Posted 08 December 2006 - 08:46 AM
Posted 07 December 2006 - 10:56 PM
Posted 14 November 2006 - 03:03 PM
I watched a rental of the KINO DVD of F.W. Murnau's "Faust" last night...
The best description of the movie and the DVD presentation of the movie is astonishing.
First, everyone knows the story of Faust. I don't need to write a synopsis of the story. The movie "Faust" grabbed my attention one minute after the start of the movie...I was tinkering with something in front of the television while my wife watched the DVD. "Faust" grabbed my attention and I was transfixed by the movie until the last scene (almost two hours). By the way, my wife had fallen asleep by the end of the movie. She says she will "pick up" the last ten minutes of the film today.
Second, the special effects of Murnau's Faust are...well, incredible. Even by today's standards.
Third, the acting is superb. Emil Jannings' performance as Mephisto is...uh, once more...astonishing.
Fourth, Murnau's job as director of "Faust" is masterful. I thought it was interesting, during a recent John Ford documentary, Mr. Ford mentions the difficulty of directing silent (versus talkie) films. I guess he means the many camera set-ups required to present an idea to the audience. The presentation of an idea simplified considerably if the soundtrack has dialogue. Well, Murnau makes no missteps directing "Faust". Here is a small example of Murnau's mastery of the silent film. One scene has Mephisto and Faust placing a pretty bit of jewelry (the temptation) in the dresser drawer of Faust's love interest. The dresser is in her bedroom. Mephisto and Faust exits the bedroom. The love interest enters her bedroom and she...shudders slightly. No words. She merely trembles for a second...just enough to tell us (the audience) she feels the lingering presence of evil. Wonderful.
Fifth, KINO's DVD beautifully presents the black and white cinematography. This movie has a lot of effects--fog and smoke, fade outs, fade ins, double exposures...what have you. These effects are central to the story. These effects would be "lost" without top notch video luminance and contrast. The KINO DVD does not take anything away from the film. In fact, the DVD artfully enhances Murnau's vision. Really, the video of this DVD is wonderful. Watch this DVD on the largest screen possible (I watched the thing on a good 35 inch CRT television).
Sixth, KINO's DVD soundtrack also enhances the experience of watching "Faust". This DVD has an orchestral soundtrack and the music follows the action nicely.
The extras on the DVD are spare. The only extra is a series of stills from the making of "Faust". The still pictures display for a few seconds before moving to the next picture. Some pictures display a zoom image, before moving to the next picture.
I have watched more than fifty silent films. My opinion? "Faust" is the perfect introduction to silent films. Considering the effects, the story, the DVD...only one other silent film competes with "Faust" as the perfect "first silent film"--"The Phantom Of The Opera" .
"Faust" is one of...maybe, six films I have rented and immediately looked the movie up on the internet to purchase. And that means "Faust" is a pretty darned good movie.
Posted 27 September 2006 - 09:14 AM
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