I can see why the story about the caliph brought this one down. It's about three people who defy basic emotional realism and never receive comeuppance for their terrible actions. The latter two are fine; I actually really like the hourglass metaphor that comes into play. The czar hems and haws about being greater than time and winds up a slave to it. I think it's a fine film taken altogether, but not a classic.
A mess to be honest. Even Emil Jannings couldnt elevate this one to classic status, although to be fair he is given probably the worst of the three stories to work with. One has to appreciate this however, as it gave Fairbanks the idea for the amazing Thief of Baghdad. Veidt is good as Ivan, and I am apparently one of the few who didnt care for the last story. A real uneven film, with best parts stuck in the middle
An anthology film that unfortunately gets better (and shorter) with each segment. The Caliph segment drags along w/ cliche, horrible dialogue, & weak story. The Ivan the Terrible segment is solid w/ Veidt's performance carrying the entire thing. The final part, about Spring Heeled Jack/ Jack the Ripper is an effective expressionistic nightmare that's very short but gives the film some much needed energy.