Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Student of PragueSilent Classic|
Actor: Conrad Veidt
Director: Henrik Galeen
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Gotham (dba Alpha) Release Date: 10/19/2004
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Poor quality transfer
Nicola | Ottawa, Ontario | 12/13/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent film, which unfortunately has not been given a decent treatment by the distributor. I was very disapointed in the quality of the release- the picture quality is poor, inter-titles appear to be missing, and the score which has been added is just a repetition of long synth chords that don't match the action on-screen. It's a shame, because a film like this one deserves much better."
One for the Horror/Supernatural fans!
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 06/09/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Alpha Video has released both versions of this interesting German silent film: the first one made in 1913 with Paul Wegener in the lead role, and this later 1926 remake starring Conrad Veidt. Obviously, filmmaking techniques developed rapidly in those 13 years, and silent films of the mid to late 1920s are much more in step with the modern day film format we are used to, making this 1926 version much more appealing to most viewers. The picture quality, while significantly better than the 1913 version, is still a little poor in general, and the modern synthesizer music, while appropriate to the eerie theme, is not always well suited. Nevertheless, the story itself might have enough value to outweigh these poor production aspects, especially for those fascinated by the horror/supernatural theme. Based on an old novel, "The Student of Prague" is an intriguing story about a young man, a university student, who is broke and desperate, and succumbs to the offer of a strange and sinister man who offers him a large amount of money. It turns out that he has, as it were, sold his soul to the devil by allowing the evil stranger to take the student's mirror reflection; his second self. After this event, the student no longer has a reflection in any mirror, which is a general theme that has re-occurred in horror/supernatural stories for a long time, and no doubt is rooted in ancient black magic rites involving mirrors. Having made a pact with the devil, the student's second self now appears as an apparition and it begins to ruin his life. German Expressionism techniques of dark shadows and strong contrasts add to the eerie atmosphere, and Conrad Veidt plays the role whole-souled - even when his soul steps out of the mirror and takes on a life of its own! After watching this 1926 version, I was able to go back and appreciate the 1913 version of "The Student of Prague" much more, even though it is only half the length of its later remake. Anyone keenly interested in this theme and German silent films who can overlook poor production quality on budget-priced labels might also like to compare both versions.
Beautiful movie, crummy DVD
Eric Christopherson | Portland, OR USA | 10/23/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Unfortunately, this is the only version of this film available on DVD, and like every other Alpha Video release it's a poor quality transfer from a video tape, complete with what look like VHS artifacts and no speed correction. The music is the same repetative synthesizer drivel used in Alpha's 1917 Student of Prague DVD, and except for a few chance moments it does not match the action on screen.
The film itself is WONDERFUL. One of my favorite silents, next to "The Man Who Laughs." Conrad Veidt's expressive performance carries the film with his depiction of both Balduin, a very complex young man struggling with his desires and limitations, and of his shadow self, given it's own life through a deal with the devil. Great cinematography and unusual camera work (for 1926) reminds me of Bunuel's "Fall of the House of Usher," another high quality horror film from the same period. There are some genuinely crepy scenes with the double and very emotional moments as Balduin realizes the full extent of what he's done.
In short, this DVD ranks five stars for content and zero stars for Alpha's lack of effort, but in my opinion is worth the low price to see such a fabulous film however flawed the presentation."
Good, except for the music
Dancing Ganesha | Bangalore, India | 10/31/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"These old black and white films are much more interesting than many modern colour "horror" films. What I liked best about "The Student of Prague" is that the acting is especially powerful.
As for the musical accompaniment, I'm sure this has been said by other reviewers, but it does lack! The pathos of the main theme (which has a bit of an Eastern European sound) fit the ending quite well, but did not suit every scene. I'm quite astonished that for most of the film, the music was quite boring and monotonous."