Silent Stendhal

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Harold Aherne

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Silent Stendhal

PostThu Mar 30, 2017 3:08 pm

Having almost finished reading The Red and the Black, I naturally wondered about the earliest film adaptations of this work or any others by Stendhal. The IMDB shows three, two of which were based on the novel just mentioned: Il rosso e il nero (1920, Italy) and Der geheime Kurier (1928, Germany), the latter with Ivan Mozzhukin as Julien and Lil Dagover as Mme de Rênal. Mozzhukin was in his late 30s playing a character supposed to be around 21, but his performance would be worth seeing if it were readily available.

The third silent Stendhal adaptation was Vanina oder Die Galgenhochzeit a 1922 German film with Asta Nielsen, based on the 1829 short story "Vanina Vanini".

Has anyone seen these, or know whether the Italian film still exists? (There are IMDB reviews for the two German adaptations).

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Ann Harding

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Re: Silent Stendhal

PostFri Mar 31, 2017 9:33 am

Well, I've seen DER GEHEIME KURIER and I can tell you that the adaptation is a complete betrayal of the Stendhal novel. I reviewed the film on my blog. The social elements have been eliminated and the end of the film seems to come out of Les Misérables! Poor Stendhal had a hard time with film directors...
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Mike Gebert

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Re: Silent Stendhal

PostFri Mar 31, 2017 9:54 am

He plays a courier? Like... Michael Strogoff? They turned Stendhal into a sequel to Jules Verne?
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Harold Aherne

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Re: Silent Stendhal

PostFri Mar 31, 2017 10:01 pm

I suppose the "Kurier" refers to the chapters where he attends the secret meeting and conveys messages into Germany (or...what passed for Germany in 1830). I thought these were among the duller sections of the book, redeemed mostly by Korasoff's "lessons". The interior monologuing in The Red and the Black is so dense that it's always going to be hard to make a satisfying dramatic adaptation, but Christine's description of Kurier (for which thanks!) makes me think the film likely has rewarding moments.

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Arndt

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Re: Silent Stendhal

PostSun Apr 02, 2017 2:02 am

Both DER GEHEIME KURIER and VANINA are cracking good films but neither has much to do with Stendhal I'm afraid. It is a typical and often puzzling or even infuriating characteristic of silent films (on both sides of the Atlantic) that they purport to be based on a literary work with which they then turn out to share little more than the title.
There is a very good restored version of VANINA, a film starring Paul Wegener and Asta Nielsen no less, and the Edition Filmmuseum have had it on their list of coming attractions for a while but I doubt whether I'll see the day when it comes out on DVD.
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