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German Cinema: Articles


'Die Nibelungen' Movies': Powerful Women in Masterful, 'Otherworldly' Germanic Tragedy

'Die Nibelungen: Siegfried': Paul Richter as the dragon-slaying hero of medieval Germanic mythology. 'Die Nibelungen': Enthralling silent classic despite complex plot and countless characters Based on the medieval epic poem Nibelungenlied, itself inspired by the early medieval Germanic saga about the Burgundian royal family, Fritz Lang's two-part Die Nibelungen is one of those movies I can enjoy many times without ever really understanding who's who and what's what. After all, the semi-historical, fantasy/adventure epic is packed with intrigue, treachery, deceit, hatred, murder, and sex. And that's just the basic plotline. As seen in Kino's definitive two-disc edition, artistically and cinematically speaking Die Nibelungen contains some of the greatest visual compositions I've ever seen. Filmed mostly in long shots that frame […]


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'Die Nibelungen' Movies': Powerful Women in Masterful, 'Otherworldly' Germanic Tragedy



'Downfall' Movie Review: Iconic Bruno Ganz Hitler Portrayal

'Downfall' movie with Bruno Ganz: Iconic Adolf Hitler. 'Downfall' movie: Overlong and overwrought World War II drama lifted by several memorable performances Oliver Hirschbiegel's German box office hit Downfall / Der Untergang is a generally engrossing psychological-historical drama whose emotional charge is diluted by excessive length, an overabundance of characters, and a tendency to emphasize the more obvious aspects of the narrative. On the positive side, several key performances – including Bruno Ganz's now iconic Adolf Hitler – help to lift Downfall above the level of myriad other Nazi era movies. Nazi Germany literally goes under In Downfall, which by the end of 2004 had been seen by more than 4.5 million German moviegoers, Nazi Germany is about to lose […]


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'Downfall' Movie Review: Iconic Bruno Ganz Hitler Portrayal



Luise Rainer Dead: Two-Time Best Actress Oscar Winner Was 104

Luise Rainer: MGM star in the mid-'30s. Luise Rainer dead at 104: MGM actress was first two-time and first consecutive Oscar winner in acting categories, and oldest surviving winner The first two-time and first consecutive Academy Award winner in the acting categories, and, at age 104, the oldest surviving Oscar winner, Luise Rainer – Best Actress for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937) – died at her London apartment on Dec. 30, '14 – nearly two weeks before her 105th birthday. Below is a revised version of an article originally posted on Jan. 17, '14, a few days after Rainer turned 104. 104-year-old two-time Oscar winner ignored at Golden Globes Inevitably, Transformers movie franchise director Michael Bay […]


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Luise Rainer Dead: Two-Time Best Actress Oscar Winner Was 104



'The Love of Jeanne Ney': G.W. Pabst Classic

Uno Henning, Edith Jehanne, The Love of Jeanne Ney G.W. Pabst's Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney / The Love of Jeanne Ney is a real mystery. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. The entire film is a puzzle. The opening title card introduces the story: “After the Russian Revolution, civil war rages in the Crimea, bringing in its wake chaos and misery and unscrupulous men.” After that, you're on your own.  The first character introduced is simply named Mr. Khalibiev (Fritz Rasp), the first of many “unscrupulous men” who inhabit this complex tale. A more unctuous, repellent individual could not be imagined. When we see Mr. Khalibiev smoking something very suspicious from a pipe, it […]


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'The Love of Jeanne Ney': G.W. Pabst Classic



'Sophie Scholl: The Final Days' Review: Superb Julia Jentsch as Nazi Fighter

Julia Jentsch, Fabian Hinrichs, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days Directed with clenched fists by Berlin Film Festival winner Marc Rothemund, who seems to have been at least partly inspired by Robert Bresson's minimalist The Trial of Joan of Arc, Sophie Scholl: The Final Days is an intense, unsentimental, impeccably produced retelling of the last days of the young female leader of the White Rose, the German resistance movement. Set in 1943, Fred Breinersdorfer's screenplay chronicles the events that followed the arrest of Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch) and her brother Hans (Fabian Hinrichs) after they're accused of distributing “subversive” leaflets at a German university. In the complex title role, Berlin Film Festival, German Academy Award, and European Film Award winner Julia […]


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'Sophie Scholl: The Final Days' Review: Superb Julia Jentsch as Nazi Fighter



Zarah Leander 'La Habanera': Nazi Era Greta Garbo-Marlene Dietrich Combo

Zarah Leander La Habanera First, I have to state that I watched Douglas Sirk's La Habanera, not knowing what to expect. All I knew was the brief synopsis on the DVD box. I also knew that Sirk was a director of such lush 1950s Technicolor soapers as Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, and Written on the Wind. None of which would ever appear on my “favorites” list. But La Habanera was produced in Germany in 1937 in black and white, and starred an actress I had heard about – Zarah Leander – but had never seen before, so I gave it a try. I was in for a pleasant surprise. Astree Sternhjelm (Leander) is a lovely, young Swedish woman […]


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Zarah Leander 'La Habanera': Nazi Era Greta Garbo-Marlene Dietrich Combo



'Berlin: Symphony of a Great City,' North Korean Concentration Camps

The Los Angeles Filmforum will be hosting the Munich Film Museum's Stefan Droessler on Friday March 12, 8:00 pm at the The Echo Park Film Center. As per the Filmforum press release, the Museum “has an ongoing program of restoration of film works and issuing exemplary DVD editions through the Edition Filmmuseum label.” At Filmforum, Droessler will “present the issues and process involved in their restoration of the pioneering film work of Walther Ruttmann, followed by a presentation of the classic poetic documentary masterwork Berlin: Symphony of a Great City [1927].  The presentation will include photos, scans of paintings, and Ruttmann's short films OPUS I-IV, and will last about 60-80 minutes, followed by intermission and the screening of Berlin, which […]


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'Berlin: Symphony of a Great City,' North Korean Concentration Camps



Marion Davies & Ronald Colman, Fritz Lang 'Metropolis' Screening

The four-film series "Sound and Silents” – part of the wider “Birds Eye View Film Festival” celebrating women filmmakers – to be held at London's bfi Southbank and the Barbican from March 6-10. The four screening silent films are: King Vidor's The Patsy (1928), starring Marion Davies; Sidney Franklin's Her Sister from Paris (1925), starring Constance Talmadge and Ronald Colman (right); Cecil B. DeMille's Chicago (1927), with Phyllis Haver and Victor Varconi; and Lotte Reiniger's animated The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). All four films will feature live musical accompaniment. The most enjoyable of the four is Sidney Franklin's Lubitschesque Her Sister from Paris, which offers Constance Talmadge at her screwballish best – and this before screwball comedies became known […]


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Marion Davies & Ronald Colman, Fritz Lang 'Metropolis' Screening





FILM ARCHIVES

Ramon Novarro/Lloyd Wright Home on the Market
Vincent Sherman Dead at 99: Directed Bette Davis, Joan Crawford
Keir Dullea & Gary Lockwood, Tom Hanks & Quentin Tarantino: Academy Screenings
Cyd Charisse Dies: 'Singin' in the Rain' Sensual Dancer
Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire Movies: 'Gilda'
Henry Fonda: '12 Angry Men,' 'The Best Man'
Tyrone Power
Lee Remick Movies: 'Experiment in Terror,' 'Loot'
Dorothy Malone Movies
Christmas Movie Recommendations: 'Black Christmas' & 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians'
Michel Hazanavicius & Bérénice Bejo + 'The Artist' Makes Oscar History
Audrey Hepburn 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' & 'Two for the Road' Double Bill
Lionel Barrymore: More Than Drew Barrymore Great-Uncle
Hattie McDaniel: Oscar Winner Made History
Eleanor Parker Biography: Actress Excellent in Abortion Drama