has some wonderful sequences shot on location in Tuscany and Florence itself--it's these I want to go back to once I have the time to see it again.

More Veidt:

ag. 20, 2020, 7:43pm

I have yet to choose the best Bergner moments--it's no wonder she was a huge star, such a captivating face and personality...

After one of the quarrels about the stepmother, trying to woo her father back:

At the end in Florence, when he finds her with the painter and breaks her disguise etc.

Editat: gen. 3, 4:11pm

Ha. From Kurt Tucholsky's humorous poem An ihr (To her):


"Und, Theo, kommt der Film auch in den Saal
Auf Conny Veidt bin ich ganz scharf und toll!"
Pst! Nicht so laut! Da steht doch die Gemahlin:
Die Gussy Holl!


("Say, Theo, do the movie people come here too? I'm crazy mad about Conny Veidt!" Pst! Not so loud! There's his wife: Gussy Holl!)

Full poem in German here:

"Theo" comes from one of Tucholsky's pseudonyms, "Theobald Tiger". Tucholsky was a great admirer of Holl's, and wrote very nicely about Veidt too. The line dates the poem to no later than 1921-2...

Editat: gen. 9, 11:42am

Truly everything comes to those who wait!

Just a heads-up, good five days in advance (I'll try to remember to bump it here and in the Silents group)--January 14 through January 17 Filmmuseum München will put up Murnau's Der Gang in die Nacht, free.

It will be on this link:

gen. 14, 10:36am

It's up!--link same as above, as far as I can tell--just scroll a little down the page if something else is showing up first.