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Spione (Spies) - Masters of Cinema series [DVD]

 Parental Guidance   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £10.02 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Spione (Spies) - Masters of Cinema series [DVD] + Phantom/Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1922] + Schloss Vogelöd (aka The Haunted Castle) [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1921]
Price For All Three: £30.05

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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: German, English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka
  • DVD Release Date: 20 April 2005
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00070G76O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,651 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Newly restored to its original length, Fritz Lang's penultimate silent film, Spione [Spies], is a flawlessly constructed labyrinthine spy thriller. Hugely influential, Lang's famous passion for meticulous detail combines with masterful storytelling and editing skills to form a relentless story of intrigue, espionage, and blackmail. An international spy ring, headed by Haghi (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), uses technology, threats, and murder to obtain government secrets. As master spy, president of a bank, and music hall clown, Haghi leads several lives using instruments of modern technology to spearhead a mad rush for secrets — secrets that assert his power over others. Setting in stone for the first time many elements of the modern spy thriller, Spione remains remarkably fresh and captivating over 75 years since its first release. Lang carefully reveals the elaborate methods of the spies as they move through his unknown city, no doubt creating a mirror of troubled Weimar Germany. Made by Lang's own production company and, like M and Metropolis, written by Lang with his wife Thea von Harbou, Spione is "the Grandaddy of decades of intrigue epics. In its rigorous austerity it remains the most modern of the bunch." (Elliott Stein, Village Voice).

From the Back Cover

An international spy ring, headed by Haghi (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), uses technology, threats, and murder to obtain government secrets. As master spy, president of a bank, and music hall clown, Haghi leads several lives using instruments of modern technology to spearhead a mad rush for secrets — secrets that assert his power over others. Setting in stone for the first time many elements of the modern spy thriller, Spione remains remarkably fresh and captivating over 75 years since its first release. Lang carefully reveals the elaborate methods of the spies as they move through his unknown city, no doubt creating a mirror of troubled Weimar Germany. Made by Lang's own production company and, like M and Metropolis, written by Lang with his wife Thea von Harbou, Spione is "the Grandaddy of decades of intrigue epics. In its rigorous austerity it remains the most modern of the bunch." (Elliott Stein, Village Voice).


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent epic spy thriller from Fritz Lang 10 May 2010
Format:DVD
This Lang gem was languishing unrated and unreviewed so I thought I'd give it some well deserved praise.

This is a stunning spy yarn from Lang with a breathtaking opening sequence that's well worth the money on it's own. From the editing to the production design the film is flawless and there's plenty to consider in terms of underlying themes, for the discussion of which you can turn to the excellent booklet.

The film sets off at a cracking pace and in spite of the convoluted plot, and a myriad of fascinating characters, it continues to draw you in for a staggering 145 minutes. Rudolf Klein-Rogge plays Haghi the mastermind spy leader with several persona, using all manner of modern technological high jinks, murder and blackmail to obtain government and financial secrets. Interestingly, there seems to be no particular goal to Haghi's elaborate schemes other than the fact that he has the means and the desire to cause them to happen.

There are plenty of fantastic set pieces and special effects to keep you happy, including a room filling up with water while the protagonists try to make their escape.

Another great restoration package from the Masters of Cinema series. If you like Lang and you haven't already got this, what's stopping you?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Fritz Lang's 1928 silent espionage thriller, Spione (Spies) is one of his very best films and one of the best silent films period. Masters of Cinema present it here in a terrific pin-sharp Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung restoration which runs the full 145m and does full justice to Lang's terrific visual sense, Fritz Arno Wagner's astounding photography and Otto Hunte and Karl Vollbrecht's top art direction. The film is presented with an electronic score by Donald Sosin (not the original Werner R. Heymann and Artur Guttmann score used for the premiere) which drives the narrative forward superbly. Some might want a more 'natural' symphonic score, but the electronic effects are completely in tune with Lang's modernist project. The scoring for the build up to the train crash I found especially gripping. There are few of the extras one has come to expect from this source, but the Jonathan Rosenbaum review 'Inside the Vault' is interesting as is the production gallery of photographs on the DVD itself. There is no commentary, but this isn't as damaging as the lack of one for the Eureka Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler release which I recently reviewed. There, some knowledge of Weimar Republic history is essential for a full appreciation (perhaps that is provided by David Kalat in the commentary for the more recently-released MoC complete Mabuse edition which I haven't seen). Spione, however, is remarkable for lacking any of Dr. Mabuse's social critique, existing completely divorced from the socio-economic conditions of the time. I would certainly welcome a commentary telling us more about Lang's superb editing, his extraordinarily innovative use of off-screen space, the striking narrative ellipses and (in a film where the camera rarely moves) the terrific sense of movement present in almost every frame. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before 007 there was Lang... 2 Jun 2011
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Fritz Lang's penultimate silent film, 1928's Spione, saw him returning to more modestly budgeted and overtly commercial fare after the costly box-office failure of Metropolis with a potboiler that more or less takes the view that espionage is a form of gang warfare for the upper classes where what they fight over is probably less important than keeping the war going. Which makes it sound a bit more interesting than it actually is, since much of the first half of the film gets bogged down in a romantic subplot that eclipses the spy games but at least raises the stakes in the second half. Not that it doesn't get off to a rip-roaring start, with a breakneck series of assassinations, robberies and dirty deeds, all perpetuated by a master villain with his own uniformed private army in his hidden lair with its own self-destruct button, which certainly must have given Ian Fleming, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman a few ideas a couple of decades later, as did the hero referred to only by his code number (number 326 rather than 007) and the gadgets both sides use (watch out for the gas bomb cocoanuts). We know he's despicable and utterly immoral because he owns a bank and boasts "I'm richer than Ford, Lady Leslane, even if I pay significantly less in taxes."

The Maguffin for the latest round in the ongoing battle is an Anglo-Japanese treaty, with Willy Fritsch's 326 (and the narrative) distracted by Gerda Maurus' Russian exile to give the rotten banker (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) time to set his plans in motion. Naturally she falls in love with him for real, turning down offers of valuable necklaces to betray him ("Whose blood am I to wear around my neck?") only for Klein-Rogge to use her love against the object of her affection.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Summary 18 Dec 2010
By paco
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Wonderful and fantastic movie. Somehow it's a summary of all the virtues and findings made by Fritz Lang in his silent movies, however the script will remind you to "Dr Mabuse - The Gambler" (1922) and "Dr Mabuse - Der Spieler" (1922) because of the plot. Once again one criminal mastermind trying to spread a web of murders, lies, stealings, blackmails, etc..... But you can rely on Lang's direction, in fact it is a spectacular movie. Highly recommended.
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