DVD - 2011
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God and Satan war over earth; to settle things, they wager on the soul of Faust, a learned and prayerful alchemist. During a plague, Faust despairs and burns his books after failing to stop death; Satan sends Mephisto to tempt Faust, first with insight into treating the plague and then with a day's return to youth. Mephisto is clear, timing the end of this 24 hours as Faust embraces the beautiful Duchess of Parma. Faust trades his soul for youth.
Publisher: [Carlisle, Massachusetts] : Desert Island Films, [2011]
Edition: Fullscreen edition
Copyright Date: ℗1926
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (approximately 85 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Goethe's Faust


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Dec 14, 2017

F. W. Murnau’s screen adaptation of Goethe’s defining work is a phantasmagorical mix of high tragedy and dark expressionism whose eroticism and flashes of nudity were quite daring for the time. With an unlimited budget and a crew of cinematic visionaries, his silent masterpiece alternates scenes of domestic tranquility with horror and heart-rending sorrow—a leering devil spreads his wings over the spires of a sleeping village while a woman cradles her dying infant and smiling children weave garlands of daisies unaware of the evil set to pounce upon them. With his open face reflecting an aura of melancholy Gösta Ekman is perfectly cast as the betrayed Faust—playing him as both a grizzled senior and doe-eyed young man—while Camilla Horn has you reaching for the tissues in her role of Gretchen, an innocent virgin despoiled by Faust’s unchecked libido. But it is screen legend Emil Jannings who ultimately owns the film, his portrayal of the impish Mephisto a master class in fawning seduction and diabolical guile. A tad long at almost two hours and with a few narrative detours that were unnecessarily padded, this is still a sterling example of pioneer cinema before the advent of CGI, Technicolor, and Dolby Surround.

Oct 20, 2016

loved this movie. rarely watch silents, but this; if not only for the music, totally kept my attention. like reading a book, I couldn't wait to turn the page. I recommend this movie. 5 stars!!

Mar 02, 2016

mid-way through, between turns of the hourglass, there was unexpected comic relief with Gretchen's Tante Marthe and the very devilish young Mephisto

well done, good music.

Nov 25, 2015

This was an enjoyable treat of an old film. What is more remarkable is that the message of the film was evident.
Seelochan Beharry

Janedith Feb 15, 2014

The special effects were impressive. The story moved along nicely. One of the best silent movies I have seen.

Mar 05, 2013

I was absolutely, positively *blown away* by the special effects (superimposed, lighting tricks, etc.) that Murnau used in this impressive landmark. I wasn't aware that they were that tech savvy almost ninety years ago. Gösta Ekman was brilliant as Faust, the tormented old sage, and Emil Jannings was tremendous as the malicious Mephisto. Unfortunately, I felt Murnau devoted just a wee bit too much time on young Faust's courtship of Gretchen; the momentum suffered when he and Mephisto's evil pact was put aside for a little too long. Necessary for character development, I suppose. Solid, heart-wrenching ending, though. Wonderful score from Timothy Brock and The Olympia Chamber Orchestra, also. FIVE STARS.


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Mar 05, 2013

Erzengel/Archangel: "Here is no place for thee!" Mephisto: "I claim my wager!" Erzengel/Archangel: "One Word breaks thy pact!" Mephisto: "Tell me the Word!" Erzengel/Archangel: "The Word that rings joyfully throughout the universe, the Word that appeases every pain and grief, the Word that expiates all human guilt, the Eternal Word... dost thou not know it?" Mephisto: "Tell me the Word!" (appearing in a sunburst...) "Liebe" (Love) (Mephisto shrinks from Erzengel/Archangel, and disappears)


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