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