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Lubitsch in Berlin: Sumurun [DVD] [1920] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Ernst Lubitsch , Pola Negri , Ernst Lubitsch    DVD
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £12.44
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

Product details

  • Actors: Ernst Lubitsch, Pola Negri, Paul Wegener, Jenny Hasselqvist, Aud Egede-Nissen
  • Directors: Ernst Lubitsch
  • Writers: Ernst Lubitsch, Friedrich Freksa, Hanns Kräly, Richard Rieß
  • Format: DVD-Video, Full Screen, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Dec 2006
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 198,067 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Lubitsch at his best by a long shot 4 May 2012
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Previously filmed by Max Reinhardt ten years earlier, the 1920 version of Sumurun isn't Lubitsch at his best by a long shot. A lavishly mounted Arabian pantomime with a star cast including Paul Wegener, looking like a heavier and more menacing Lionel Atwill, and Pola Negri, it veers to the grotesque and mean-spirited and, despite featuring the director himself in an exaggerated turn as a hunchback musician (his last acting role), you won't find much evidence of the Lubitsch touch here. There is the odd nice moment along the way, like the city's dogs joining the crowds running after the minstrels or the harem girls throwing fruit on the heads of the eunuchs guarding them from their palace window, but there's no sense of his having any involvement with the characters: they stand where they need to and do what is in the script but never really come to life. Even the production design seems more conspicuously expensive than genuinely inspired for the first couple of acts of the film, as if the amount of money spent was more important than how it was spent, but that's more down to the director's initially flat staging than a failure of art direction. Lubitsch does finally start to showcase it more imaginatively with a dramatic walk to an execution (though he completely fails to inject any suspense or excitement into a race to save the character's life), but at times it feels as if that's only because he's already lost interest in his characters' fates and has developed more of an interest in architecture in the interim.

The plot is a rather messy tale of a harem girl (Jenny Hasselqvist) who loves a cloth merchant (Harry Liedtke) from afar.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lubitsch's unique place in Geman silent cinema 26 Feb 2007
By Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Thanks to KINO VIDEO's set of four new releases in the "Lubitsch in Berlin" series we can now get a better understanding and appreciation of Ernst Lubitsch's contribution to the silent film era. Regarded as one of Germany's leading directors, he stands out as uniquely different from his contemporaries and their works, namely Fritz Lang (who directed "Metropolis") F.W. Murnau ("Faust", "Nosferatu", "The Last Laugh") and G.W. Pabst ("Pandora's Box" and "Diary of a Lost Girl" with Louise Brooks) While German silent cinema was known for its Expressionist style, and generally serious with use of special lighting and shadows, Lubitsch's films are a refreshing contrast with their light, straight-forward and often humorous approach. Lubitsch's early German Silents also reveal his wide range of talents, covering different styles of comedy such as "Wildcat" and "The Oyster Princess" but also serious historic dramas such as "Anna Boleyn" (all in the `Lubitsch in Berlin' series by KINO) and not only was he a very versatile and innovative director as well as co-writer of many films, but his acting should not be overlooked either. "Sumurun" is a surprise in many ways, not in the least in Lubitsch's fairly important role of `the Hunchback' which, to me, stands out as the most eccentric and unforgettable character of the entire film.

One of the main things which struck me about "Sumurun" was first of all its style and sophistication which seem to be far superior to many films of the same year, 1920. Germans, in fact, were quite sophisticated in the 1920s and were particularly fascinated by exotic settings and places, so little wonder that "Sumurun" with its Arabian Nights sets and costumes was a big success, and not only in Germany but also in the USA. Sumurun is a member of the Old Sheik's harem (played convincingly by Paul Wegener) but she defies him because she loves a cloth merchant. Alongside this triangle is another twisted love triangle which includes Pola Negri as an exotic dancer whom `the Hunchback' loves, but she in turn is after the Young Sheik. Originally a popular pantomime act, there are not many intertitles in "Sumurun" but plenty of movement and action in a light and somewhat zany comedic style. The picture quality is overall quite good and is helped along with nice colour-tinting, and the musical accompaniment is a well-suited piano score, although I can't help wondering whether an orchestral score with Arabian or exotic undertones might have enhanced this film even more. Nevertheless, "Sumurun" is no doubt an important part of the Ernst Lubitsch and also German silent film repertoire, and it might be merely a matter of personal taste which of the four in the Lubitsch in Berlin series appeals the most.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Star Performance by Pola Negri 20 April 2010
By Alberto M. Barral - Published on
All one can remember from the complex plot of this movie which is yet another "Arabian" fantasy is the presence of Pola Negri. She plays a dancer in a traveling troupe that is forced to get the attention of the local sheik to protect her fellow performers, and allow the troupe to work the streets of the city.

She plays the role of the dancer-courtesan to the hilt and her wild and frenzied dance sequence alone is already worth the price of admission. The settings and costumes are clearly influenced by the aesthetics of Diaghelev's Ballet Russes that were still the hot ticket in Paris when this film was made. Particularly it reminded me of "Scheherazade" choreographed by Mikhail Fokine with Ida Rubenstein and Vaslav Nijinski in the title roles, which I have seen produced by the Marinski Ballet and has similar costumes,(Leon Bakst designed the original costumes and his designs have been preserved) particularly for the eunuch, as the ones in the film. The ballet caused a great sensation when it premiered in 1910 as it turned out to have one of Nijinsky's most memorable roles as the slave.

In this film Pola Negri is exquisite in her sultry, sensuous persona and one understands her star status from watching her go for it in this film. She is the seductress-gypsy par excellence and it is only when we see her that the movie really comes alive.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 15 Jan 2013
By Billiam C. - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Video not quite as sharp as I had hoped, but quite good. Interesting story. Pola Negri's attempts to be sexy were unintentionally funny.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth looking at. 23 Feb 2014
By Edward Vanzo - Published on
Take a look at it. Lubitsch dropped the ball on this one. Never was so disappointed. No more words required.
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