Secrets of a Soul (1926)

Article #793 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-17-2003
Posting Date: 10-14-2003
Directed by G.W. Pabst
Featuring Werner Krauss, Pawel Pawloff, Ruth Weyher

A man who accidentally cuts his wife’s neck with a razor (he was shaving the back of her head) when he is startled by a cry of murder (also involving a razor) develops both a phobia of knives and a desire to kill his wife.

Title check: I suppose it depends on just how you define the word “soul”, but if it includes the human psyche, the title is quite appropriate.

G.W. Pabst is one of my favorite directors, and this movie certainly doesn’t change my feelings about that. The movie itself is a reenactment of a true story; it belongs only marginally to the genre of fantastic cinema, largely through the movie’s interest in madness, and a stunning and memorable dream sequence which is the centerpiece of the movie (and which is revisited during the psychoanalysis sequence). There is a great image of a city growing out of the ground during this sequence that is a particular highlight. This is a quite interesting movie, particularly for anyone interested in psychoanalysis.


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