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THE BLUE ANGEL
DER BLAUE ENGEL
1930, Kino Lorber, 106 min, Germany, Dir: Josef Von Sternberg

Emil Jannings is the repressed professor who falls head-over-heels for bawdy cabaret chanteuse Lola-Lola (Marlene Dietrich). It’s a liaison that will jumpstart the engine of his self-destruction, immolating both his private and public life till only ashes are left. The classic that scandalized international audiences and started the collaboration between Von Sternberg and Dietrich, setting the tone for the characters and motifs found in their subsequent efforts together.


THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI
DAS KABINETT DES DOKTOR CALIGARI
1919, Kino International, 75 min, Germany, Dir: Robert Weine

Director Robert Weine’s weird masterpiece is arguably the most striking and historically important work of German Expressionist silent cinema. Conrad Veidt is mesmerizing as Cesare, the pasty-faced somnabulist sent forth by psychotic asylum head Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss) to do his evil bidding, specifically kidnapping beautiful waif Jane (Lil Dagover). Although a story framing device was added to bookend the nightmarish events (slightly blunting the subversive script by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer), the film still retains an astonishing power, in large part due to Veidt’s riveting portrayal, as well as the maze of twisted buildings, streets and rooms dreamed up by production designers Walter Reimann, Walter Röhrig and Hermann Warm.


THE PLEASURE GARDEN
1926, British Film Institute, 90 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Fans of Alfred Hitchcock will likely notice familiar visual cues and themes in his directorial debut, which was released only after THE LODGER had proven a hit. American silent star Virginia Valli plays Patsy Brand, a chorus girl at the Pleasure Garden Theatre who befriends aspiring performer Jill Cheyne (Carmelita Geraghty). While Jill trifles with her many suitors, Patsy is faithful to her man - and it almost costs her her life.


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