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Faust (1926)

NOTE: This commentary is only available on the Eureka Video / Masters of Cinema Series release.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Film critics David Ehrenstein and Bill Krohn Rating:8.3/10 (7 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Therealmrspock on November 24th, 2016:Find all reviews by Therealmrspock
One of the rare treats to hear an audio commentary for a silent film, and I thought it was almost excellent. David Ehrenstein and Bill Krohn go to deep lengths to point out how many stylistic solutions and ideas in "Faust" inspired, or least pre-dated some later classic films (the circle of fire that "glows" up around the protagonist in the meadow at night reminds of a similar scene of a circle around the robot in "Metropolis"; the scene of Memphisto and Faust traveling on a flying carpet reminds of "The Thief of Baghdad"...) whereas they compare Murnau's strong contrast between dark and light with the Chiaroscuro painting technique. It was also interesting to find out that the main female protagonist was suppose to be played by Lillian Gish, but she wanted her "own cameraman", which Murnau refused, and thus Camilla Horn was cast.

A small complaint is that Ehrenstein and Krohn talk about biographies of the cast and director about 20% of the time, instead of focusing on what is happening on the screen, yet luckily they do not go too far with this. There are no pauses, and while the second half somewhat lingers, they manage to pull of quite a well done commentary, and even joke here and there to not sound "too schoalrly" (when they compare this movie to "Bedazzled", for instance). Several explanations of the techniques of how these effects were done are offered, whereas they point out how Murnau thought that in sexuality there is always a "predator" and a "prey" in a relationship, which is presented here, as well. I do wish I could have heard more analysis of what a particular scene meant, but we got a lot from this either way. 8/10