Shot by the legendary Fritz Arno Wagner—cinematographer for Murnau's NOSFERATU and Lang's M—WARNING SHADOWS is a visual masterpiece and a key work of German Expressionism. Yet, it's rarely given its due credit.
Subtitled "A Nocturnal Hallucination," the film recounts the torturous and devious attempts of a rich baron to punish the four suitors of his cuckolding wife. Inviting the unsuspecting paramours to his creepy 19th century manor for an "awkward" dinner party, the baron unleashes a mystical illusionist on his guests, who, through the performance of hypnotizing shadow plays, prophesies the doom each suitor risks if they fail to rescind their seductive advances.
Dark, brooding, and laden with Freudian undertones, WARNING SHADOWS is quintessentially “Expressionist” (and, of course, VERY German!). Of particular note: the stunning set designs executed by the pioneering Albin Grau, who one year prior orchestrated the effects and costumes for NOSFERATU. Truly a masterpiece, seminal film historian Lotte Eisner declared that director Arthur Robison "handles phantoms with the same mastery as his strange illusionist." Not to be missed!
Featured short: James Sibley Watson’s THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER— a striking Expressionist work based on Poe's classic Gothic tale of woe and despair (we promise the next edition of Silent Revue won’t be such a downer).
Live piano accompaniment by Jordan Klapman
Prints courtesy of University of Toronto Media Commons
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