One of the greatest artistic and technical achievements of the German silent cinema, Fritz Lang’s monumental Die Nibelungen is a passionate retelling of Nordic legend, invested with all the resources of the colossal UFA Studios.
Scripted by Lang’s wife at the time, Thea von Harbou (Metropolis), Siegfried establishes larger-than-life heroic characters who are defined by tests of valor and rigid codes of honor. In order to win the hand of Kriemhild (Margarete Schoen), Siegfried (Paul Richter) must win a bride for her brother, King Gunther (Theodor Loos). Kriemhild’s Revenge begins after the death of Siegfried, and weaves the treacherous tale of his widow’s ungodly vengeance upon his murderers. The noble qualities of the first film become liabilities in the second, as the blood oaths and vows of loyalty bring about a maelstrom of violence that results in the slaughter of entire armies (Lang would continue to explore this theme of bloodlust and revenge in such films as Fury, The Big Heat, and Rancho Notorious, but never with such ferocity). —KINO
Born in Vienna in 1890, Fritz Lang was brought up in Viennese middle-class comfort by his Roman Catholic father Anton and his Jewish mother Paula Schleisinger who both hoped that young Fritz would become an architect. But like so many middle-class children of the new century, Lang was fascinated by the pulp and fantasy literature of his day, the art world both in and outside Vienna and a potent new form of entertainment that invited artistic scrutiny and craftsmanship, the motion picture. Though the teenaged Lang attended school as his parents wished, he secretly haunted the cafe’s and cabarets of Vienna and intended to become a painter like his idols Klimt and Schile. At aged 21 Lang’s yearning took him to Paris where he lived in Bohemian splendor until the outbreak of W.W.I. Returning to Vienna, Lang enlisted in the Austrian army where he repeatedly saw combat, was wounded at least three times and decorated twice.
It was while on leave recuperating from one of these wounds… read more
Was there nothing Fritz Lang couldn't do? His German films are amazing. The first half of Die Nibelungen is astounding. Considering that it was made in in 1924 it still thrills. Siegfried's journey, his romance, his battle with the dragon is, in my humble opinion, just as thrilling as it must have been when it was originally released. The mood, the camerawork, which is so sophisticated, the performances. Wonderful.
The Vienna International Film Festival begins, including a complete Fritz Lang retrospective.
"[J]ust as there are two Marias, so there have long been two Metropolises," writes Chris Fujiwara in the new issue of Film Comment. "For