Erdgeist (1923)

aka Earth Spirit
Article 3776 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-4-2011
Posting Date: 12-16-2011
Directed by Leopold Jessner
Featuring Asta Nielsen, Albert Bassermann, Carl Ebert
Country: Germany
What it is: Drama

A woman named Lulu destroys the lives of all the men she meets.

This title sat on my hunt list so long that it eventually got shuttled off to my “ones that got away” list; however, I finally did manage to get a hold of a copy. And, as is often the case where I do find a movie after this long a wait, the copy I found didn’t have English title cards; the ones on this are in Russian, so I couldn’t even pretend that I was able to read them. To help me a little, I checked a few of my resources, and discovered that the movie was largely based on the same stories that resulted in PANDORA’S BOX, and that the fantastic content was that it featured the character of Jack the Ripper. If it does, then I wasn’t able to pick him out from the rest of the characters, so this title may be a false alarm. The movie itself mostly shows people going through emotional turmoil against black backgrounds while actress Asta Nielsen wears strange costumes, including one that makes her look like some sort of bizarre black angel. To be truthful, this got old very quick, and, despite the fact that the movie has a fairly strong rating on IMDB (7.2), I found myself fairly bored by the whole thing. Maybe it would have helped if I had been able to understand the title cards. One thing that did occur to me is how much tastes change over the years. Asta Nielsen was reportedly one of the most popular and beautiful actresses of the silent screen, and no doubt she was; however, every time the camera got close enough to her that I could get a good look at her, she looked for all the world like a female impersonator to me.

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