The Sunday Intertitle: The Life-Awakening Word

The answer: Eureka! Masters of Cinema can.

These Gothic script English-language intertitles will soon be replaced by the original German jobs when we get to see the 4K restoration from the film’s rediscovered negative. This will also give us better camera placement — it’s basically a different film from the the English-language edition that’s been available all these years. Two cameras recorded the action, one for the German release and one for foreign territories, with the German one naturally taking priority for the prime viewing position.

I’m curious as to whether we’ll now get to see any of the missing camera movement or special effects which co-director Carl Boese recalled in his interview with Lotte Eisner. I suspect a lot of that is just faulty memory, but maybe not?

The phase “Thessalonian sorceror” would make a pretty good shibboleth.

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4 Responses to “The Sunday Intertitle: The Life-Awakening Word”

  1. Grant Skene Says:

    Warner Brothers should have done a Golem parody with Sylvester and Tweety. I’ve been hearing Sylvester say “Thessalonian sorcerer!” since I read this piece.

  2. My understanding was that the export version was sometimes different takes, perhaps from the same camera. An old story claims that Will Rogers, after a nervous scene with a lion, said something to the effect they weren’t going to see that in Europe.

  3. Grant Skene Says:

    Silent films used multiple cameras side-by-side. Their are stills of Chaplin filming “The Gold Rush” with 3 cameras. Best shot would be for domestic, second for Europe, third for the rest of the world. Apparently, this is because it was difficult and expensive to make duplicate negatives, so it was easier to make three negatives at the same time.

    When sound came in, they couldn’t use simultaneous cameras due to their bulk, so they did separate takes for each market. That explains the Will Rogers quote. The Criterion bluray of “His Girl Friday” includes the Milestone 1931 “The Front Page” which discusses the different prints found in Europe compared to the Library of Congress. Same scenes but clearly different takes.

  4. Thanks, Grant!

    Masters of Cinema has already released Murnau’s Faust with both German and ROW versions included, with a choice of score.

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