The History of Motion Pictures

By Maurice Bardèche; Robert Brasillach et al. | Go to book overview

guard, France had assembled an imposing array of talent at the time talkies were invented.


2. The German Film

DURING the creative years, Germany played an important part; she continued to do so during the period in which--once experimentation had resulted in a degree of stability--the cinema was to produce its finest works. The German contribution is difficult to assess, particularly after 1925, for this country turned out a number of films without any merit--light comedies which were very heavy and society dramas--exactly like similar films produced in France. These were made for purely commercial reasons, but a few of the men who had really contributed something now conscientiously continued their work with striking results, and, since at the time little was known of the Russian films and Sweden was producing hardly anything of interest, they appeared to be the most notable figures in the European field.


THE END OF CALIGARISM

The elements which had made the fame of the German product were nevertheless to vanish with the posterity of Caligari. Emaciated Conrad Veidt was still to appear in terrifying and Hoffmannesque films, one of which was, inevitably, a Dr. Jekyll made to rival John Barrymore's, in which Veidt's slender silhouette was extremely effective.* But the primary interest of these attempts to endow the screen with fantasy was dissipated amid the banality of their too obvious effects. Directors who had established a reputation along these lines now merely repeated themselves or sought fresh fields.

Robert Wiene was to try to terrify us once more in TheHands of Orlac

____________________
*
Der Januskopf, directed by F. W. Murnau, shown in U.S.A. as Love's Mockery, was made in 1920.

-251-

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The History of Motion Pictures
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Translator's Note *
  • Part One - The Birth of the Film 1895-1908 1
  • Part Two - The Prewar Film 1908-1914 37
  • Part Three - The Cinema during the World War 1914-1918 91
  • 1 - The Italian Film 95
  • 2 - The American Film 98
  • 3 - The French Film 127
  • 4 - The German Film and the Danish Film 134
  • 5 - The Swedish Film 136
  • 6 - The Russian Film 140
  • Part Four - The Emergence of an Art 1919-1923 145
  • 1 - The French Film 147
  • 2 - The Russian Film 168
  • 4 - The German Film 187
  • 5 - The Italian Film 196
  • 6 - The American Film 199
  • Part Five - The Classic Era of the Silent Film 1923-1929 223
  • 1 - The French Film 225
  • 2 - The German Film 251
  • 3 - The Scandinavian Film 263
  • 4 - The Russian Film 266
  • 5 - The American Film 283
  • 6 - The Death of Art 300
  • Part Six - The Talking Films 1929-1935 303
  • 1 - The American Film 305
  • 3 - The German Film 341
  • 4 - The Russian Film 353
  • 5 - A World Industry 361
  • Part Seven - Forty Years of Film 367
  • Editorial Postscript: 1935-1938 381
  • Index of Film Titles 391
  • General Index 405
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