Fritz Lang

    Fritz Lang.

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    []  Name: Fritz Lang
    []  Birth Name: Friedrich Christian Anton Lang
    []  Born: 5 December 1890
    []  Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
    []  Height: 6' (1.83 m)

    []  Spouse:
    Thea von Harbou (1922 - 1933)
    Lisa Rosenthal (? - 1921) (Her Death)

    []  Died: 2 August 1976, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA

    Fritz Lang ~ The Greatest Film Director Ever

    Trained as a fashion designer, painter and graphic artist in his native Austria, Fritz Lang used his keen mind and painterly eye to the maximum effect, to become one of the world's great directors and foremost creators of atmospheres of menace, whether in actuality or suggestion. 'I always made films,' he once said, 'about characters who struggled and fought against the circumstances and traps in which they found themselves.' In doing so, Lang created living nightmares of both fact and fantasy. Sometimes his characters, usually 'the average man - because that made him easy to identify with' are caught web-like in nightmares of their own making. Sometimes, it is maniacs, master-criminals or psychopaths who do the trapping.

    Early in his career, after the move from Austria to the Decla company in Berlin in 1917 (he was invalided out of World War I after serving with distinction in the Austrian army), Lang worked out how studio sets and lighting could be used to create an atmosphere that would ensnare the audience in a world of fantasy.

    These early films are mostly tremendously imaginative journeys into the depths of human desperation, often with a science-fiction edge, and they are full of images that stay in the mind. As early as 1922 he dreamt up his fiendish master-criminal Dr Mabuse, whose exploits he would return to in two sound films.

    The other best-known films from his German period are Metropolis, a brilliantly conceived vision of a terrifying future, filled with huge, expressionist sets whose cost was almost the ruin of UFA, the company for which Lang was now working; and M, by contrast set in the streets and byways of present-day city, the story of a child-murderer brought to light by the underworld, in which darkness and shadow are put to various highly effective uses.

    After the outright anti-Nazi propaganda of his second (memorably exciting) Dr Mabuse film in 1932, Lang fled, via France, to America. His wife and screenwriter Thea von Harbou supported the Nazi cause and stayed behind to make films for it; they divorced in 1934.

    The famous story Lang would tell in later life about fleeing Germany immediately after a meeting with the Minister of Propaganda, Josef Goebbels in which he was offered the osition of head of German Film Production was a, er, nice story, but one for which there isn't any evidence to support it.

    The theme song to Lang's hauntingly different western Ranchos Notorious (and spellbindingly camp for that matter) tells continually of 'hate, murder and revenge' and these were the themes that were to occupy Lang greatly during his 21 years in Hollywood. Nowhere more so, either, than in his first film, Fury, a fiercely intense indictment of mob violence, with a searing performance by Spencer Tracy.

    After You Only Live Twice, a typically poetic and atmospheric exploration of the Bonnie and Clyde theme, Lang experimented with colour on two westerns, The Return of Frank James and Western Union, which have some of the most exciting action scenes ever shot.

    There are several expectedly very anti-Nazi war films during the war years, but also his two famous doomy melodramas with the Edward G. Robinson-Joan Bennett-Dan Duryea trio, The Woman in the Window and Scarlet Street, the latter a remake of Renoir's La chienne.

    Hate, murder and revenge indeed figure strongly in these brightly seedy portraits of low life, as they do also in the later Glenn Ford-Gloria Grahame pictures, The Big Heat (the film in which she has scalding coffee thrown in her face by Lee Marvin) and Human Desire.

    Besides Ranchos Notorious, the best of Lang's later films are both uncharacteristic of him. Clash by Night relies on the strength of its actors for it its power, while Moonfleet, the famous yarn about a small boy and 18th century Dorset smugglers, is an excellent vehicle for Stewart Granger, with atmosphere and suspense well maintained throughout. As to be expected, Lang makes skilful use of CinemaScope.

    His last films at RKO, seemed passable thrillers at the time, but were made under unhappy circumstances - Lang was told to 'make them fast and make them cheap' - and look leaden seen on television today. They hastened Lang's departure to Germany, where he made one more Dr Mabuse film and a two-part film set in India, which carries some scenes of tremendous impact.

    Failing eyesight forced Lang to give up film-making in 1960. He died in 1976. From about 1931 to his death in 1976, while dating other women, he was close to Lily Latté, who helped him in many ways.

    He is interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA, in the Enduring Faith section, just to the right of plot #3818, two in from the curb.

    It is unarguable to suggest that Lang was one of the greatest film directors of the 20th century. His visionary legacy continues to amaze and astound every new generation who come across it. His place among the gods of film-making is assured. His worlds of fear and helplessness live on in the darkest dreams of the wee small hours. No other director before or since has come close to capturing Lang's take on the reality of the surreal.

    In 2008, a spectacular find at the Museo del Cine Pablo Ducrós Hicken in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where a dusty 16mm dupe negative with nearly 25 minutes of previously missing footage from Metropolis was discovered, has meant that we can now enjoy Lang's masterpiece closer to what he envisaged it to be. Has there been a more exciting find in cinema in the last 20 years or so? Whatever, it means that Lang again is back in the spotlight and consequently more from the latest generation will find & love his work.

    Lang will live on forever.


    I M A G E S

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    F I L M S

  • Tausend Augen des Dr. Mabuse, Die (1960)
    ... aka 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse, Die (1960)
    ... aka Diabolical Dr. Mabuse (1960)
    ... aka Diabolico Dr. Mabuse, Il (1960) (Italy)
    ... aka Diabolique docteur Mabuse, Le (1960) (France)
    ... aka Eyes of Evil (1960)
    ... aka Shadow vs. the Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, The (1966) (USA)
    ... aka Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, The (1966) (USA)

  • Journey to the Lost City (1959)
    ... aka Tiger of Bengal (1959/I) (UK)

  • Indische Grabmal, Das (1959)
    ... aka Indian Tomb, The (1959)
    ... aka Sepolcro indiano, Il (1959) (Italy)
    ... aka Tombeau hindou, Le (1959) (France)

  • Tiger von Eschnapur, Der (1959)
    ... aka Tiger of Bengal (1959/II) (UK)
    ... aka Tiger of Eschnapur, The (1959) (International: English title: informal literal title)
    ... aka Tigre di Eschnapur, La (1959) (Italy)
    ... aka Tigre du Bengale, Le (1959)

  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) (Review)
  • While the City Sleeps (1956) (Review)
  • Moonfleet (1955) (Review)
  • Human Desire (1954) (Review)
  • Big Heat, The (1953) (Review)
  • Blue Gardenia, The (1953) (Review)
  • Clash by Night (1952) (Review)
  • Rancho Notorious (1952) (Review)

  • American Guerrilla in the Philippines
    ... aka I Shall Return (1950) (UK)

  • House by the River (1950) (Review)
  • Secret Beyond the Door (1948) (Review)
  • Cloak and Dagger (1946)
  • Scarlet Street (1945) (Review)
  • Woman in the Window, The (1945)
  • Ministry of Fear (1944) (Review)

  • Hangmen Also Die (Review)
    ... aka Lest We Forget (1943)

  • Moontide (1942) (uncredited)
  • Confirm or Deny (1941) (uncredited)
  • Man Hunt (1941) (Review)
  • Western Union (1941) (Review)
  • Return of Frank James, The (1940) (Review)
  • You and Me (1938)
  • You Only Live Once (1937)
  • Fury (1936) (Review)

  • Liliom (1934)
    ... aka Liliom (1934) (USA)

  • Testament du Dr. Mabuse, Le (1933)
  • Testament des Dr. Mabuse, Das (1933)
    ... aka Crimes of Dr. Mabuse, The (1952) (USA: dubbed version)
    ... aka Dr. Mabuses Testament (1933)
    ... aka Last Will of Dr. Mabuse, The (1933)
    ... aka Tagebuch des Dr. Mabuse, Das (1933)
    ... aka Testament of Dr. Mabuse, The (1933)

  • M (1931) (Review)
    ... aka Fritz Lang's M (1931) (Australia)
    ... aka M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (1931) (Germany)
    ... aka Murderers Are Among Us, The (1931)

  • Frau im Mond (1929) (Review)
    ... aka By Rocket to the Moon (1931) (USA)
    ... aka Girl in the Moon (1930) (UK)
    ... aka Woman in the Moon (1931) (USA)

  • Spione (1928) (Review)
    ... aka Spies (1928)
    ... aka Spy, The (1929/II) (USA)

  • METROPOLIS (1927) (Review)


  • Nibelungen: Kriemhilds Rache, Die (1924) (Review)
    ... aka Kriemhild's Revenge (1924)
    ... aka Kriemhilds Rache (1924)
    ... aka Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge, Die (1924)

  • Nibelungen: Siegfried, Die (1924) (Review)
    ... aka Nibelungen: Siegfrieds Tod, Die (1924) (Germany)
    ... aka Siegfried (1924)
    ... aka Siegfried's Death (1924)
    ... aka Siegfrieds Tod (1924) (Germany)

  • Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922) (Review)
    ... aka Dr. Mabuse, King of Crime (1922)
    ... aka Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922)
    ... aka Inferno (1922) (Germany: second part title)

  • Vier um die Frau (1921)
    ... aka Four Around a Woman (1921)
    ... aka Kämpfende Herzen (1921)
    ... aka Struggling Hearts (1921)

  • Müde Tod, Der (1921)
    ... aka Between Two Worlds (1921) (USA)
    ... aka Beyond the Wall (1921)
    ... aka Destiny (1921) (UK)
    ... aka Three Lights, The (1921) (UK)
    ... aka Weary Death, The (1921) (USA: literal English title)

  • Wandernde Bild, Das (1920)
    ... aka Moving Image, The (1920)
    ... aka Wandering Image, The (1920)

  • Spinnen, 2. Teil: Das Brillantenschiff, Die (1920)
    ... aka Brillantenschiff, Das (1920) (Germany: short title)
    ... aka Spiders, Part 2: The Diamond Ship, The (1920)

  • Pest in Florenz, Die (1919)
    ... aka Plague in Florence, The (1919)

  • Harakiri (1919)
    ... aka Madame Butterfly (1919)

  • Spinnen, 1. Teil: Der Goldene See, Die> (1919) (Review)
    ... aka Spiders, Part 1: The Golden Lake, The (1919)

  • Herr der Liebe, Der (1919)
    ... aka Master of Love (1919)

  • Halbblut (1919)
    ... aka Half-Caste, The (1919)


    Fritz Lang Dvds

    Fritz Lang Dvds @ (direct link)

    Fritz Lang Biography Books @ (direct link)


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