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Classics of German Expressionist Cinema

Friday, March 9, 1979
7:30 p.m. Scherben & The Hands Of Orlac
Lupu Pick
Robert Wiene (Germany,1921)
(Germany, 1924)

(Shattered) is considered one of the first great German silent films which cannot be judged from its synopsis alone. Carl Mayer, who has written the scenarios for half a dozen films in this series, again has created a masterwork, a “drama in five days,” which needs only one title, when at the end the gateman says, “Ich bin ein Moerder” (I am a murderer). It is another Kammerspiel-Film, with only four characters, but describing in detail the atmosphere in which this tragedy takes place. Mayer was the first German scenario-writer to take his subject matter from everyday life. It was also Lupu Pick’s greatest success among the score of films he directed before his early death in 1931. According to film historian Paul Rotha: “Mayer resisted Kitsch. He concentrated on stories of an honest character. This was a new sociological use of cinema.”

• Directed by Lupu Pick. Screenplay by Carl Mayer and Lupu Pick. Photographed by Friedrich Weinmann. With Werner Krauss, Hermine Strassmann-Witt, Edith Posca. (1921, 48 mins, German intertitle - one - with live English translation, Print Courtesy of Goethe Institute)

Hands Of Orlac
(Orlacs Hande) provides an outstanding performance by Conrad Veidt in the first version of Maurice Renard’s thrice-filmed story about the famous pianist Paul Orlac, who loses both hands in an accident, and undergoes an operation which transplants the hands of a just-executed murderer to the artist’s severed limbs. The director is Robert Weine, who made The Cabinet Of Doctor Caligari.

• Directed by Robert Weine. Screenplay by Ludwig Nerz, based on the story by Maurice Renard. Photographed by Gunther Krampf and Hans Androschin. With Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Strassny, Fritz Kortner. (1924, 63 mins, German intertitles with live English translation, Print Courtesy of Goethe Institute)