These notes accompany the screenings of Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat on June 6, 7, and 8 in Theater 3.
Posts tagged ‘Fritz Lang’
These notes accompany the screening of Fritz Lang’s You Only Live Once on January 12, 13, and 14 in Theater 3.
The American-made films of Viennese-born Fritz Lang (1890–1976) will be the subject of a comprehensive retrospective at New York City’s Film Forum from January 28 through February 10. A number of his German classics appear in our own Weimar Cinema, 1919–1933: Daydreams and Nightmares exhibition, and a restored Metropolis (1926) recently had a run at Manhattan’s largest movie house. So it would be hard to argue that Lang is a forgotten director. Read more
These notes accompany the screening of Pandora’s Box, May 5, 6, and 7 in Theater 3.
“What counts is the image. So I would still claim that the creator of the film is much more the director than the author of the scenario or the actors.” – G. W. Pabst
Georg Wilhelm Pabst (1885–1967) was the third member of the great Weimar directorial triumvirate, along with Fritz Lang and F. W. Murnau. In some ways he was the most elusive and mysterious of the three. Murnau was haunted by whatever demons went along with being homosexual in an uncongenial era. Pabst’s fellow Austrian, Lang, seemed to flirt with Fascism—his intellectual instincts were Teutonic, his wife was a Nazi, and he was offered control of the Reich’s film industry—before deciding to go west and ultimately winding up in Hollywood (where he became a practicing democrat, although reports of his tyrannical relations with coworkers probably would disqualify him from canonization). Pabst was a horse of a different color altogether, or, perhaps more correctly, several different colors. While Lang could only imagine New York for Metropolis, Pabst spent a few youthful years here. He came to film directing rather late, in 1923, but he had made several successful movies (Der Schatz, Die Freudlose Gasse, Geheimnisse Einer Seele, Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney) by the time of Die Buchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) in 1928. Read more
These notes accompany the Nordic Gods and Directors program, which screens on February 17, 18, and 19 in Theater 3.
In a sense, there are two Fritz Langs, with his life, career, and sensibility split almost literally in half by the rise of the Nazis. The German Lang is monumental, existing in a realm of the fantastic, the superhuman, the surreal. The American Lang is naturalistic, existing in a real world inhabited by ordinary earthlings, people with feelings, folks with whom we can identify. The crossover film was M (1931), Lang’s first talkie, in which Peter Lorre’s child murderer is accorded a sympathetic hearing, evoking the genuine emotion lacking in Lang’s work over the preceding twelve years. This is not to suggest that Lang (1890–1976) ever became a conventionally naturalistic and humanistic director in the course of his honorable and mostly successful American career. He was as much a progenitor of film noir as he was of the expressionism from whence it sprung, and his later ramblings—from Brecht to Zola, from the Philippines of Tyrone Power to Jean-Luc Godard’s Capri in Le Mepris—bespeak no ordinary career.