Hilde Warren and Death (1917)

aka Hilde Warren und der Tod
Article 3196 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-19-2010
Posting Date: 5-15-2010
Directed by Joe May
Featuring Mia May, Bruno Kastner, Georg John
Country: Germany
What it is: Depressing drama

A vivacious actress turns down an honest man’s proposal of marriage and instead weds a criminal. This event causes her life to enter a downward spiral…

My print runs only about 42 minutes, but though there are obviously some scenes missing, the main gist of the story seems to be intact. The script is by Fritz Lang, though the movie is not directed by him. It opens with a man telling a lively, vivacious actress that she won’t understand his play about a woman embracing death because she herself is too full of life. Of course, this is foreshadowing, and what follows is simply the chain of events that causes her to lose all the love of life. This is one depressing movie, largely because it’s pretty unrelenting in putting her through the wringer. The fantastic content consists of her seeing visions of death personified at various moments in the story, though I would stop short of calling it a horror movie. Though it’s not one of the better efforts from Lang, it does give an idea of some of the places he would go later in his career, and in its own bleak way, the movie is rather engrossing.

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