Dr. Zhivago’s ”ice-palace” (1965, dir. David Lean) (via)
Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang)
“This film marks the beginning of an intensive interplay between cinema and architecture. In its most grandiose moments the two fuse to become cinematic architecture, an independent art form.”
-Wolfgang Jacobsen, Metropolis: A Cinematic Laboratory for Modern Architecture
Conrad Veidt & Lil Dagover in The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene)
“I realized that the sets had to deviate completely in form and design from the usual naturalistic style. The images had to be like visionary nightmares - averted from reality, they had to acquire fantastic graphic form. No real structural elements could be recognizable…[Caligari co-set designer Walter] Reimann, who applied the Expressionist painting technique in his designs, succeeded with his idea that this subject had to have Expressionist sets, costumes, actors, and direction…
Furthermore, I would like to say that sets should remain as background in front of which the action takes place, reflecting it and supporting the actor, who is after all supposed to have the major supporting role. In Caligari, this relationship is reversed. In this single special case I will concede that the sets became the major means of expression.”
-Caligari co-set designer, Hermann Warm, Caligari & Caligarismus
1930s imagining of 1980s New York via the sci-fi musical Just Imagine (1930, dir. David Butler) More on the building of the set here. The opening scenes of the film, which feature this cityscape, can be seen here.
Buildings 250 stories high!…traffic on nine levels…rockets that shoot from star to star…airplanes that land on the roofs of buildings…a whole meal in a capsule that can be swallowed in one gulp… No — this isn’t a Jules Verne dream induced by a Welsh rarebit. It’s New York in 1980, as foretold in the new Fox picture, Just Imagine!
In 1980, people have serial numbers, not names, marriages are all arranged by the courts…Prohibition is still an issue…Men’s clothes have but one pocket. That’s on the hip…but there’s still love! Don’t laugh! Our grandaddies laughed at the thought that men might fly! Fantastic? Certainly—but stranger things have come to pass than those which have been portrayed in this dream of New York of A.D. 1980!
-excerpted from Just Imagine’s promotional campaign materials, reprinted in Ruth Waterbury’s Photoplay: The aristocrat of motion picture magazines
1930s vision of 2036 via Things To Come (1936, dir. William Cameron Menzies, screenplay by H.G. Wells, who also wrote the book on which the film is based)
“What will the next hundred years bring to mankind?
The world of tomorrow, an underground city with its glass enclosed, compressed air elevators, overhead streets, overhead tracks for cigar-shaped ‘street cars’, apartments in tiers like the homes of the Pueblo Indians, its people getting the news of the day by television, is vividly portrayed in Things to Come, H.G. Wells’ motion picture of the ‘Next War’ and a rebuilt world.”
-excerpted from original press materials for Things to Come
Entire film online at Internet Archive.
Max Schreck & Gustav von Wangenheim in Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror (1922, F.W. Murnau) (via Lotte Eisner’s Murnau)
The Golem (1920, dir. Carl Boese & Paul Wegener)
In the film, a rabbi creates a Golem, a clay figure brought to life by magic, to defend the Jews of 16th-century Prague from anti-Semitic attacks. But when the Golem is misused for an act of personal revenge, he transforms into a raging monster who turns on his creators and, in the scene pictured above, sets fire to the Jewish ghetto.
Full film online here.