Friday, April 12, 2013

Siegfried's Death (1924) Review

Siegfried's Death 1924 poster
Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Paul Richter, Hanna Ralph
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, German Expressionism

Directed by Fritz Lang (Metropolis, The Big Heat, M, Destiny) during his expressionist period in the silent era, Siegfried's Death is part one of Lang's two part fantasy epic known as Die Nibelungen (The Nibelungs), the second part being Kriemhild's Revenge.

It's a story about a great warrior Siegfried who travels far to marry a beautiful woman, the sister of King Gunther. After doing a few favors for King Gunther he marries his sister and becomes close friends with the King. But, as you may of guessed, things start to go wrong for just about everyone.

I'll start off by saying that if Fritz Lang's Metropolis was the 2001: A Space Odyssey of the silent era, then Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen is certainly The Lord of the Rings of it. It's quite the epic fantasy. The highlight of the action is definitely towards the beginning when Siegfried slays a fire-breathing dragon. May I remind you this was made in 1924? It's awesome though and the visual effects in this film are quite stunning, and captured by some great cinematography I may add. 

Unfortunately towards the middle the film slows down. And let me remind you that this is a two and a half hour film so the middle is pretty damn long. It gets a bit boring and slow-paced and it definitely drags at parts compared to its great opening. It's not so bad, it has its moments, but I think it could of definitely benefited from being shortened or by adding a bit more action to it. Because as it is now it's largely a medieval melodrama. Not a bad medieval melodrama mind you, but still, who wants melodrama when you can have fantasy action?

Siegfried's Death 1924Siegfried's Death 1924 dragon

It's an impressive film technically and an enjoyable film sometimes. Of course Fritz Lang's directing is stellar, and its German Expressionist qualities certainly bring the film to life, but it is a very slow and tedious film that can put some to sleep if you're not prepared for it.

3.5/5 stars

Purchase Siegfried's Death on Amazon: Blu-Ray - DVD - Fritz Lang Collection - VHS

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