The Stone Rider (1923)

aka Der steinerne Reiter
Article 5363 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 2-4-2017
Directed by Fritz Wendhausen
Featuring Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Lucie Mannheim, Gustav von Wangenheim
Country: Germany
What it is: Dark fable

A village in the valley is oppressed by a cruel tyrant who brings tragedy to their weddings. When one visit causes the death of the bride, the bride’s sister vows revenge on the tyrant. But when she gets her opportunity…

If there’s one common theme to the three full-length silent features I’ve watched these last three days, it is that of the doomed romance; each story features an ill-starred love affair. This one features a very memorable performance from Rudolf Klein-Rogge as the tyrant, and it’s the perfect role for him. It also features a great performance by Lucie Mannheim as the vengeful sister. Most of the movie only hints at being a fantasy, largely due to the fact that the sets and costumes have a definite expressionistic quality about them; it’s not as thick as those in THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, but they are noticeable. It does, however, have an unambiguous fantastic twist at the climax of the story, so it’s definitely genre. The most memorable sequence for me was when the tyrant appears on a mountain and casts a huge shadow over the whole village during a wedding celebration. I thought this one was very good, though it does appear to be somewhat obscure.


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