Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Furcht - 1917

Country: Germany
Director: Robert Wiene
Writer: Robert Wiene
Stars: Bruno Decarli, Bernhard Goetzke and Mechthildis Thein
Also Known As: Fear (USA - informal literal English title)
Filming Locations: Messter-Atelier - Blücherstraße 32, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
Sound Mix: Silent
Color: Black and White
The film's plot deals with a man haunted by a misdeed he has committed (his obsessive passion for rare objets d'art has driven him to make away with a statue from an Indian temple). In fact, the plot opens with the hero's arrival at his estate from abroad where he is already in an agitated state and orders his myriad servants to bar the entrances and exits! One of them, however, is worried by his master's paranoia and seeks advice from the town minister and the hero's former schoolteacher, who instantly realizes that what he needs is not a man of God but of Science! Soon after, he is visited by a mysterious man in Indian garb (a brief role for Conrad Veidt, later co-star of CALIGARI and protagonist of ORLAC) who prophesies that, in seven years' time, the man will meet his come-uppance by the hand of the one whom he loves most!
Somewhat relieved, the hero decides to live up the time allotted to him and begins to lead a hedonistic lifestyle which, however, he soon tires of, so he picks up medicine and apparently comes up with some astonishing discovery but which he promptly destroys at its much-publicized unveiling! So, as he often says, "on to something new" and, now, he falls in love and plans to marry but, since the 'contract' is about to expire, he soon grows morose and alienates his intended! At the appointed time, even if he had disposed of the statue in a river in a desperate attempt to break the spell (should he not have contrived to return it to the rightful owners if any hope of clemency was to be expected?), he is so nerve-wracked that he shoots himself…suggesting that he had loved himself best of all! Soon after, Veidt reappears and picks up the statue not from the river-bed but rather from where the hero used to keep it, to which cabinet it had magically returned! 

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