Balustrade of Peril

It’s often remarked that Fritz Lang, who trained as an architect, often used architectural features or structures in the titles of his films — SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR (pictured), THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, SCARLET STREET, THE HOUSE BY THE RIVER, WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS, METROPOLIS of course, and, perhaps stretching a point slightly, THE INDIAN TOMB, THE BLUE GARDENIA (a night club), RANCHO NOTORIOUS, WESTERN UNION (they have offices, don’t they?), THE MINISTRY OF FEAR, and MOONFLEET (the name of a house).

This HAS to be mostly coincidence — only a few of those projects were initially developed by Lang (METROPOLIS, TOMB and DOOR), and we can’t seriously believe he chose the others based on the architectural references alone.

Still, it’s a shame Lang’s career stopped when it did (creeping blindness — his bad eye — injured during WWI when he had several horses shot out from under him — the monocle clamped to it became a defining part of his image — his bad eye, I say, became his good eye, not by improving, but by staying stubbornly the same while the formerly good one fell to pieces — leading to the eyepatch-and-monocle look, the belt-and-braces approach to dragging up as a Hollywood auteur). There were so many architectural structures he hadn’t crammed into a title yet. Here are some movies he might have done:

LINTEL OF DANGER

THE DARK TRANSOM

THE MYSTERY OF THE GREY SPANDREL

WIPE THE BRAINS OFF MY CORNICE

DIAGNOSIS: DEFENESTRATION

THE MURDER OF ROGER BANNISTER

COLONNADE OF DOOM

NIGHTMARE LATTICEWORK

I, THE TURRET

STRANGLER’S ARCHITRAVE

PARAPET!

HAZARDOUS MANSARD

DEATH BY STUCCO

HUT FULL OF MURDER

BLOOD SHED

Feel free to jump right in.

18 Responses to “Balustrade of Peril”

  1. MOURNFUL BELVEDERE

  2. David Ehrenstein Says:

    Lang’s most architecturally ambitious film is his masterpiece “Der Tiger von Esnapur / Das Indische Grabmal.” The design of the maharaja’s palace eith its dizzying corridors is truly breathtaking.

  3. SINISTER ABUTMENT
    BEHIND THE WAINSCOTING
    SATAN’S TURNBUCKLE
    THREE SKULLS IN THE FOUNTAIN

  4. Andreas Flohr Says:

    “The House That Fritz Built”

  5. Great suggestions!

    Yes, Indian Tomb also has a superman architect hero, and “a cave worthy of Plato” (J. Rosenbaum)

  6. FATAL EASEMENT

    THE DEVIL’S SUMP PUMP

    A STRUT TOO FAR

    This is evoking a childhood memory: the gray miasma of boredom that entered the house when the day’s mail included a copy of The Engineering News-Record.

  7. In the Yellow Pages under “Civil Engineering,” it used to say “See boring.”

  8. bensondonald Says:

    The Water Closet of Dr. Mabuse

    Beyond a Reasonable Doorknob

    Kriemhild’s Formica Counter

    Four Around a Dining Nook

    The Big Heating Vent

    Paperhangers Also Die

    The Throw Pillows of Frank James

    and…

    Pantry of Fear

  9. Dark Rotunda
    Ogee of Death
    The Flushwork Mystery
    Unknown Corbel
    The Devil’s Quoin
    Mullions at Midnight
    Crooked Oculus
    Truss No-one!
    A Casement of Murder
    Witness to a Minaret
    The Portico Menace
    Chimney Confidential
    Hidden Ziggurat
    Apse! The Killer

  10. Not forgetting those titles that Lang was prevented from giving films he actually did make:

    Ministry of Frieze
    Cloak and Dormer
    Pebbledash By Night
    The Thousand Eaves of Dr Mabuse

  11. And
    An American Grille in the Philippines.

  12. David Ehrenstein Says:

    Beyond a Reasonable Woodshed

    While the Bulldog Sleeps

    The Return of Frank Lloyd Wright

  13. And
    The Return of Frank Gehry
    Die Nibelungen: Koolhas’ Revenge
    Bauhaus by the River

  14. Door Around a Woman
    alternative
    Four Walls Around a Woman
    (Pe)dest(al)iny
    M.Arch
    (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Architecture)

  15. M-bassy
    Dr. Mabuse the Gabler
    The Terra Cotta of Dr Mabuse
    The Blue Gadroon
    Moonfluting
    Rancho Gropius
    Beyond a Reasonable Redoubt
    Flèche by Night
    Human Design
    You Only Live Sconce

  16. Does infrastructure count?

    M (Queens Boulevard / Sixth Avenue Local)
    The Testament of Dr. Mabusstop
    House By the Rivet
    While the City Sanitation Sweeps
    The Bridge Heat
    Western Union Welders and Pipefitters
    You and Meatpacking
    The 1,000 I-95s of Dr. Mabuse
    Metropolisan Transportation Authority
    City University Only Live Once
    The Indian Toll
    Hangmen Also Dam!
    Scarlet Streetcar
    or
    Carless Street
    Ministry of Farmers Market (they all can’t be winners)

  17. Gig economy special!

    Secret Beyond the DoorDash
    Post(M)ates
    Task by Night
    Western Union-busting
    Uber and Me
    Ministry of Fear of a Bad Customer Rating
    House by the Fiverr
    Upwork and Dagger
    The Instacart of Dr. Mabuse
    You Only Lyft Once
    American Grubhub in the Philippines

  18. Hangmen also Diner!
    The Restaurant of Dr Mabuse
    Cloak and Burger Bar
    Eatery of Fear
    Beyond a Reasonable Outlet
    Woman Inn the Moon
    Caff by Night
    Chophouse by the River
    An American Grill in the Philippines
    The Blue Beanery
    Die Nibble-luncheon
    Bistro Notorious
    Greasy Spoonfleet

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