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2 important movies tcm could show tht have not been seen ever


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Die freudlose GasseEdition Filmmuseum 48

 

Die freudlose Gasse (The Joyless Street) is not only one of the most important films of the Weimar Republic, it is also one of the most spectacular censorship cases of the era. The story from the inflationary period in Vienna in the years immediately after World War I was considered too much of a provocation: nouveau riches currency and stock market speculators who wallow in Babylonian luxury, homeless and unemployed Lumpenproletariat living in barns, women who sell their souls for a bit of fresh meat at the butcher's, sexual ****, bordellos and murders. This unique 2-disc DVD set offers the improved most complete restored version of the film as well as a lot of additional material including an excellent documentary about the life and work of G.W. Pabst.

 

The films

Die freudlose Gasse / The Joyless Street - Germany 1925 - Directed by: Georg Wilhelm Pabst - Written by: Willy Haas, based on the novel by Hugo Bettauer - Cinematography by: **** Seeber - Cast: Asta Nielsen, Greta Garbo, Agnes Esterhazy, Werner Krau?, Karl Etlinger, Valeska Gert - Produced by: Sofar-Film-Produktion, Berlin - Premiere: May 18, 1925 (Mozartsaal Berlin) - Reconstruction: Filmmuseum M?nchen - Edited by: Jan-Christopher Horak, Gerhard Ullmann, Klaus Volkmer

 

Der andere Blick / The Other Eye - Austria/USA 1991 (revised DVD version 2009) - Directed and written by: Hannah Heer, Werner Schmiedel - Photographed by: Hannah Heer - With: Rudolf S. Joseph, Jan-Christopher Horak, Michael Pabst, Harold Nebenzal, Hilde Krahl, Micheline Presle Produced by: Thalia-Film GmbH, Vienna / River Lights Pictures Inc., New York Premiere: September 25, 1991 (New York Film Festival)

 

Pabst wieder sehen / Reviewing Pabst - Germany 1997 - Directed by: Martin Koerber, Wolfgang Jacobsen, Ren? Perraudin - Written by: Martin Koerber, Wolfgang Jacobsen - Photographed by: Ren? Perraudin - With: Jan-Christopher Horak, Klaus Volkmer, Gerhard Ullmann, Nicola Mazzanti, Gian Luca Farinelli Produced by: Eikon-Film, Berlin / ZDF/arte, Mainz Premiere: February 22, 1997 (Berlin Film Festival)

 

About Die freudlose Gasse

Die freudlose Gasse (The Joyless Street), directed Georg Wilhelm Pabst from a script by Willy Haas, based on a novel by Hugo Bettauer, is not only one of the most important films of the Weimar Republic, it is also one of the most spectacular censorship cases of the era. While the film made its director famous, the state institutions of control guaranteed that no one would ever see the film in its original form. The film was considered too much of a provocation. Its story from the inflationary period in Vienna in the years immediately after World War I offered enough dynamite for several muckraking novels: nouveau riches currency and stock market speculators who wallow in Babylonian luxury, homeless and unemployed Lumpenproletariat living in barns, women who sell their souls for a bit of fresh meat at the butcher's, arrogant but impoverished former bureaucrats unaware of their social slide, young social climbers willing to prostitute themselves with high society women, sexual **** and bordellos, murder out of jealousy, murder out of despair, and, finally, a revolution in the streets.

 

Contemporary film critics, as well as film historians have always recognized The Joyless Street as a seminal film, a film on the border between German Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit (new realism). Two quotes from contemporary reviews may illustrate the point: the Berliner Tageblatt wrote: "In terms of its acting, this is a beautiful film with great direction and wonderful actors." In fact, the film starred Asta Nielsen, Werner Kraus, Hertha von Walter, and a young Greta Garbo who would go on to a stellar career in Hollywood. In the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Otto Friedrich wrote: "He (Pabst) achieves his goal in great style, does not tread on well-worn paths, presents new ideas which are uniquely his own, and with this achievement gives us a new hope. He captures the atmosphere of an idea, keeps redrawing it on the surface in ever more intensive images, in contrasts of action that make an ever stronger impression. He illustrates the down-trodden souls of the era and the manic lust for pleasure of its people who are trying to do nothing more than escape for a few minutes from the terrible truth of the present."

 

Not only was the film cut for political and moral reasons in every country where it was publicly shown, it was also reedited in order to close the huge gaps created by censorship cuts. Thus, in almost every country totally different narratives of The Joyless Street emerged. According to Mark Sorkin, Pabst's editor, he and Pabst had made the first cuts the night before the premiere, because the theatre owner insisted the film be shortened.

While the first version of The Joyless Street still had a length of 3738 meters (only four meters were initially cut by the censorship board on 25 May 1925), the film was back in court on 29 March 1926, because the police had issued a decree calling for a total ban on the film, due to its "lewd" and " seditious" tendencies. Now only 3477 meters remained of the film. None of the later surviving versions ever came close to this length. Neither a German version, nor the original German censorship cards are known to exist.

 

Everyone who has seen the new reconstruction of The Joyless Street agrees that it is a vast improvement over all previously existing versions. Yet it remains only a subjective attempt at a reconstruction. While it is true that the reconstruction team tried to base every one of it decisions on documentary evidence, it must also be admitted that without a surviving original German version, we will never know what the film really looked like. Given the incredible complexity of the narrative, involving at least six different subplots, and the fact that the film is still missing at least 700 meters, this version must be characterized as at attempt at a reconstruction.

 

Jan-Christopher Horak

 

 

 

Blind Husbands (Die Rache der Berge)Edition Filmmuseum 03

 

Erich von Stroheim's directorial debut Blind Husbands is considered a masterpiece of American silent cinema. Set in the alpine scenery of South Tyrol it still baffles its audiences through its precise visual language and its moral ambiguity. This edition presents the film in its gorgeous tinted Austrian release version, Die Rache der Berge (Blinde Ehem?nner) / The Revenge of the Mountains (Blind Husbands), featuring German language intertitles. This print of the film is the longest and oldest version available today. Extras include additional materials from the Austrian Film Museum's Stroheim collection as well as a ROM section with materials on Stroheim and the film.

 

The film

Blind Husbands / Die Rache der Berge (Blinde Ehem?nner) - USA 1919 - Directed and wrotten by: Erich von Stroheim, based on his story "The Pinnacle" - Cinematography by: Ben F. Reynolds - Cast: Sam de Grasse, Francelia Billington, Erich von Stroheim, Fay Holderness, Richard Cummings - Produced by: Universal-Jewel Production de Luxe - Premi?re: October 21, 1919

 

About the film

Two differences between this Austrian version and the generally available American version are immediately obvious: they differ both in their length and in the language of the intertitles. The American version is only 1,883 metres long - at 18 frames per second a difference of some 7 minutes to the Austrian version with 2,045 metres. Whereas we originally presumed only a negligible difference, resulting from the varying length of the intertitles, a direct comparison has nevertheless shown that the Austrian version differs from the American version both in the montage and in the duration of individual scenes. Yet how could it happen that the later regional distribution of a canonical US silent film was longer than the "original version"?

 

The prevalent American version of Blind Husbands does not correspond to the version shown at the premiere of 1919. This little-known fact was already published by Richard Koszarski in 1983. The film was re-released by Universal Pictures in 1924, in a version that was 1,365 feet (416 metres) shorter. At 18 frames per second, this amounts to a time difference of 20 minutes! "Titles were altered, snippets of action removed and at least one major scene taken out entirely, where von Steuben and Margaret visit a small local chapel." (Koszarski)

 

From the present state of research we can assume that all the known American copies of the film derive from this shortened re-release version, a copy of which Universal donated to the Museum of Modern Art in 1941. According to Koszarski the original negative of the film was destroyed sometime between 1956 and 1961 and has therefore been irretrievably lost. This information casts an interesting light on the Austrian version, which can be dated to the period between the summer of 1921 and the winter of 1922. Furthermore, the copy is some 200 metres longer than the US version of 1924. If one follows the details given by Richard Koszarski and Arthur Lennig, this means that, as far as both its date and its length are concerned, the Austrian version lies almost exactly in the middle between the (lost) version shown at the premiere and the re-released one.A large part of the additional length of the film can be traced to cuts that were made to the 1924 version in almost every shot. Koszarski describes how the beginning and the end of scenes were trimmed, in order to "speed up" the film. However, more exciting was the discovery that the Austrian version contains shots that are missing in the American one - shots/countershots, intertitles - and furthermore shows differences in its montage (i.e. the placing of the individual shots within a sequence). All this indicates that Die Rache der Berge constitutes the oldest and most completely preserved material of the film.

 

Paolo Caneppele / Michael Loebenstein

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There are lots of movies TCM has never shown that I wish they would. That's why I love the programming scheduling challenge--I can program them! And TCM reads them and often gets ideas. So program your ideal week with these movies and TCM might sit up and take notice.

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