Der Fluch [The Curse] (1925) + Gabriela Montero

Der Fluch
Director: Robert Land
Writer: Walter ReischErnst Weizmann
Cast: Oscar Beregi Sr.Lilian Harvey, Ferdinand BonnAlbert HeineAnny HornikReinhold HäussermannRia JászonyiAnton Pointner
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Gabriela Montero
Seen on: 10.10.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Jehuda (Oscar Beregi Sr.) impresses the young Lea (Anny Hornik) and Lea’s devout father Esra (Albert Heine) agrees to their engagement. But before they can actually get married, Jehuda falls for Rahel (Ria Jászonyi) and not caring much for Lea, leaves her. Heartbroken Lea commits suicide. Esra confronts Jehuda and curses him, but Jehuda is unwilling to contemplate his part in the tragedy for many years.

Der Fluch didn’t really work for me. While it was interesting to get an authentic look at a Jewish settlement from a pre-World War 2 time, nothing else about the film really managed to convince me.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Ivan Groznyy [Ivan the Terrible] (1945 and 1958) + ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester and Wiener Singakademie / Frank Strobel

Ivan Groznyy [Ivan the Terrible, Part I] (1945) and Ivan Groznyy. Skaz vtoroy: Boyarskiy zagovor [Ivan the Terrible, Part II: The Boyars’ Plot] (1958)
Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Writer: Sergei M. Eisenstein
Cast: Nikolay Cherkasov, Lyudmila Tselikovskaya, Serafima Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov, Mikhail Zharov, Amvrosi Buchma, Mikhail Kuznetsov, Pavel Kadochnikov, Andrei Abrikosov, Aleksandr Mgebrov, Maksim Mikhaylov, Vladimir Balashov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Semyon Timoshenko, Aleksandr Rumnyov, Pavel Massalsky, Ada Vojtsik, Erik Pyryev
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Sergey Prokofiev, played be the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester, sung by the Wiener Singakademie, conducted by Frank Strobel
Seen on: 23.6.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
In the 16th century, Archduke Ivan (Nikolay Cherkasov) crowns himself Tsar of Russia and sets himself the goal to unite Russia under one rule. Not everybody is taken with his plans and Ivan always has to watch his back – also among the people of his court. There his aunt Efrosinia Staritskaya (Serafima Birman) is plotting against him, hoping to put her own son Dmitri in his place. But also his marriage to Anstasia Romanova (Lyudmila Tselikovskaya) costs him support. But Ivan will do anything to achieve his goals, no matter the cost.

Ivan Groznyy is a monumental two-parter and an absolutely affective and effective piece of propaganda. It’s worth seeing – especially on the big screen, when you got a huge orchestra and choir on stage to (under)score it. The film is too big to do anything on a small scale.

Continue reading

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari [The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari] (1920) + Cameron Carpenter

Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari
Director: Robert Wiene
Writer: Carl Mayer, Hans Janowitz
Cast: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolf Lettinger
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Cameron Carpenter
Seen on: 20.5.2017

Plot:
Alan (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski) and Francis (Friedrich Feher) visit the fair where they see the show of Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss). Caligari is a hypnotist who shows off a somnambulist, Cesare (Conrad Veidt). After Caligari wakes Cesare from his sleep, Cesare predicts the future. In this case specifically, he predicts Alan’s death. The very next day Alan is dead, and Francis is deeply suspicious of Cesare.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a pretty astonishing film and the combination of this film with Cameron Carpenter and his music really was the perfect storm, making this event a perfectly stylish evening.

Continue reading

Re-Watch: Frau im Mond [Woman in the Moon] (1929) + Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich / Timothy Brock

Frau im Mond
Director: Fritz Lang
Writer: Fritz Lang, Hermann Oberth, Thea von Harbou
Based on: Thea von Harbou‘s novel
Cast: Klaus Pohl, Willy Fritsch, Gustav von Wangenheim, Gerda Maurus, Gustl GstettenbaurFritz Rasp
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Timothy Brock, played by the Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich under direction of Timothy Brock
Seen on: 27.4.2017
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Professor Manfeldt (Klaus Pohl) has spent his life researching the moon. He has theorized that it has huge gold reserves that could be harvested for earth should space travel ever be achieved. But academia laughed him out of work and into poverty. Now the only one who still believes in him is Wolf Helius (Willy Fritsch). After a mysterious man (Fritz Rasp) shows up at Manfeldt’s, trying to steal his research and putting pressure on them all, things are set in motion to finally finish a rocket and fly to the moon together with Manfeldt, his best friend, engineer Windegger (Gustav von Wangenheim), scientist Friede Velten (Gerda Maurus) and the mysterious man.

When I saw Frau im Mond for the first time, I was pretty annoyed with the music that came with it. So getting the chance to see it with different music (and that music performed live) was a good thing and made the film better.

Continue reading

Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov [The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks] (1924) + PHACE

Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov
Director: Lev Kuleshov
Writer: Nikolai Aseyev, Vsevolod Pudovkin
Cast: Porfiri Podobed, Boris Barnet, Aleksandra Khokhlova, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Sergey Komarov, Leonid Obolensky, Vera Lopatina, G. Kharlampiev
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by PHACE
Seen on: 29.3.2016

Plot:
USAmerican Mister West (Porfiri Podobed) is tasked with traveling to Russia to see the land of the Bolsheviks for himself. Trouble is, all West knows about Russia is a magazine article making them out to be the worst kind of savages and Mr West is pretty much scared out of his wits. So he takes his faithful companion Jeddy the Cowboy (Boris Barnet) and starts praying. Once he reaches Russia, West is actually robbed. The thieves find the magazine and decide to create the savage land portrayed there for West, sure that they can squeeze some money out of him that way.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks is a funny, albeit silly film. The music by PHACE wasn’t that much my cup of tea, but it works as accompaniment to the film.

mrwestbolsheviks Continue reading

Varieté (1925) + The Tiger Lillies

Varieté
Director: Ewald André Dupont
Writer: Ewald André Dupont
Based on: Felix Hollaender’s novel Der Eid des Stephan Huller
Cast: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Lya De Putti, Warwick Ward
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: The Tiger Lillies
Seen on: 3.12.2015

Plot:
Boss Huller (Emil Jannings) is an artist at the circus together with his wife (Maly Delschaft), but after an accident he started to stay away from the trapeze. When young woman Bertha-Marie (Lya De Putti) is brought to the circus because she has debts she can’t pay otherwise, she finds a bed with the family Huller. It doesn’t take long until she and Boss fall in love and Boss uproots his entire life for her. But things are not headed for a happy end.

Varieté is not only an excellent film, combined with the soundtrack by The Tiger Lillies, it makes for an utterly fantastic, riveting evening.

variete Continue reading

Glen Hansard (Support: Ye Vagabonds)

Glen Hansard came to the Konzerthaus again, with supporting band Ye Vagabonds.
Seen on: 17.10.2015

I hadn’t actually planned to go to this concert, but the puzzledpeaces’ sister got sick and I sacrificed myself to not let the ticket go to waste. I endured the hardships of an excellent concert with great seats because that’s just the kind of selfless friend I am. Yes indeed.

Ye Vagabonds

Continue reading

The Salvation Hunters (1925) + Brad Mehldau & Friends

The Salvation Hunters
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Writer: Josef von Sternberg
Cast: George K. Arthur, Georgia Hale, Bruce Guerin, Otto Matieson, Nellie Bly Baker, Olaf Hytten, Stuart Holmes
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Brad Mehldau, played by Brad Mehldau, Joris Roelofs and Michael Williams
Seen on: 2.10.2015

Plot:
In the mud and grime of the docks, the boy (George K. Arthur), the girl (Georgia Hale) and the child (Bruce Guerin) find each other. Fueled by the hope for a better life they decide to move to the big city to make their luck there. The boy may dream big, but reality isn’t quite so accomodating. Will they be able to find their luck?

The Salvation Hunters is an interesting film that works in some parts, but not in others. Mehldau’s accompanying music was nice, but for me it didn’t always fit the film. Altogether though, it was a very nice evening.

thesalvationhunters

[SPOILERS] Continue reading

Carmen (1915) / Burlesque on Carmen (1915) + Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich / Timothy Brock

Carmen / Burlesque on Carmen [DeMille shot his version of Carmen, and shortly afterwards Chaplin shot a spoof of that film.]
Director: Cecil B. DeMille / Charles Chaplin
Writer: William C. de Mille / Charles Chaplin
Based on: Prosper Mérimée‘s novella and Georges Bizet‘s opera based on said novella.
Cast: Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid, Pedro de Cordoba, Horace B. Carpenter / Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, John Rand, Jack Henderson
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Georges Bizet, played by the Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich under direction of Timothy Brock
Seen on: 27.04.2015

Plot:
Carmen (Geraldine Farrar / Edna Purviance) works with smugglers. When the city watch gets a new commander in Don José/Darn Hosiery (Wallace Reid/Charles Chaplin), Carmen makes it her mission to seduce him to secure herself and her people a blind eye to their activities. But José/Hosiery falls hard for Carmen, causing unforseeable complications for everybody.

The straight-up Carmen version was fine, though its cinematic language hasn’t aged all that well. The Chaplin version was fantastic though. And for both version, Brock provided excellent music and arrangements.

2carmen Continue reading

Im Kampf mit dem Berge [Battle with the Mountain] (1921) + ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester

Im Kampf mit dem Berge – 1. Teil: In Sturm und Eis – Eine Alpensymphonie in Bildern
Director: Arnold Fanck
Writer: Arnold Fanck
Cast: Ilse RohdeHannes Schneider
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Paul Hindemith, played by the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester

Plot:
Ilse Rohde and Hannes Schneider are two skiers who decide to climb the 4.500m high Lyskamm mountain. It takes them three days to make the trip and return, during which a camera team follows them to document their climb that is neither easy nor without danger.

I’m not a mountain person (weird for an Austrian, I know) and watching people risk their lives to climb a mountain, look around for a bit and then descend again, makes me uncomfortable, both in theory and in practice. That being said, Im Kampf mit dem Berge is a beautifully shot film with great music and probably one of the best films that could have been made with that material.

imkampfmitdemberge

Continue reading