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Die Nibelungen
Die Nibelungen
Actors: Paul Richter, Margarete Schön, Theodor Loos, Gertrud Arnold, Hans Carl Mueller
Director: Fritz Lang
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Classics, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2002     4hr 51min

siegfried establishes larger than life heroic characters who are defined by tests of valor & rigid codes of honot. kriemhilds revenge begins after the death of siegfried & weaves the treacherous tale of his widows ungodly ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Paul Richter, Margarete Schön, Theodor Loos, Gertrud Arnold, Hans Carl Mueller
Director: Fritz Lang
Creators: Carl Hoffmann, Günther Rittau, Walter Ruttmann, Fritz Lang, Erich Pommer, Thea von Harbou
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Classics, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Silent Films, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Kino Video
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 11/19/2002
Original Release Date: 01/01/2002
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 4hr 51min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: German, Japanese

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Movie Reviews

Before LORD OF THE RINGS there was...
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 12/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"DIE NIBELUNGEN (The Nibelung Saga). This 1924 epic from Fritz Lang is the Grandaddy of all fantasy epics and now it can be seen as it was first presented with over 100 minutes of footage restored and with the original music that was composed for it by Gottfried Huppertz. With all the attention being given to Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, this is the perfect time to release this film giving us the opportunity to see a silent equivalent of Jackson's great feat.

For those of you familiar with the Wagner RING cycle there are some similarities but in fact it's an entirely different story. The entire running time is close to five hours and is divided into two separate films SIEGFRIED and KRIEMHILD'S REVENGE. The entire story deals with deeds of valor and codes of honor and what happens when they are carried too far. Along the way there are dwarves, magic, blood oaths, ferocious battles and the devastating consequences of raw emotions. The parallels to what would happen in Nazi Germany a few years later are truly startling. Lang showed the world what would happen 20 years before it did.

The outstanding restoration work done by Transit Films coupled with the powerful new soundtrack of the original score from the Munich Radio Orchestra makes viewing and hearing this masterpiece a thrilling experience. From the stylized barbaric sets and astonishing camera effects through the stylized acting and actions, we see more than German silent cinema at its zenith, we are witness to the rebirth of a truly great work of art. The DVD comes loaded with a number of special features that give background on the film and the people responsible for it."
A Landmark In Cinematic History Is Released For All !!!
J P Falcon | Fords, New Jersey United States | 01/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been a fan of Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen since my purchase of the BETA tape version many years ago. I have anticipated this release for some time and have been thoroughly rewarded with the wait. Based on the 1861 play by Hebbel, it ignores Wagner's treatment of the story to present us with mythical characters set in a medieval background. For many, Die Nibelungen myth is the foundation of Germanic Kultur. It is a story of love, honor, betrayal, loyalty, and revenge which culminates in the destruction of family bonds.
So, who will be interested in Die Nibelungen? Lovers of Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen will be familiar with the story and will no doubt enjoy seeing a variation of the Nibelungen myth. Wagner's Brunnhilde will be seen as an amalgamation of Kriemhild and Brunhild. Lovers of fantasy will no doubt find much to enjoy here. The 60 foot dragon is a marvel to behold when you consider when the film was produced (1924). Lovers of drama will not be disappointed in the complex story that weaves it's way towards the catastrophic finale of Kreimhild's Revenge. And finally, lovers of movies, in general, and movie history will truly want to see one of the major motion pictures that have ever been produced.
What does this DVD version offer that the BETA and VHS versions do not? Plenty! We will start with Gottfried Huppertz score. I was initially concerned that I would hear a hackneyed reworking of Wagnerian themes. Thankfully Wagner is avoided which is at is should be. As noted, this version does not copy the Ring story, so it is right that the music should be as original as the screenplay. If you are a lover of early 20th century German romanticism, such as the composers Schrecker and Zemlinsky, you will like this score. Film score devotees will think of Korngold, Waxman, and Steiner. Since there is of course, no dialog or sound effects, you have the equivilent of a soundtrack cd at your disposal which you may listen to without even viewing the film.
Previous versions of Siegfried ran for 100 minutes, while this DVD version runs app. 143 minutes. Many of the previous scenes are now extended. Consider Peter Jackson's extended version of the Fellowship of the Ring as a comparison. However, there are a few vital additions to the Lang film which produce a fully realized story. SPOILER ALERT: I will provide a few examples from Siegfried for those already familiar with previous versions. For anyone new to this movie, you may wish to skip to the paragraph that is preceeded by a series of asteriks (*********)
There are some extended scenes which simply add more flavor to the story such as with the slaying of the dragon and Siegfried's defeat of Alberic. But, there are a number of additional scenes which help propel the story further. Kriemhild's dream is restored which depicts a white dove (Siegfried) being attacked by two black crows (Hagen and Gunther). Brunhild's slight rejection of the cross, and the wedding ceremony have been added. You have a clearer understanding of Gunther's dilemma on his wedding night, and his wish for Siegfried to replace him when Hagen states."Damned be the deed half done.." At the conclusion of the hunting scene, after Hagen slays Siegfried, he waves his hand and announces "The Hunt is Over!" Dramatic stuff that. But, the most important addition occurs at the very end. While Kriemhild is veiwing Siegfried's body, Hagen arrives. At that instant, blood flows from Siegfried's wound making it clear to Kriemhild who the murderer was. The wound scene was restored. Also an extended scene follows when Kriemhild, wanting revenge against Hagen, watches in horror as Gunther and her other brothers shield Hagen. The most important title card is then displayed, which is the centerpiece of the story. It reads: "Loyalty for loyalty, Kriemhild. His deed is ours. His fate is ours. Our breast is his shield." You wont find this crucial scene in the previous version, for there it is only implied.
********************* I was initially unimpressed by the new title translations that accompanied the DVD version. It is important to identify characters as soon as a close up is shown. Hagen had two close up shots which would have been a perfect place to introduce him. Kriemhild's two brothers were also not properly identified when they are shown for the first time sitting on a bench. Also in the first canto, Mime is not properly identified when first seen. In the previous version, when he appears, so does the following: "Jealous hatred gripped Mime the Smith." It is important to establish this in order to understand his motives for treating Siegfried as he does. However, once these initial reservations passed, I was pleased with the comprehensive title cards that followed. I believe they could have done without the gothic lettering on the title cards though as it served as a distraction to the movie. A simple font would have made reading the cards easier.
The transfers are excellent when you consider the age of the film and sections of the movie which appeared deteriorated in previous versions have been restored. There is no decrease in the quality of the extended scenes versus the previously released scenes, resulting in a homogeneous quality in the film.
To save time and space, I will not devote any detailed attention to Kriemhild's Revenge which is also an extended version. Suffice it to say, that everything I noted for Seigfried applies. You will not be disappointed
Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen defies genre and time and is a pivotal film in cinematic histoy. For those of you who have never invested the time watching a silent movie, there is no better place to start than right here. Urgently recommended!"
Long Awaited Greatest German National Classic
Boo Cross | Fitzroy, Victoria Australia | 11/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Dir. Fritz Lang. Germany. 1924. Total time: 291 mins. B&W. Full-frame (1.33:1) Original 1924 score by Gottfried Huppertz, performed by the Munich Radio Orchestra. This 2-part film is one of the greatest artistic and technical achievements of the German silent cinema. Fritz Lang's adaptation of "Das Nibelungenlied", a medieaval novel from ca. 1190, is a passionate story of love, hate, revenge and fate.Lang's wife, Thea von Harbou (Metropolis) co-scripted this epic production. Part I, "Siegfried" centres on Siegfried who sets out in order to win the hand of Princess Kriemhild (Margarete Schoen). On the way, he battles a ferocious dragon, bathes in its blood and becomes (almost) invincible. Siegfried (Paul Richter) must also win a bride King Gunther (Theodor Loos), Kiremhild's brother. The result is ominous!!!Part II "Kriemhild's Revenge" begins after the death of Siegfried, and weaves the treacherous tale of his widow's ungodly vengeance upon his murderer, Hagen. This edition of Die Nibelungen is more than 100 minutes longer than any version previously available in the U.S. and restores Lang's materwork to its full glory. The original version had been re-edited and most material lost during WWII. In 1986, the film was restored by the Munich Film Museum to the most accurate approximation of the original version. Now after 16 years, this restoration is finally available for perusal and should initiate a massive spate of reappraisals.Supplemental features: Footage of Fritz Lang on the setProduction design and special effects sketches by Erich Kettelhut (intercut with scenes from the films)Comparison of the dragon-slaying scenes from Siegfried and The Thief of Bagdad (1924)Original 1924 score by Gottfried Huppertz, performed by the Munich Radio OrchestraEssay by film scholar Jan-Christopher HorakOptimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer editionsNew-and-improved English title translation by Ingrid Scheib-RothbartPhoto gallery, including rare, behind-the-scenes images"
The Enchanted Forest
Brad Baker | Atherton, Ca United States | 01/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Long before "Lord of the Rings" and "Gladiator" there was "Die Nibelungen". The great German director of "Die Nibelungen" was Fritz Lang, who stated that only he and Erich von Stroheim made movies for art; not money. And 1924's "Die Nibelungen" made money. A Nordic legend, "Die Nibelungen" is the story of Siegfried, son of King Siegmund, who seeks the hand of lovely Kriemhild. First, he must tour a strange, primevil forest and wrestle mountain gnomes, mystical dwarfs, and a fire-breathing dragon. He wins the true love of Kriemhild, only to fall victim to jealous murder. His widow's vendetta of revenge comprises the rest of this massive 5-hour epic. This enchanting fantasy features stark symbolism and brilliant animation. Stop-motion, animatronics, and in-camera dissolves(never done today) are among the many special effects. Filmed mostly on the massive Berlin UFI studio sets, "Die Nibelungen" is Lang's first great masterpiece of mise-en-scene; a treat for the eyes, a numbing of the senses. Raised eyebrows,... and rolling eyes dominate the dated(but classical) Germanic acting. A leading role is played by Rudolph Klein-Rogge, who joined Lang 5 years later for "Metropolis". The magical cinema ambience is aided by veteran producer Erich Pommer. Kino's gorgeous new DVD of "Die Nibelungen" contains 100 minutes of film never seen before in the modern world. Despite some artifact damage and minor pixelation, scenes are so clear and pristine as to be disturbing. When Siegfried dies, DVD clarity reveals the trembling of the spear in his back; as the very much alive actor continues to breath. The DVD offers several amazing special features, including scene selections, an original color storyboard, miniature-set production notes, actual footage of Lang shooting the movie, and a photo gallery. A comparison of the fire-breathing dragon scene here, and in Douglas Fairbank's "Thief of Bagdad(released 6 months later)" concludes that movie piracy in China today had it's roots in America long ago. The Revenge Motif of Fritz Lang's "Nibelungen" surfaced again years later in his films "Fury" and the "The Big Heat". In Joshua Logan's classic story of "Camelot", King Arthur proclaims that "Vengance is the most worthless of motives..". In "Die Nibelungen", it's the only game in town."