(aka 'Faust - Eine deutsche Volkssage' or 'Faust: A German Folk Legend')

.

directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany 1926

Murnau's last German film features astonishing photography, magnificent art direction, and special effects which retain the power to amaze. Freed from the constraints of psychological narrative, Murnau's mastery of cinematic technique places Faust at the pinnacle of the silent era, its barrage of visceral and apocryphal imagery contrasting with the simplicity and directness of its spiritual theme.

In collaboration with the screenwriter Hans Kyser, Murnau fused Faust's script from German folk legend and the works of Goethe, Gounod, and Marlowe (particularly using the latter's tone). Faust's tale is a classic one of a man who sells his soul to the devil. In an attempt to gain control of the Earth, Mephisto (Emil Jannings) wagers an angel (Werner Fuetterer) that he can corrupt the soul of the elderly professor Faust (Gosta Ekman). As the Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride demonically through the sky, Mephisto towers over Faust's hometown unleashing a plague that spreads amongst its inhabitants. Faust, unable to find a cure for the citizens who are dropping dead around him, renounces both God and science invoking the aid of Satan through a mysterious book that he chances across.

Murnau, a perfectionist, shot multiple takes of each scene with only prime takes making the final German domestic cut of Faust. Only the prints made for export outside Germany were seen until recently, indeed this version was at one time thought to be the only version (it used discarded takes, errors, less impressive special effects, and human stand-ins for real animals). Using the nitrate duplicate negatives printed by UFA in 1926 (and an array of international sources) Murnau's favoured domestic German version of Faust has now been meticulously reconstructed by Luciano Berriatúa for Filmoteca Española from which this newly restored transfer is sourced.

From the MoC website located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release Date: September 14th, 1926

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Eureka Video - Region 0 - PAL vs. Kino - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Divisa Red - Region 0 - PAL vs. Eureka Masters of Cinema #24 (2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Kino (Restored Edition (from Murnau Box) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Kevin Yip for the Kino and Divisa screen captures! and Pavel Borodin for the Original Eureka captures and Gregory for the Restored Kino... Thanks !

(Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Kino - R0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

Eureka Video

Region 0 - PAL

Kino

Region 0  - NTSC

 

(Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Eureka - Masters of Cinema - 2disc - R0 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Kino - R0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

Distribution

Divisa Red
Region 0 - PAL

Eureka Masters of Cinema #24
Region 0 - PAL

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 01:55:44 01:55:31 01:46:08 (4% PAL speedup)

Domestic version - Disc 1 -01:46:52 (4% PAL speedup)

Export Version- Disc 2 - 01:55:44

1:46:48 (4% PAL speedup)

Video 1.29:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.26 mm/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.29:1  Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.89 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.28:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.0 mm/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.22:1  Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.29 mm/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.29:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.60 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Eureka

 

Bitrate:

Kino

 

Bitrate:

Divisa Red

Bitrate:

Eureka MoC Disc 1

Bitrate:

Kino (Restored)

Audio German (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) German (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono)

German (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono)

German (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) - harp score by Stan Ambrose, as well as optional Timothy Brock orchestral score Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra in 5.1 Stereo Surround or 2.0 Stereo, Piano score by Perez de Azpeitia in 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles English inter-titles English inter-titles
Occasional non-removable English subtitles.

Original German inter-titles

 Optional Spanish inter-titles and subtitles

Original German inter-titles

 and English subtitles

 

Original German inter-titles and English subtitles

Features Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video


Edition Details:

Special Features:
Score by Timothy Brock
commentary track written by film historian Peter Spooner

1 side/2 layers

DVD Release Date: Jan 21st, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 24

 

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Video


Edition Details:

Kino disc (all-region NTSC)
Score by Timothy Brock
Extras:
Still gallery

 

DVD Release Date: June 5, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Divisa

 

Main feature:

   Screen Aspect ratio: 4:3

   Run time: 01:46:08

      Score by uncredited composer

 

Edition Details:

   Documentary "Los 5 Faust de F.W. Murnau":

     Runtime: 00:54:08

     Narrated in Spanish, no subtitles

     (Comment: this documentary contains many

side-by-side comparisons of the several versions of FAUST.  It also shows a deleted shot of Gretchen'smore explicit reaction when her mother catches her and Faust in her bedroom.)

    Text material (all in Spanish):

     Synopsis

     The Legend of Faust

     The Contribution by Murnau to Cinema

     Trivia

     Filmographies

     Still gallery

DVD Release Date: Nov 26th, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 9

Release Information:
Studio:
Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.22:1

Edition Details:

• Full-length audio commentary by critics David Ehrenstein and Bill Krohn
• New harp score by Stan Ambrose, as well as optional Timothy Brock orchestral score

D I S C T W O
• The previously available Export version of Faust - same transfer as Eureka 2002 release
• Tony Rayns on Faust — a 38-minute video piece
• Faust: The different versions — a 28-minute video comparison by R. Dixon Smith
• 28-page booklet with new essays by Peter Spooner and R. Dixon Smith, and a selection of rare production stills 

DVD Release Date: June 26th, 2006

Transparent  DoubleKeep Case
Chapters: 23

 

NOTE: The old Timothy Brock commentary track that appeared on the old Eureka disc wasn't done very well, but the bulk of the information from that
commentary has been reconstituted into the essay in the 28-page booklet.

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.29:1

Edition Details:
• The Language of Shadows: Faust - a 53-minute documentary
• Screen test footage of Ernst Lubitsch's abandoned 1923 production
• Image Gallery
• Essay by film historian Jan Christopher Horak
• Set designs by Robert Herlth Gallery

DVD Release Date: March 17, 2009
Slimcase in a boxset

Chapters 24

 

Comments: NOTE: Robert tells us in email: "I was just viewing the restored German version of Murnau's FAUST on Kino. Despite being a non-progressive PAL conversion, it looks quite fine--especially if one is used to the far inferior export version--now an extra disc in the set (as if people didn't already have the same disc in its 2001 issue).

But there is a problem: it runs fast. This happens just too often in silent-film transfers--the Kino METROPOLIS is the nastiest key example.
What is the matter with the transfer engineers that they can't seem to recognize that people simply don't move like that? It undermines the moments of gravitas in the film, and makes the comic moments look like slapstick. I think it may be a reason why silent film acting is so often seen as poor rather than stylized: at the normal speed, it has its own rhythms of the period, which are ruined when sped up
." (Thanks Robert!)

ADDITION: Kino - (Restored) - May 09': 2-disc edition - This is also available individually HERE. 

NOTE: The second disc is the same as original Kino edition from 2001.

NOTE: The Murnau boxset HERE includes Nosferatu / Faust / The Last Laugh / Tartuffe / The Haunted Castle and The Finances of the Grand Duke.

This release compares well to the UK release from Masters of Cinema/Eureka. The musical scores are different and Kino disc includes a 53-minute documentary (I think it's the same previously available on Spanish disc, but now with English narration). The only drawback is Kino disc was sourced from PAL master and wasn't transferred progressively. the image is also decidedly greener.

Gregory Meshman

***


 

ADDITION: Eureka Masters of Cinema (2-disc) PAL 0 - June 06':

NOTE: DISC TWO of the new MoC edition is exactly the same film transfer as on the original Eureka disc (the previously available Export version of Faust). It has weaknesses and appears to have been taken from an NTSC source. It has new menus and extra features though.

Well, as we can disregard the original Eureka and Kino - it allows us to focus our comparison comments on the spectacular new Eureka - Masters of Cinema Edition beside to the Spanish Divisa Red. The Divisa has had some contrast boosting which hides some damage marks but brings others out with more prominence. The Eureka MoC is thicker with stronger black levels - I'd say detail and framing etc. are the same - or with negligible differences. NOTE: The Divisa's boosting can give the impression that it is sharper but in actuality it is not since this form of digital manipulation can bring out some detail that is hidden but it also obscure others - that were often meant to be represented in a minor fashion. While spot digital 'restoration' is far preferable the Divisa has had blanket alteration that is much less desirable.

It is a moot point now for many as the Divisa was not English language friendly (subtitles (although limited) and the extras). The Eureka is the best edition available at present. It improves upon every area of the previous DVDs.  

The David Ehrenstein and Bill Krohn commentary is one of the best - a real pleasure to hear such thoroughly prepared and organized discussion. They work extremely well together - almost finishing each other's sentences in many instances. Tony Rayns - it is always a pleasure to hear and his erudite dissemination of information - the best in the DVD supplement community. He discusses quite a lot in less than 40 minutes including topics divided into such areas as 'Murnau's Mise en scene'  and 'Weimar Culture' etc.

The entire Eureka package is so beautifully done with marvelous artwork and the included booklet. Again Master of Cinema have given DVD/cinema fans a real keepsake with such an interesting and historically significant film wonderfully presented with relevant extra features that further enhance appreciation.

P.S. The old commentary track that appeared on the original Eureka disc wasn't done very well - but the bulk of that information (spoken by an actor reading a script by Peter Spooner) has been reconstituted into the essay printed in the 28-page liner notes booklet.

We strongly recommend the Eureka 2-disc Masters of Cinema edition.

***

The (original) Kino DVD is all-region NTSC, and was made from the restored print by David Shepard, the same print that was used for the 1996 laserdisc version. 

The Spanish DVD, made by a company named Divisa Red, is actually all-region, and in PAL. The video transfer was made from a restored print by the Spanish Murnau expert Luciano Berriatúa, whose restoration was done AFTER David Shepard's. Non-English viewers should note that this DVD is in German and Spanish only. An English edition of the Berriatúa restored version is yet to be made. The only online store I know that sells this DVD is the Spanish web store DVDGO.COM.

Also, director F.W. Murnau shot several versions of FAUST for domestic and international audiences. Each version has slight, sometimes big, differences in camera angles, actors' movements, etc., compared to other versions. The Kino and Divisa discs were apparently made from elements from different versions.  Luciano Berriatúa's version was supposedly closer to the original German version. An indication of that is the first screenshot below. The Divisa Red disc shows a real bear on the left, whereas the Kino disc shows what looks like a person wearing a bear suit. (Note: This is the reason I wasn't able to capture identical screenshots from the two discs.)

Kevin Yip

ADDITION: We have recently added the Eureka captures (thanks To Pavel!). It looks very similar in clarity to the Kino ( even the exact same subs ) making me think it was from the same David Shepard print... but the contrast and brightness have been boosted and it is slightly cleaned up. The Divisa Red is still miles ahead of both original Eureka (Export version) and Kino.


DVD Menus

(Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Kino - R0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Divisa Red - R0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

Eureka - Masters of Cinema Menus

 

 

Eureka - Masters of Cinema Disc 2 Menus

 

NOTE: DISC TWO is exactly the same transfer for the film as the original Eureka disc (previously available Export version of Faust).

 

 

Kino (Restored)
 

 


Subtitle Sample
 
NOTE: The Divisa Red has no English subtitles
 
1) Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - TOP
2) Kino - R0 - NTSC - 2nd
3) Divisa Red - R0 - PAL 3rd
4) Eureka (MoC #24 - 2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL 4th
5) Kino (Restored) - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM
 


Screen Captures

 
1) Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - TOP
2) Kino - R0 - NTSC - 2nd
3) Divisa Red - R0 - PAL 3rd
4) Eureka (MoC #24 - 2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL 4th
5) Kino (Restored) - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM



1) Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - TOP
2) Kino - R0 - NTSC - 2nd
3) Divisa Red - R0 - PAL 3rd
4) Eureka (MoC #24 - 2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL 4th
5) Kino (Restored) - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM


1) Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - TOP
2) Kino - R0 - NTSC - 2nd
3) Divisa Red - R0 - PAL 3rd
4) Eureka (MoC #24 - 2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL 4th
5) Kino (Restored) - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM


1) Eureka Video - R0 - PAL - TOP
2) Kino - R0 - NTSC - 2nd
3) Divisa Red - R0 - PAL 3rd
4) Eureka (MoC #24 - 2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL 4th
5) Kino (Restored) - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Eureka MoC

Sound:

Eureka MoC

Extras:

Eureka MoC

Menu:

Eureka MoC

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

Distribution

Divisa Red
Region 0 - PAL

Eureka Masters of Cinema #24
Region 0 - PAL

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC





 

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