04 September 2007


I went to see Waxworks, a silent German Expressionist film from 1924, last night. I really enjoyed it, especially the sets and costumes. Basically, an out of work poet is hired by the proprietor of a fairground booth to write stories about his waxworks figures: the Caliph of Baghdad, Ivan the Terrible, and Jack the Ripper. In the first story, he's a baker and married to the proprietor's daughter, the most beautiful woman in Baghdad. While the Caliph tries to woo the wife, the baker tries to steal the Caliph's wishing ring. Baghdad looked like a cross between Gaudi and Dr Suess. In the second story, the poet is a nobleman about to marry the proprietor's daughter. Ivan the Terrible, paranoid about assassination, gets the bride's father to take his place on the way to the wedding, and doesn't like it when people seem to be upset that the bride's father got killed. He abducts the bride and arrests the groom, but ends up going mad. The sets are very constrained, evoking the paranoid atmosphere very effectively. The last story was a dream sequence where the poet dreams that Jack the Ripper comes to life and chases him and the proprietor's daughter around the fairground. It was all multiple exposures and very cool.

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