Lord (Igor Mirkurbanov) is a famous Russian singer, about to be honored for his life’s work in the Kremlin. The prize is delivered by his friend Robert (Alexei Kravchenko) who is the Minister for Rubber Goods. But their partying finds a quick end when they are contacted by Cheavley, the main rival of Robert’s wife Gertrude. Cheavley has video evidence that Lord and Robert are actually lovers and threatens to expose them. In the world of Russian politics, intrigue and bigotry that cannot stand.
An Ideal Husband is a sometimes haphazard but always enthusiastic amalgamation of various texts that are full of political barbs, irony and sarcasm. While it was a bit long and seeing it in Vienna made it feel a little diluted, I did enjoy most of it.
Mephisto (Emil Jannings) is pretty much screwing the world over, sending disease and hunger and death. To put an end to all this, an archangel delivers a wager to him: if Mephisto can get the scholar Faust’s (Gösta Ekmann) soul, the earth is his. If Faust stays strong, Mephisto has to stop. So Mephisto comes to earth to tempt Faust: he gives him knowledge and youth at first and later helps him to get through to the young Marguerite (Camilla Horn).
Faust is the most famous work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. [I’m only talking about the first part here because I don’t like Goethe and even people who like Goethe think that part two sucks.]
Mephistopheles/The Devil bets God that he can tempt Faust, an intelligent scholar and a great thinker. God laughs off Mephistopheles claims, but Faust actually makes a deal with Mephistopheles: His soul against a lifetime of knowledge and pleasure.
Probably everybody in Austria in a secondary education has had to read Faust. Since I spent a year in Brazil during my school time, I fell through the cracks. Which was just as well for me because ever since I read “Heidenröslein” and its rape-apologia (more explicit in the first version, a little more insidious in the second), I have hated Goethe with the fiery passion of a thousand dying suns.
Anyway, I’m telling you this because I wanted you to know where I’m coming from when I’m saying: I’ve been meaning to read Faust for almost 10 years now, because I wanted to rectify my embarassing lack of education in that regard. And I expected Faust to be so great that I would have to, grudgingly, proclaim Goethe’s genius. But actually, Faust sucked.