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Der Fluch der Menschheit - 2 (1920) HD online

Der Fluch der Menschheit - 2 (1920) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie
Original Title: Der Fluch der Menschheit - 2
Director: Richard Eichberg
Writers: Arthur Teuber
Released: 1920
Video type: Movie
A French aristocrat (Bela Lugosi) is pulled into a russian revolution by the woman he loves.
Cast overview:
Lee Parry Lee Parry - Tatiana aka Marie Dorouska
Violetta Napierska Violetta Napierska - Die Gräfin Kaminska
Robert Scholz Robert Scholz - Ivan Michelov aka Dimitri
Bela Lugosi Bela Lugosi - Andre Fleurot
Gustav Birkholz Gustav Birkholz - Großfürstin Frederich Dedorovitch
Felix Hecht Felix Hecht - Der Graf Alexander Rostov

Parts one and two of this two part film, each originally five reels in length, were combined and re-edited into a shorter six reel version and released in USA as _Daughter of the Night_ (1920), which is all that now seems to survive.

Reviews: [3]

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    Bela Lugosi's continued cult following has led to the unearthing of some rare material, including Daughter of the Night, the USA cutdown of a two-part German epic, Dancing on the Volcano, directed by Richard Eichberg. Actually there are only a few flashbacks to part one, "Sybil Young". This cutdown consists mostly of part two, "The Dealth of the Grand Duke". On the evidence of this "film", Herr Eichberg easily surpasses Edward D. Wood, Jr. as the world's worst director. If the movie had been made in 1902, there may have been some excuse for the ridiculous, over-the-top "posing" (one cannot call it "acting"), complete with bug eyes and other woefully heavy-handed mannerisms by a collection of thespic hams who would be booed off the stage at the Lower Podunk Drama Club. Except for one or two shots when it actually pans, the camera is bolted to the floor, while the actors strike emphatic positions in front of the lens. The pace is super slow, the story totally indigestible, and although he has the main male role (at least in this version), Herr Lugosi displays as much charisma as a waxworks dummy (although he is by no means the worst offender. That honor is easily won by Robert Scholz, although Gustav Birkholz, who plays the Grand Duke whose death is celebrated in the movie's title, runs him close). The film's only saving grace lies in the exotic presence of Violetta Napierska – a charisma that not even her dumb "acting" can totally erase. (The Alpha DVD is watchable, if you are such a sold-out Lugosi fan, you must see this bankrupt-of-interest rarity}.
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    I am appalled at the two reviews that call this a film to be discarded by all but the most hardcore Lugosi fans. This is a wonderful little film that suffers from a) being cut from two films into one and b) being released on DVD with a horrible score. The acting is not only typical of 1920 Germany, but is truly remarkable in many places. The camera-work is quite varied, such as in the top shot a la Busby Berkley of dancers -- animated cutting (a brief fade out/fade in/fade out of the dancer as Bela recalls her -- a tracking shot aside a troika--all very striking). The compositions are well thought out, and the story isn't that hard to follow, for anyone with the intent to do so. People who don't understand silent films really should study up more on it before reviewing them--especially those from this early on, and this is early for Germany; this was the year of Dr. Caligari, after all. What would our reviewer above think of the character Cesare the somnambulist in that film ("terrible acting, it was like he was asleep!")

    This was a lavish production, one that has many intricate parts to enjoy. So far as its weaknesses go, yes: Lugosi was never a great actor! Never. I think his best role was in "Son of Frankenstein." But here he is trying to be very subtle. He is not over emoting; he is playing it very cool. Remember in Dracula he didn't do much emoting--it was the voice that carried him. He hasn't got that advantage here. What is remarkable is that there are scenes in which he looks and acts exactly as he does in -- "Glen or Glenda!" He never really grew as an actor.

    However, I do feel this is a very enjoyable film, but you can't appreciate it as well now on DVD because it's a 1930 re-edit, probably to capture the market after Dracula. Yes, it is clumsily edited; the titles are very obviously ham-handed; we can only speculate what they originally looked like. That's one thing that we can't do anything about. The many handwritten notes seen in closeup should have been redone, as they are all but illegible now. But worse, is the score that's been released with the DVD; it is truly pathetic. About as passionate as a block of ice, I am not sure the accompanist was even watching the film. And that hurts tremendously. With an engaged score, even this edit of the film could be brought back to life and enjoyed by more people.
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    (This review is of the edited version combining parts one and two)Early film appearance of Bela Lugosi shows none of his on screen power that would make him an international star 10 years later. The plot has something to do with a Lugosi as a French Millionaire in love with a performer who is really a Russian revolutionary, or some such nonsense. Its doesn't make any real sense under the best of circumstances as the film has all sorts of flashbacks as to everyone's back story that only confuse things since the sets all seem to be the same set reused for different stories. This film is a mess. I don't think its just that this was welded together from a two part film, I just think it's a mess, I mean why else would there be the story of the volcano rising up in Russia. As for the real reason anyone looks at this film, Lugosi is clearly ill at ease. His eyes dart around and he seems unsure of what to do in front of the camera. Its an interesting start to a career, but not really a reason to watch this dull mess of a movie.