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also known as Eine deutsche Volkssage

Faust1926

  • 4.3
Fresh from the triumphant releases of NOSFERATU and THE LAST LAUGH, F. W. Murnau was given carte blanche to direct this epic fable of the supernatural. Freed from the burden of plausibility by the story's fantastic premise, Murnau summoned forth a tempest of cinematic brimstone so that every scene ripples with reckless ingenuity. Utilizing the full resources of the UFA Studios (including elaborate miniature models and experimental special effects), FAUST captures the intensity of a medieval universe steeped in religious fanaticism and pagan alchemy. Black-hooded pallbearers lead a torchlit procession through a plague-stricken village literally cloaked by the wings of Satan. Crowded landscapes materialize and vanish in wisps of smoke, demonic cratures soar through the heavens and earthly beings are tormented by the vaporous spirits that permeate the dungeon-like homes and CALIGARI-esque rooftops of this shadow world. In the eye of this infernal maelstrom is the great Emil Jannings, who sets off the film's sound and fury with a diabolically engaging performance, making Faust "a radiant jewel...a masterpiece" (according to no less an authority than the New York Times). Music composed and conducted by Timothy Brock, performed by the Olympia Chamber Orchestra.

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Member Reviews (3)

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top reviewer

A stunning masterwork of "Fine Art" Cinema. Film as a pure Visual medium. A natural extension of Painting, and Music. German romantic expressionism. Clever and ingenious analog special effects, with perfectly lit and photographed sets. Powerful dramatics, Emil Jannings is deliciously evil as MEPHISTO. This film truly deserves the term "SPECTACULAR"! A perfect film for these "Unholy Days". Murnau's "FAUST" is a supernatural, fantasy Opera, that ranks with GUNOT'S actual Opera, in "Artistic Merit".

3 members like this review

Perhaps a bit longer than it really needs to be, but well worth viewing, if for no other reason than the beauty of the sets and lighting. Contemporary films have simply never measured up to films like Faust for sheer atmosphere.

1 member likes this review

A great Expressionist film. The use of shadows and lighting within the eerie sets creates a heavy yet delectable atmosphere of foreboding. The iconic bald mountain shot of Mephisto spreading his dark wings over the town is of course the inspiration for one of the final scenes in Disney's Fantasia. Despite being an obviously Gothic text, there are some really great moments of comedy and fun--the parallel romantic (?) chase scenes, for example. There are also some really interesting uses of the architecture not just as disorienting set pieces, but as a series of thresholds to cross (or linger in). If this film weren't already so visually stunning, Jannings' performance as Mephisto would clearly be the focal point. He is deliciously evil.