Ep. 19: German Expressionism: Pandora's Box • Frank Wisbar
Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:16 am
NitrateVille Radio Episode 19: German Expressionism • Pamela Hutchinson on Pandora's Box • Henry Nicolella on Frank Wisbar, director of Ferryman Maria
In this episode we talk with the authors of two books about German Expressionism films and filmmakers. One about a film that was championed by Lotte Eisner and rediscovered in the 1950s and 1960s— and one about a director who remains very obscure, even though he was championed by William K. Everson. (55:05)
(1:50) Today G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box is considered one of the top films of the silent period, recognized for its exploration of the roles women were forced into in Weimar society, with Louise Brooks' Lulu a silent movie icon. But it didn't start that way! Pamela Hutchinson is the author of the volume on Pandora's Box in the BFI Film Classics series, and we talk about how the Lulu of Frank Wedekind's play became Brooks' and Pabst's Lulu.
Here's her book. Here's the Criterion edition of Pandora's Box; it's also available on Filmstruck. Here's the link to Hutchinson's site Silent London.
(29:25) Frank Wisbar made one of the few artistically respected films of the Nazi era in 1936's Ferryman Maria, in which a young girl has to save her lover from Death himself; a decade later he was in Hollywood, sort of remaking it in the horror genre at PRC as Strangler of the Swamp, with Charles Middleton.
Not much to build lasting cinematic fame on, perhaps, but NitrateVille member Henry Nicolella relates the story of a filmmaker who tried to maintain quality and a personal point of view while dealing with the turmoil of the mid-20th century.
Here's the link to his book. Here's the best copy of Ferryman Maria I could find online (no titles, but if you go to the page at Archive.org there's a link for a title file):
Here's Strangler in the Swamp at Dailymotion. Here's another German film of Wisbar's, Anna and Elizabeth:
I couldn't find any of Wisbar's episodes of Fireside Theater, but here's an article about its important place as one of the first filmed TV shows.
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