Archive for April 24, 2020

Algol Anomalous

Posted in FILM, MUSIC with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2020 by dcairns

ALGOL! I’ve wanted to see a decent copy of this German expressionist sci-fi movie for years, without, of course, wanting to pay money for it.

There’s a visitor from the star Algol, see, and he brings the gift of infinite energy production and turns a humble miner into a global despot. His motivation in all this is never precisely clear but he’s clearly not benign. Unfortunately John Gottowt plays the part in a manic style, resembling too closely Spike Milligan’s rendition of a silent tragedian. But we also get Emil Jannings, eyes bouncing around like pinballs in his tapioca pudding of a face, so that’s good. Erna Morena, the original Lulu, does the least acting and commands her scenes effortlessly.

The plotting is rather shambolic — this movie is really guilty of all the sins METROPOLIS has been unjustly accused of, and even has a character named Hel(l). Peter Hell, in fact, which really might have made a contemporary English-language audience laugh, whereas I’ve never been sure Hel in METROPOLIS would have convulsed ‘twenties viewers.

The sets are stonking. They’re several degrees less stylised than those in CALIGARI, but every bit as style-ISH, and they become crazier in just the right scenes. The alien-inspired power plant is naturally quite nutzoid, but there’s also a starlit rooftop of a miner’s cottage, which works great. If you were in your living room, as I assume you are, you’d expect things to look normal, as I assume you do, but if you went up on your starlit rooftop, things WOULD have a magical, stylised air. So they do here.

I used this playlist as soundtrack: it’s nearly the right length and tonally it seemed to fit the action uncannily about 90% of the time.

Sadly, the Vimeo link, whereby the film had seemingly been offered up for free by its archive, is now dead.

ALGOL stars Mephisto; Professor Bulwer – a Paracelsian; Hagen Tronje; Brunhild; Lulu; Prinz Orlowsky; Countess Dusy Told; and Baroness Munchausen.