The beautiful restoration from the original camera negative of the earliest surviving film by F. W. Murnau gives an accurate representation of Murnau's innovative, highly expressive lighting techniques. The plotan eminent physician comes under the spell of an unscrupulous dancerfinds echoes in Murnau's later masterpiece Sunrise. Conrad Veidt appears in a supporting role as a sinister painter, whose entrance eerily presages Nosferatu. "The new restoration allows you to see everything in the frame, with a marvelous translucence and density of detail. Forget High Frame Rate: This is hypnotic, immersive cinema." (David Bordwell) Lupu Pick's Scherben, like Der Gang in die Nacht based on a screenplay by Carl Mayer, has been celebrated as a masterful piece of tension-filled film-making built up through purely cinematic means. The 2-disc DVD set offers exceptional scores for both films.
Der Gang in die Nacht - Germany 1920 - Directed by: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau - Writen by: Carl Mayer, based on a script by Harriet Bloch - Cinematography by: Max Lutze - Cast: Olaf Fönss, Erna Morena, Conrad Veidt, Gudrun Bruun Steffensen - Produced by: Goron-Film, Berlin - Premiere: January 21, 1921 (Berlin)
Musik für Murnau - Germany 2018 - Written, directed and produced by: Richard Siedhoff - Photographed by: Mykyta Sierov - With: Burkhard Götze, Jörg Potratz, Richard Siedhoff, Stefan Drößler - First release
Scherben - Germany 1921 - Directed by: Lupu Pick - Screenplay by: Carl Mayer - Cinematography by: Friedrich Weinmann - Cast: Werner Krauß, Hermine Straßmann-Witt, Edith Posca, Paul Otto - Produced by: Rex-Film, Berlin - Premiere: May 27, 1921 (Berlin)
About Der Gang in die Nacht
Considered at the time to be something of an experiment, the film was hailed in Der Kinematograph (no. 728, 30 January 1921) as "the first example of a new level of film art." Immediately after the press screening, film critic Willy Haas (who would later write the screenplay for Murnau's Der brennende Acker) raved in his review for Film-Kurier (no. 277, 14 December 1920): "Where does the art of the writer end, and the art of the director and the actors start? One doesn't know. Everything is intertwined. Everything is there's no better word for it complete. Carl Mayer wrote the script nothing less than a work of poetry. The film follows his words painstakingly. Unbelievable how he rushes through passages, pressing, breathless, with just two indications. Wonderful how he knows at other times when to pause, easy, almost persistent, as when the lights of cars reflect on the rain-soaked asphalt of the big city streets, or when the sea churns or the pale sun rises how he repeats passionately again and again throughout the story: 'Dear spectator, this belongs in the film, it is part of the storyline.' Or how he invents elegant flourishes like the scene with the wounded foot of the woman who is supposedly a farmer and one can feel the dainty air of creativity. Or when he lets the woman confess to her husband that she is in love with another man: three words, then she bows over his hand nothing more. All these moments are unforgettable, as simple and inexplicable as life itself, as casual and tirelessly convincing as fate."
According to Lotte Eisner, Henri Langlois discovered the original nitrate negative of the film, which since 1945 was believed to be lost, at the Staatliches Filmarchiv der DDR (the state film archive of the German Democratic Republic), and had a new print struck. However, the negative was incomplete: there were no titles present and reel 3 was missing in its entirety. The film was shown in this mutilated form throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The new digital restoration by the Munich Filmmuseum draws directly on the original camera negative, now held at the Bundesarchiv, as well as on a print from Gosfilmofond and Murnau's complete shooting script. By studying these materials intensively and comparing them with existing contemporary reviews from newspapers and magazines, slight corrections could be made to the editing as well as to the frequency, position, and wording of the intertitles. The colour tints and the font of the intertitles were reconstructed following the conventions of the time. Historian David Bordwell has rhapsodized about the experience of seeing the new restoration: "The Munich Filmmuseum's team has created one of the most beautiful editions of a silent film I've ever seen. You look at these shots and realize that most versions of silent films are deeply unfaithful to what early audiences saw. In those days, the camera negative was usually the printing negative, so what was recorded got onto the screen. The new Munich restoration allows you to see everything in the frame, with a marvelous translucence and density of detail. Forget High Frame Rate: This is hypnotic, immersive cinema."
- Der Gang in die Nacht 1920, 81'
- Orchestral score by Richard Siedhoff, performed by the Metopolis-Orchester Berlin conducted by Burkhard Götze
- Piano score by Richard Siedhoff
- Musik für Murnau 2018, 30'
- Scherben 1921, 66'
- Score by Christian Roderburg and the Filmmusik-Ensemble of the Musikhochschule in Wuppertal
- 20 pages trilingual booklet with texts by Stefan Drössler, Werner Sudendorf, Anton Kaes, Richard Siedhoff and Louis Delluc
Edited by: Filmmuseum München and Goethe-Institut
DVD authoring: Gunther Bittmann, Tobias Dressel
DVD supervision: Stefan Drössler
Fist edition December 2018, Second edition September 2019