1974, Janus Films, 140 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Adapted from Theodor Fontane’s novel of the same name, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s richly textured period piece showcases the director’s ability to give traditional source material his own iconoclastic edge. In this 19th century-set tale, 17-year-old Effi Briest (Hanna Schygulla) lives with the older Baron von Instetten in a spookily isolated Baltic manor. Left alone much of the time and with a newly born daughter, Effi begins to enjoy the “company” of handsome Major Crampas (Ulli Lommel), but it is only a matter of time before the baron’s suspicions escalate to violent consequences. Winner of the 1974 InterFilm Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and named one of the 1,000 best films of all time by the New York Times. In German with English subtitles.

1929, Photoplay Productions, 95 min, USA, Dir: Allan Dwan

Douglas Fairbanks stars as D’Artagnan in this rip-roaring adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s series of novels. When the newly born heir to King Louis XIII’s kingdom surprisingly has a twin, the baby is smuggled away to Spain to ensure the peaceful future of France. D’Artagnan is enlisted by Cardinal Richelieu to look after the hidden prince. Many years later, after Richelieu’s death, the nefarious Rochefort kidnaps the new king and disguises him with an imposing iron mask, replacing the ruler with his twin. Can D’Artagnan save the abducted king and return the country to stability?

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