The Hands of Orlac and Secrets of a Soul will retail for $29.95, but can be purchased for $21.99 while The German Expressionism Collection will retail for $69.95, but can be purchased for $50.99 at Classicflix.com. Details below.
The Hands of Orlac (1924)
Reuniting the star and director of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Hands of Orlac (Orlacs Hande) is a deliciously twisted thriller that blends grand guignol thrills with the visual and performance styles of German Expressionism. Based on a novel by medical-horror novelist Maurice Renard, it charts the mental disintegration of a concert pianist (Conrad Veidt, The Man Who Laughs) whose hands are amputated after a train crash, and replaced with the hands of an executed murderer. When Orlac's father is murdered by the dead man's hands, Orlac begins a steady descent toward madness. Produced in
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Secrets of a Soul (1925)
In the 1920s, film studios around the world sought to capitalize on the public's curiosity about the newborn science of psychoanalysis. In 1925, Hans Neumann (of Ufa's Kulturfilm office) contacted members of Sigmund Freud's inner circle with a plan to make a dramatic film that explores the mystifying process of the interpretation of dreams. With the help of noted psychologists Karl Abraham and Hanns Sachs, and under the direction of G.W. Pabst (Pandora's Box), Secrets of a Soul was completed.
Werner Krauss, who had played the deranged Dr. Caligari six years earlier, stars as a scientist who is tormented by an irrational fear of knives and the irresistible compulsion to murder his wife. Driven to the brink of madness by fantastic nightmares (designed by Ernö Metzner and photographed by Guido Seeber in a brilliant mix of expressionism and surrealism), he encounters a psychoanalyst who offers to treat the perplexing malady.
Includes illustrated film notes detailing the controversies surrounding the project.NO BONUS FEATURES
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
The most brilliant example of that dark and twisted film movement known as German expressionism, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a plunge into the mind of insanity that severs all ties with the rational world. Director Robert Wiene and a team of designers crafted a nightmare realm in which light, shadow and substance are abstracted, a world in which a demented doctor and a carnival sleepwalker perpetuate a series of murders in a small community.
This Kino on Video edition is taken from a 35mm print restored by the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv of Germany, featuring the original color tinting and toning. The title translation is by Kinograph Montréal.
New and improved English subtitle translation.
- A 43-minute condensation of Robert Wiene's Genuine: The Tale of a Vampire (1920)
- Behind-the-Scenes footage of Robert Wiene on the set of I.N.R.I.
- Two musical scores to choose from:
- Music composed and performed by Donald Sosin
- Contemporary orchestral score by Rainer Viertblöck
- Gallery of more than 40 photos, posters and production sketches
German expressionist cinema was at its height in the 1920s, and few films embodied the movement as much as Warning Shadows. Directed by Arthur Robison, this classic tale of psychological horror remains his best known work, celebrated for its outrageous visual style and notorious for its attempt to make a purely visual feature film - in other words, a film with no intertitles (except, of course, the opening credits).
A mysterious traveler and illusionist who performs shadow puppetry arrives to provide some entertainment at an otherwise routine dinner party. The host of the party is already mad with jealousy over the presence of his wife's four suitors, but when the puppet show begins, passions overtake reason and reality is not what it appears to be. Shadows, reflections and silhouettes are the dominant imagery, and the film boasts the extraordinary camerawork of Fritz Arno Wagner, the German cinematographer who is renowned for his work with Fritz Lang (Spies, M) and F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu).
Although this marks the first time the film has been released on DVD in the United States, Warning Shadows has long been considered a landmark work by champions of the German cinema. Lotte Eisner, in her book "The Haunted Screen," declared that director Robison "handles phantoms with the same mastery as his strange illusionist," while Siegfried Kracauer, in "From Caligari to Hitler," simply stated that Warning Shadows "belongs among the masterpieces of the German screen."NO BONUS FEATURES