God and Satan war over earth; to settle things, they wager on the soul of Faust, a learned and prayerful alchemist.
Cinema’s most classic rendition of the Faust story. A big-budget German “super-film” from the era of Metropolis, F.W. Murnau’s masterpiece still dazzles—and is now in a beautiful new HD restoration that does justice to its black magic.
"moment, last forever!" what's so exceptional in that sentence, since we all want an infinite sequence of time particles to be strewn upon us with limitless generosity? except that this sentence is aimed at terminating faust's eternal living, while we hope to achieve it by pronouncing it.
Cinema as illuminated letters. Magnificently realised allegorical tub-thumping with wonderfully ripe head-held-high dramatics and visual trickery, despite some verbosity and longeurs - notably in the wedding sequence, ravishing though it is. It’s the kind of film that calls out for the reinstating of tabs in cinemas to sweep majestically apart in heraldic announcement. You can practically smell the burnt carbon.
It stands to reason that storytelling on the grandest conceivable scale would be coupled to maximal exploitation of the expressive capabilities of the cinematic medium. I am sure that the majority of the effects here are done in camera, and the fact is that they routinely dazzle. When I was a youngster I enjoyed watching FAUST really, really high. It still strikes me as pretty goddamn psychotropic. A kind of deluge.
One of Murnau's strongest movies with excellent visual design (influenced by expressionism as well as painting from the romantic era). The compiled score of this version is a little bit boring (also regarding the performance).
Essential cinema. Murnau's legacy as a silent filmmaker though solidified by 'Sunrise' and 'Nosferatu' is equally supported by this incredible morality tale. While not exactly faithful to the Goethe tome, Murnau puts a cinematic take on the tale that is a staggering and sober work. Emil Jannings is perfection as Mephisto but Gosta Ekman is equally impressive. Some of the effects work is still just breathtaking.
A reminder to today's CGI boffins that special effects are nothing without reliable artistic judgement, a cogent approach to the art direction ("look") of the film... and of course a good film to put them in.
I dug the sets, camera work and Jannings' camp. The religious themes of the fable this was adapted from don't do much for me on a personal level but that never got in the way for me enjoy the film's merits.