The Blue Light (1932)

Article #620 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-25-2002
Posting date: 4-20-2003

A strange blue light shines in a mountain and lures men to their deaths. The only person who can come close to it is a woman who is ostracized for being a witch. A stranger falls in love with her.

This movie qualifies for fantastic cinema by the rather compelling mystery of its central premise; we don’t know what the blue light is, but we feel it has a mystical pull to it, and this sucks us into the tale. Ultimately, it is all explained away in non-fantastic terms, so the movie becomes less fantastic as a result; still, this isn’t a whole lot different than many a movie that promises a monster and fails to deliver one in place of a mundane explanation. My print runs a little over fifty minutes; I’ve seen it timed from anywhere to seventy to ninety minutes, so it is quite possible my print is incomplete. It was directed by Leni Riefenstahl, who also plays Junta, the central character; Hitler was so impressed with this movie, he put her in charge of making propaganda movies for the Third Reich; one can only wonder what direction her career might have gone if this had not happened. I could see why he was impressed; there are some breathtaking moments here. It’s also a little slow and confusing at times, but not fatally so, and if I do have an incomplete print, that may be the reason.


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