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Early Murnau - Five Films [ 3 Blu-rays]

 

Schlo▀ Vogel÷d (The Haunted Castle) 1921                                Phantom 1922                      Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) 1924

The Grand Duke's Finances 1924                              Tartuffe 1926

 

 

Five masterpieces from one of the finest directors of the Silent era on Blu-ray for the first time in the world, in one deluxe boxed set!

SYNOPSIS:

One of the most influential and revered figures in all of cinema, Friedrich Wilheim Murnau came to prominence in the first half of the 1920s with a diverse string of productions ranging from buoyant satire to swirling psychological drama. Five key works are presented here: Schlo▀ Vogel÷d, Phantom, Die Finanzen des Gro▀herzogs (The Grand Duke's Finances), Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) and Tartuffe.

In the sinister mystery Schlo▀ Vogel÷d, terrible secrets from the past threaten a group of aristocrats' gathering at a country manor. In the delirious Phantom, an aspiring poet's chance encounter with a beautiful woman leads into obsession and deception. The delightful Die Finanzen des Gro▀herzogs sees a rakish-but-impoverished duke setting out to rebuild his fortune via blissfully comic high adventure on the Mediterranean coast. In Der Letzte Mann, one of the undisputed masterpieces of the Silent era, Emil Jannings gives an overwhelming performance as a hotel porter with dreams of a higher station in life, and was a stylistic breakthrough for both Murnau and cinema in general. Finally, the slyly satiric Tartuffe features Jannings as MoliŔre's iconic creation in a morality tale film-within-a-film as only Murnau could conceive.

This collection features new high-definition transfers of all five films from the finest archival elements, all on Blu-ray for the first time in a special edition three-disc set.

Titles

Posters

 

 

Distribution

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Subtitles

Original German-language intertitles with newly translated optional English-language subtitles on all 5 films

Features

Release Information:
Studio: Masters of Cinema

Edition Details:

• New high-definition presentations of all five films, created by the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung
• Uncompressed PCM audio on all five scores

The Language of the Shadows: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and His Films, a 31-minute video piece by Luciano Berriat˙a on the early works of Murnau (30:54)
What Will You Be Tomorrow? A new video essay by filmmaker and critic David Cairns (16:37)
• Audio commentary by film scholar David Kalat on The Grand Duke's Finances
The Making of The Last Laugh, a 41-minute documentary by Murnau expert Luciano Berriat˙a (40:34)
Tartuffe: The Lost Film, a documentary by Berriat˙a (41:20)
• PLUS: A 100-page book featuring writing by Charles Jameux, Lotte H. Eisner, Janet Bergstrom, Tony Rayns, and archival imagery

Blu-ray Release Date: September 26th, 201
6

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

This is the another wonderful Masters of Cinema Blu-ray release Boxset. Without stating the obvious - you can see the difference in tints and resolution via the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung derived 1080P transfers. The five Murnau films from the Silent era are available on Blu-ray for the first time in the world! The films are spread over the 3 dual-layered Blu-ray discs as follows:

Disc one has Schlo▀ Vogel÷d (The Haunted Castle) and Phantom

Disc Two has The Grand Duke's Finances and Tartuffe

Disc Three has Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh)

Because of the higher resolution - damage (marks and scratches) can be marginally more visible - but detail rises the same amount - with some close-ups looking awesome. We've compared to all DVDs below, and you can see the, often, extravagant differences and improvement. 

All audio transfers use a linear PCM mono. The scores sound very rich and buoyant. There are original German-language intertitles with newly translated optional English-language subtitles on all 5 films and, as stated, the 3 Blu-ray discs are region 'B'-locked.

Masters of Cinema include The 31-minute Language of the Shadows: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and His Films video piece by Luciano Berriat˙a on the early works of Murnau also found on their The Haunted Palace DVD from 2011. But there is a new 16-minute video essay by filmmaker and critic David Cairns entitled What Will You Be Tomorrow? titled from the opening shot of Murnau's The Last Laugh. It is revealing and excellent. There is an audio commentary by film scholar David Kalat on The Grand Duke's Finances also found on MoC's Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs DVD from 2009. The Making of The Last Laugh, is a 41-minute documentary by Murnau expert Luciano Berriat˙a also found on the previous Masters of Cienma DVD from 2008. Tartuffe: The Lost Film (TartŘff, der verschollene Film), is another fine documentary by Berriat˙a running 41-minutes. It was made in 2004 and is in German with optional English subtitles. The package also contains a 100-page book featuring writing by Charles Jameux, Lotte H. Eisner, Janet Bergstrom, Tony Rayns, and archival imagery.

This has the usual MoC high quality - buy this 3 Blu-ray discs set with extreme confidence. Our highest recommendation and it will surely get upper-level votes in our year-end poll!   

Gary W. Tooze

 

 


Menus and Supplement Screens

 

 

 

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

(aka "The Haunted Castle" or "Schlo▀ Vogel÷d" or "Schlo▀ Vogel÷d - Die EnthŘllung eines Geheimnisses" or "Schlo▀ Vogel÷ed" )

 

directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany 1921

 

If the traditional English-language title (The Haunted Palace) suggests the supernatural, the film itself eschews goblins or golems in favour of the hypnotic unfolding of a moral horror. Although the identity of the murderer can be predicted, what's unpredictable is the dream-like intensity that Murnau builds from the restrained acting and refined staging, where again and again characters move out of the depths toward the foreground, like profound upwellings from the subconscious.

Though this counts as Murnau's ninth film, the first person camera eye and sweeping movements innovated in Der Letzte Mann (1924) still lay in the future. With none of the flashing lights, and extravagant tracking shots of the later films, Schloss Vogel÷d offers a different clarity, its subtly unsettling images resonating especially with its immediate successor, Nosferatu (1922), cinema's definitive vampire film.

Excerpt of review from Excerpt from Robert Keser's article at Senses of Cinema located HERE located HERE

Theatrical Release: 7 April 1921 (Germany)

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Box Covers

 

 

  

Distribution

Eureka Masters of Cinema - Spine # 108

Region 0 - PAL

Kino
Region 0 - NTSC
Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Bitrate Blu-ray:

  Schlo▀ Vogel÷d (The Haunted Castle) 1921
  Masters of Cinema

Runtime:

1:21:35.250

Disc Size:

47,690,426,491 bytes

Feature Size:

17,509,672,512 bytes

Video Bitrate:

24.98 Mbps

Chapters:

8

Audio:

LPCM Audio German 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

 

directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany 1922

 

In Phantom, an aspiring poet on the verge of what he takes for a big break experiences a chance encounter with a beautiful woman in the street — and falls headlong into love and fantasy. With debts piling up and his promised literary celebrity failing to materialize, the poet descends into obsession, deception, and, ultimately, a criminal act in this delirious film that stands as an early precursor of Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Excerpt from the Masters of Cinema website HERE

Theatrical Release: November 13th, 1922

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DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #84 - Region 0 PAL Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Bitrate Blu-ray:

  Phantom 1922

Runtime:

2:01:27.250 

Disc Size:

47,690,426,491 bytes

Feature Size:

26,016,297,408 bytes

Video Bitrate:

24.93 Mbps

Audio:

LPCM Audio German 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Intertitle Sample

 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Another Phantom Blu-ray Capture (showing tint)


(aka "The Last Laugh")

directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany - 1924

A landmark work in the history of the cinema, Der letzte Mann represents a breakthrough on a number of fronts. Firstly, it introduced a method of purely visual storytelling in which all intertitles and dialogue were jettisoned, setting the stage for a seamless interaction between film-world and viewer. Secondly, it put to use a panoply of technical innovations that continue to point distinct ways forward for cinematic expression nearly a century later. It guides the Silent cinema’s melodramatic brio to its lowest abject abyss — before disposing of the tragic arc altogether. The lesson in all this? That a film can be anything it wants to be… but only Der letzte Mann (and a few unforgettable others) were lucky enough to issue forth into the world under the brilliant command of master director F. W. Murnau.

His film depicts the tale of an elderly hotel doorman (played by the inimitable Emil Jannings) whose superiors have come to deem his station as transitory as the revolving doors through which he has ushered guests in and out, day upon day, decade after decade. Reduced to polishing tiles beneath a sink in the gents’ lavatory and towelling the hands of Berlin’s most-vulgar barons, the doorman soon uncovers the ironical underside of old-world hospitality. And then — one day — his fate suddenly changes…

Der letzte Mann (also known as The Last Laugh, although its original title translates to “The Last Man”) inaugurated a new era of mobile camera expression whose handheld aesthetic and sheer plastic fervour predated the various “New Wave” movements of the 1960s and beyond. As the watershed entry in Murnau’s work, its influence can be detected in such later masterpieces as Faust, Sunrise, and Tabu — and in the films of the same Hollywood dream-factory that would offer him a contract shortly after Der letzte Mann’s release.

Excerpt from the Masters of Cinema website located HERE

Theatrical Release: December 23rd, 1924 - Germany

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Box Covers

  

Distribution

Kino Video (Restored Deluxe Edition)

Region 0  - NTSC

Eureka Video
Region 2 - PAL

Eureka - Masters of Cinema # 23
Region 0 - PAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kino Video

Region 1  - NTSC

Films Sans Frontieres
Region 2 - PAL
Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Bitrate Blu-ray:

  Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) 1924

Runtime:

1:30:14.041 

Disc Size:

33,997,159,029 bytes

Feature Size:

26,363,772,480 bytes

Video Bitrate:

34.90

Audio:

LPCM Audio German 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

 CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Kino (Restored Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka (original release) - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Films Sans Frontieres - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Kino (Restored Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka (original release) - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Films Sans Frontieres - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino (Restored Deluxe Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Eureka (original release) - Region 2 - PAL SECOND

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 0 - PAL THIRD

4) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) Films Sans Frontieres - Region 2 - PAL - FIFTH

6) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


(aka "The Grand Duke's Finances" )

 

directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany 1924

 

Die Finanzen des Gro▀herzogs sees Murnau exploiting the Mediterranean clime to film the tale of a rakish duke whose lifestyle has dried up his noble coffers. When word arrives about the existence of valuable sulphur deposits on his tiny duchy of Abacco, a comic adventure of high-seas intrigue, “animal impersonators”, and the Crown Princess of Russia unreels at a sprightly pace. Max Schreck (the mythic actor behind the makeup of Nosferatu’s Count Orlok two years earlier) appears in a supporting role, in what might be Murnau’s nimblest effort.

After filming the landmark Nosferatu, the Silent cinema’s master innovator F. W. Murnau demonstrated the reach of his genre versatility with a pair of films that explored the dimensions of the psychodrama and the adventure-programmer. All the Murnau characteristics are present: a vibrant naturalism, exquisite imagery, passages of dreamlike revery, and an atmosphere redolent with romantic longing.

Excerpt from the Masters of Cinema website HERE

***

The 1994 restoration confirms that this is indeed a farce by FW Murnau, featuring such uncharacteristic ingredients as a madcap Russian princess, a happy go lucky duke, stolen letters, disguises and the like; and featuring Max Schreck, Nosferatu himself, as a comic revolutionary. Murnau takes it all at a fast clip, combining extensive location shooting with a couple of elaborate studio sets, and bringing off two or three shots which, independent of context, are as haunting as any in the canon. Agreeable yet quite forgettable, except for collectors of directorial anomalies, and Murnau-ites on the hunt for correspondences, gay subtexts, etc.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Theatrical Release: 7 January 1924 (Berlin)

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Box Covers

 

  

Also available in a Murnau boxset HERE which includes Nosferatu / Faust / The Last Laugh / Tartuffe / The Haunted Castle and The Finances of the Grand Duke.

     

The Masters of Cinema package contains a second dual-layered disc - Murnau's Phantom (1922).

Distribution

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #85 - Region 0 PAL Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Bitrate Blu-ray:

  The Grand Duke's Finances 1924

Runtime:

1:41:06.143

Disc Size:

37,564,394,309 bytes

Feature Size:

18,087,665,088 bytes

Video Bitrate:

24.89 Mbps

Audio:

LPCM Audio German 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema (2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema (2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema (2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema (2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Kino - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Eureka - Masters of Cinema (2-disc) - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


(aka 'TartŘff' or 'Tartuffe')

directed by F.W. Murnau
Germany 1926

F. W. Murnau made this film adaptation of MoliŔre's satire for UFA early in 1925 and it was released the following year, shortly followed by Faust. By presenting the play as a film-within-a-film, Murnau takes the opportunity to place the material in a contemporary setting, sandwiched inside a morality lesson about greed and hypocrisy.

A devious housekeeper convinces her master to cut his worthy grandson out of his will and to leave the riches to her instead. The grandson, disguised as the projectionist of a traveling cinema show, flatters his way into the home to project a film of Tartuffe in an attempt to open his grandfather's eyes. Emil Jannings plays Tartuffe with creepy panache in a tour-de-force turn alongside Lil Dagover and Werner Krauss.

Unjustly neglected for decades, perhaps because of its low-key nature compared with Murnau's more grand masterpieces, this delightful curiosity is more than a mere trifle. Tartuffe affirms Murnau as a master of multifarious cinematic disciplines: from the set-based dreams of Faust and Sunrise, to the naturalist landscapes of Nosferatu, City Girl, and Tabu. In Tartuffe we find an intimate Murnau, relying on close-ups and the performances of his actors to create magic.

Tartuffe was first released in the UK in 1928
.

From the MoC website located HERE

Theatrical Release: January 25th, 1926 - Germany

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DVD Box Cover

 

 

The Kino is also available in a Murnau boxset HERE which includes Nosferatu / Faust / The Last Laugh / Tartuffe / The Haunted Castle and The Finances of the Grand Duke.

           

Distribution Eureka Video - Masters of Cinema #4 - Region 2 - PAL

Kino

Region 0 - NTSC

Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Bitrate Blu-ray:

  Tartuffe 1926

Runtime:

1:05:04.166 

Disc Size:

37,564,394,309 bytes

Feature Size:

13,926,669,888 bytes

Video Bitrate:

24.91 Mbps

Audio:

LPCM Audio German 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

 CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema Series) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Kino (The Restored Authorized Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema Series) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Kino (The Restored Authorized Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Eureka Video (Masters of Cinema Series) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Kino (The Restored Authorized Edition) - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 



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Gary Tooze

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