Friday, 19 February 2010

DER STUDENT VON PRAG/The Student of Prague (1926)

The original 1913 version of THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE starring Paul Wegener is a by todays standards a pretty crude affair (at least judged by prints in circulation) but is historically a very important films as it is probably the first German horror film. Henrik Galeen's 1926 remake with Conrad Veidt is a much more sophisticated movie in terms of plot, acting and direction. It still suffers inasmuch as the print in circulation on DVD is not the best quality. The story is based on a story by fantasy writer Hans Heinz Ewers and uses elements from Edgar Allan Poe's story "William Wilson" and tells of a student who, bored with life, makes a deal with the satanic Scarpinelli (the great Werner Krauss) that in return for a fortune in gold Scarpinelli can take anything from his room. Scarpinelli takes the student's mirror image. Balduin (the student) becomes a benefactor to poor students, woos a rich heiress and lives a life of luxury. But a spurned lover causes him problems and he is haunted by his doppelganger - his mirror image. The films is, expectedly, rather well acted with Conrad Veidt and Werner Krauss being the obvious standout and although the special effects are crude the scenes between Balduin and his evil double carry a genuine chill. Despite the extremely monotonous musical score that has been dubbed on to this print I enjoyed the film a lot. I would be most interested to see the 1935 remake with another of my favourite actors, Anton Walbrook. There was another version in 1914 called THE OTHER STUDENT OF PRAGUE and a 1990 Czech TV mini-series and a 2004 short film also from Czechoslovakia. Rating ***


Cerpts said...

I've never seen ANY version of THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE but I was stunned to here you mention there was a sound version with Anton Wallbrook!!!! I dint know dat! Wow, wouldn't I like to see THAT as well. I'm a great admirer of ole Anton.

Weaverman said...

Absolutely! Anybody who has seen QUEEN OF SPADES will realise this is a perfect role for Anton. I have a feeling you might see at least two versions of STUDENT this year!

Cerpts said...

I find that VERY hard to believe. I mean, what ARE the odds of THAT happening this year????????

You might as well say it's the same odds as you seeing THE MISSILES OF OCTOBER this year!

I mean REALLY!!!