Old Hollywood
Cinema
1900-1979

Nostalgia is a seductive liar - George Wildman Ball
Emil Jannings, as the demon Mephisto, spreads his wings over the Earth & sows the seeds of plague in Faust (1926, dir. F. W. Murnau)

Emil Jannings, as the demon Mephisto, spreads his wings over the Earth & sows the seeds of plague in Faust (1926, dir. F. W. Murnau)

Crew members prepare Emil Jannings for the scene in Faust (1926, dir. F.W. Murnau) in which Mephisto’s wings obscure the sky as he hovers above a city. (via)

Crew members prepare Emil Jannings for the scene in Faust (1926, dir. F.W. Murnau) in which Mephisto’s wings obscure the sky as he hovers above a city. (via)

Vampyr (1932, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)

Vampyr (1932, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)

Brigitte Helm in Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang)
The most seductive robot winkin cinema history, out of control,leading troglodyte saps in ridiculous sabotsto near destruction, inciting dinner-suitsto fisticuffs, murder, suicide,laughing as the flames of the witch-pyrelick her to base metal.
-Love Letter to Brigitte Helm, Peter Howard

Brigitte Helm in Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang)

The most seductive robot wink
in cinema history, out of control,
leading troglodyte saps in ridiculous sabots
to near destruction, inciting dinner-suits
to fisticuffs, murder, suicide,
laughing as the flames of the witch-pyre
lick her to base metal.

-Love Letter to Brigitte Helm, Peter Howard

Marlene Dietrich as Lola Lola in The Blue Angel (1930, dir. Josef Von Sternberg)

Marlene Dietrich as Lola Lola in The Blue Angel (1930, dir. Josef Von Sternberg)

 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   

 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   

Art director Erich Kettelhut & crew create the futuristic city set of Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang) (via)

Art director Erich Kettelhut & crew create the futuristic city set of Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang) (via)

Peter Lorre in M (1931, dir. Fritz Lang) 
"My trouble is that I try to cover a part entirely. When you do there’s the danger that the patron will leave the theatre feeling that you are so perfectly suited to the character he has just seen that he can’t imagine you in any other part. Mothers with children ran from me in the street. Terrible letters came to me. Letters came from strange people; people who I never believed lived in the world; depraved and disturbed minds, thinking they saw in me the perfect companion, a fellow psychopathic. A success can be too great, I tell you."
-Lorre, on his role in M

Peter Lorre in M (1931, dir. Fritz Lang) 

"My trouble is that I try to cover a part entirely. When you do there’s the danger that the patron will leave the theatre feeling that you are so perfectly suited to the character he has just seen that he can’t imagine you in any other part. Mothers with children ran from me in the street. Terrible letters came to me. Letters came from strange people; people who I never believed lived in the world; depraved and disturbed minds, thinking they saw in me the perfect companion, a fellow psychopathic. A success can be too great, I tell you."

-Lorre, on his role in M

Different From the Others (1919, dir. Richard Oswald)
Different From the Others, initially released in Germany in 1919, may be the first feature-length film to address  homosexuality.The silent film stars Conrad Veidt as Paul Korner, a renowned concert pianist & closeted homosexual who falls in love with his student (Fritz Schultz). Their secret romance is discovered by a blackmailer who threatens to expose Korner as a gay man, which in 1920’s Germany meant public disgrace & possible incarceration. The story ends tragically with Korner being shunned by society & driven to suicide.
Different From the Others had a specific gay rights law reform agenda - director Richard  Oswald & co-screenwriter Magnus  Hirschfeld, a prominent sexologist/gay rights activist, made the film as a response to Germany’s Paragraph 175, a law which  made homosexual acts between men a crime (and which also had the effect of  making gays vulnerable to blackmail).
Different From the Others was banned shortly after its release and prints of the film were among the “decadent” artworks burned by  the Nazis after they came to power in the 1930s. As a result, only fragments of the film remain available for viewing.

Different From the Others (1919, dir. Richard Oswald)

Different From the Others, initially released in Germany in 1919, may be the first feature-length film to address homosexuality.The silent film stars Conrad Veidt as Paul Korner, a renowned concert pianist & closeted homosexual who falls in love with his student (Fritz Schultz). Their secret romance is discovered by a blackmailer who threatens to expose Korner as a gay man, which in 1920’s Germany meant public disgrace & possible incarceration. The story ends tragically with Korner being shunned by society & driven to suicide.

Different From the Others had a specific gay rights law reform agenda - director Richard Oswald & co-screenwriter Magnus Hirschfeld, a prominent sexologist/gay rights activist, made the film as a response to Germany’s Paragraph 175, a law which made homosexual acts between men a crime (and which also had the effect of making gays vulnerable to blackmail).

Different From the Others was banned shortly after its release and prints of the film were among the “decadent” artworks burned by the Nazis after they came to power in the 1930s. As a result, only fragments of the film remain available for viewing.

Brigitte Helm in Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz  Lang)
On the creation of Robot Maria:
"The  concentric rings of light that surround her and move from top to bottom  were in fact a little ball of silver rapidly swung in a circle and  filmed on a background of black velvet. We superimposed those shots, in  the lab, over the shot of the robot in a sitting position that we had  filmed previously."
-Fritz Lang

Brigitte Helm in Metropolis (1927, dir. Fritz Lang)

On the creation of Robot Maria:

"The concentric rings of light that surround her and move from top to bottom were in fact a little ball of silver rapidly swung in a circle and filmed on a background of black velvet. We superimposed those shots, in the lab, over the shot of the robot in a sitting position that we had filmed previously."

-Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang & the monocle he sported during the filming of Metropolis (1927) (via)
On the increased use of violence in post-war films:
"After the war, there was no longer a sense of family. We no longer loved our flag or honored our country. People no longer believe in hell and brimstone, or even retribution and therefore they do not believe in punishment  after          they are dead. What could we be afraid of? There was only one thing: physical pain. Physical pain comes from violence and I think today that is the only fact that people really fear. And when we are afraid of violence, then it becomes an element of drama. So, brutality’s now a necessary ingredient of dramatic development and denouement.
We can’t avoid violence because it is everywhere. It should be present in films. But everything depends on the way it is shown. I detest violence when it is shown as a spectacle or when it is used to make us laugh. And that is how it is used more and more on the screen.”
-Lang, in 1967 interview (via Brunnhuber’s Fritz Lang: His Life & Work)

Fritz Lang & the monocle he sported during the filming of Metropolis (1927) (via)

On the increased use of violence in post-war films:

"After the war, there was no longer a sense of family. We no longer loved our flag or honored our country. People no longer believe in hell and brimstone, or even retribution and therefore they do not believe in punishment after they are dead. What could we be afraid of? There was only one thing: physical pain. Physical pain comes from violence and I think today that is the only fact that people really fear. And when we are afraid of violence, then it becomes an element of drama. So, brutality’s now a necessary ingredient of dramatic development and denouement.

We can’t avoid violence because it is everywhere. It should be present in films. But everything depends on the way it is shown. I detest violence when it is shown as a spectacle or when it is used to make us laugh. And that is how it is used more and more on the screen.”

-Lang, in 1967 interview (via Brunnhuber’s Fritz Lang: His Life & Work)

Vampyr (1932, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)

Vampyr (1932, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)

Conrad Veidt & Lil Dagover in The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene) (via) (online here)

Conrad Veidt & Lil Dagover in The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene) (via) (online here)

Fritz Lang, actress Gerda Maurus  & crew on the set of Woman in the Moon (1929, dir. Fritz Lang), which included a giant backdrop painting of a lunar landscape (click to enlarge) (via)

Fritz Lang, actress Gerda Maurus  & crew on the set of Woman in the Moon (1929, dir. Fritz Lang), which included a giant backdrop painting of a lunar landscape (click to enlarge) (via)