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article imageOp-Ed: From Pedophiles to Murder – The top five films of Fritz Lang

By Andrew Moran     Dec 5, 2012 in Politics
Vienna - Fritz Lang has captivated audiences around the globe since 1919. Today he would have been more than a century old and it would be an applicable time to look back at some of his best motion pictures that changed the filmmaking experience.
With his monumental and glorious achievement known as “Metropolis” and his eerie “M” that launched Peter Lorre to Hollywood stardom and gave a new depiction of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” tune, Lang is one of the finest directors in the history of cinema.
Lang may be well-known to film students all around the globe, but for the average moviegoer, his name is as alien as the term Mise-en-scene. Nevertheless, Wednesday would have marked his 122nd birthday and we all should be thankful for the rise of a cinematic genius.
Here is a list of his top five films throughout his celebrated 41-year career.
5. “Fury” (1936) – starring Spencer Tracey, Walter Abel and Sylvia Sidney
It seemed that Lang enjoyed understanding violent mobs. This film explores a prisoner, who is innocent, barely surviving a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead. Well, unfortunately for the mob, he isn’t and decides to frame the mob for his murder.
4. “Scarlet Street” (1945) – starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea
This is an underrated classic of a man experiencing a mid-life crisis and yearning for something more: a career as a painter and the love of a younger woman. Unfortunately, the woman he falls in love with is in love with a swindler and they eventually con him out of his artistic mastery and his money. With a similar theme to “Crime and Punishment,” this picture will have you at the edge of your seat.
Note: the genius of Robinson will have you forget his portrayals as the vintage gangster.
3. “Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler” (1922) – starring Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Aud Egede-Nissen and Gertrude Welcker
“There is no such thing as love, only passion! No luck, only the will to gain power!” These were the words of Dr. Mabuse.
If you enjoy the classic German-Austrian style of filmmaking with the dark shadows, uncanny characters and a compelling story then this picture is for the fans of the German silent era. Although it’s very long (five hours), it’s worth the experience if you have nothing to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
2. “Metropolis” (1927) – starring Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich and Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Filmbuffs everywhere would view this picture as not only the greatest Lang film of all time, but also the best movie of all-time. This is a splendid endeavor that must be viewed by all; much the same way that a classic Fyodor Dostoevsky, Henry James or Johann von Goethe book must be read at least once. It’s a historic movie that set the stage of future sci-fi classics and inspired future generations.
What’s surprising is that this was considered a failure at the time as well as “Woman in the Moon.”
1. “M” (1931) – starring Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann and Inge Landgut
The terrifying whistle of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” (dubbed over by Lang himself), the strange looks of Lorre when he saw children and the analysis of vigilante justice are all traits of this classic motion picture, which was banned by the Nazis in July of 1934. The film has received many honors and accolades, including being chosen by the Association of German Cinémathèques as the most important German film of all time.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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