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The Spiders: Golden Lake [1919] / Diamond Ship [1920] [DVD] [Region 1] [NTSC] [US Import]

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and 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.

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Product details

  • Actors: Lil Dagover
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Format: NTSC, Black & White, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • Run Time: 173 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0063E00HU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,529 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Format: DVD
This is part one and two of the earliest surviving film directed by Frits Lang, part one "The Golden Lake" (1919) his third feature film, and part two "The Diamond Ship". Part three "The Secret of the Sphinx" and part four "For Asia's imperial Crown" were never made.

Exotic sets and designs from the Ethnological Museum of Hamburg, in cooperation with Heinrich Umlauff.

A man looking under the weather looks like he is escaping on an island. If his desperate attempt for help he sends a message written in blood, in a bottle in to the sea. As he tosses it he is dispatched by an Inca arrow.

The message comes into the possession of Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt) rich sportsman and adventurer. The message tells of Inca gold in a remote location. Overhearing this is Lio Sha (Ressel Orla). That night the note is pilfered by a mysterious organization "The Spiders". Now the race is on to see whom gets the gold.

The journey will take us over many exotic lands and introduce us to sun loving, blood thirsty Incas. There may even be a chance for romance.

As with many serials the end may just be the beginning. See part two "The Diamond Ship".

In part two Kay Hoog who previously captured the secret of the Diamond Ship from the mysterious cabal "The spiders" has sworn revenge on Lio Sha for transgressions made in part one.

While the Spiders seek a diamond shaped while the head of Buddha for their own nefarious purposes. Kay seeks to spoil their plot. Again we get to go to exotic places leading to the Falkland Islands. Fortunately this time enough loose ends are sufficiently wrapped up so we do not have to wait for part three (which will never come.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9154cfb4) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91581b4c) out of 5 stars An ancient treasure? 15 Jun. 2000
By Oliver Naujoks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
The film: This Indiana Jones-type of movie put Fritz Lang on the map. It features the same mix of exotic locations and rollercoaster-action scenes like the Paramount-franchise from the 80ies. Alas, the film also shows that Fritz Lang had not yet reached the level of maturity and precision that is so prominetly featured in his later silent masterworks. Ok, the sets look great but the story is even more hokey than your usual adventure yarn. Even worse, the film features far too many of those scenes which are often done but work the least in a silent movie: shoot-outs. So I'm afraid I can recommend this film mostly to film-history-buffs (like me) or people that need all of Lang's films on their DVD-shelf. If you want to see why Lang is regarded as such a genius, you better check out "Die Nibelungen" or "Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler". The DVD: The film is very rare, and it shows: The people who restored it couldn't work with the best film-material but had to use what they got and so the print is quite scratchy and generally worn-out. But this is your only chance to see it, so let that not hinder you. Otherwise, besides some notes on the film-makers, there's not very much regarding extras on this DVD. One final, international note: It's a shame that this German film is not available at all in Germany, so congratulations to David and Kimberly Shepard who uncovered this long-believed lost film!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91581f54) out of 5 stars A silent adventure 4 Aug. 2003
By gac1003 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Kay Hoog finds a message in a bottle floating near San Francisco. The message tells about a hidden Incan city filled with gold and gives the location for finding it. Intrigued, Kay tells his yacht club that he's going to find it. Later, Lia Sha, also a member of the club and the mysterious Spiders, steals the map and sets off for Peru, with Kay not far behind.
Thus, begins the Indiana Jones-like adventure which leads from Peru to a hidden city beneath San Francisco to a deadly cave in the Falkland Islands. "Spiders" from German director Fritz Lang, contains the first two parts of what was to be a 4-part serial. It's not the greatest of all adventure stories and has quite a few plot holes, but it's easy to see the influence it has on many of the adventure films of today. And, the acting is not bad, either.
The DVD transfers are scratchy but still very viewable. Not many extras, though.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91581fcc) out of 5 stars The New Version of THE SPIDERS. 1 Mar. 2012
By Chip Kaufmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first became familiar with THE SPIDERS in David Shepard's 1999 version on Image DVD. It will always have a special place in my silent film collection as it was my introduction to the exotic pulp fiction serials of the silent era that would culminate years later in the INDIANA JONES films of Steven Spielberg. After seeing the 2 silent features that make up THE SPIDERS (THE GOLDEN SEA and THE DIAMOND SHIP), I was primed for THE INDIAN TOMB (which Fritz Lang co-wrote but missed out on directing until he made his own version 40 years later) and the earlier serials of Louis Feuillade (THE VAMPIRES, JUDEX, FANTOMAS) which inspired this film. In the company of the Feuillade serials and the later silent films of Lang, THE SPIDERS gets unfairly dismissed which is unfortunate as it has much to offer especially in this new transfer.

The biggest knock against the old version was that the print was not in great shape. Shepard explained that we were lucky to have the film at all and that it took a lot of work to put it back together from materials found in Czech archives. The new version appears to use the same Czech materials but has the advantage of new restoration techniques developed in the last 10 years. Nevertheless those expecting a complete restoration are bound to be disappointed as compared to NOSFERATU, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA or the 2003 version of METROPOLIS, this still looks pretty rough. It is longer (173 minutes -vs- 137 minutes) and, as much as I love Gaylord Carter organ scores, the new Ben Model score will be more audience friendly as will the print improvement and new title cards.

For those unfamiliar with the scenario, it involves intrepid adventurer Kay Hoog (pronounced HOAG - Carl de Vogt) and his confrontations with the international criminal organization The Spiders headed up by the remarkably intense femme fatale Lio Sha (Ressel Orla). Separately they seek to recover Incan treasure and later a priceless diamond known as the "Buddha's Head". Murders, betrayals, escapes, exotic locales are all there in the mix along with Lang's eye for striking visual composition which is what separates THE SPIDERS from the serials of Feuillade. The sets are fabulous, the costumes elaborate, and the performances (most notably Ressel Orla's) are deliriously intense. This more complete version is a welcome addition to the Fritz Lang filmography just don't expect M or METROPOLIS or for it to look like it was shot yesterday.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91581d74) out of 5 stars The birth of the cinematic gentleman adventurer 1 April 2009
By Erik Hauke Tønnesen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I finally got hold of this, and even if it is the oldest of Lang's films to survive (he made two before this), it was the last of his German made films that I saw. The films (there are indeed two films, The Golden Lake and The Diamond Ship)are high adventure, in the best tradition of Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle. As our gentleman adventurer shoots, rides, swims, wades and balloons himself towards his goal, Lang utilizes every trick in the book (he didn't get the memo that says "Silents must be boring") to hold his viewers. For anybody that enjoys the politically incorrect adventure tales of the Victorian and Edwardian ages, as well as the Orientalist and art nouveau-ish design of the pre-WW2 upper classes. This film is a must.

I have seldom seen a film of this age holding up so well. I absolutely agree with the reviewer that wanted this film re-restored. A gem of the Weimar cinema.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x915874b0) out of 5 stars If you are a cineaste who is passionate about Fritz Lang's oeuvre especially his very early works, this DVD is worth owning! 28 April 2012
By [KNDY] Dennis A. Amith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Many decades before Steven Spielberg and George Lucas would create the "Indiana Jones" films, back in the 1919, Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang would write and direct his adventure epic "The Spiders (Die Spinnen)".

It all began not long after Lang was discharged from the Austrian Army, having been wounded in combat, Lang would use his time during his recovery to write ideas he had for films. As an actor for the Viennese theater circuit, he was hired at Decla, which was a Berlin-based production studio led by producer Erich Pommer.

During the early stages of his career, Fritz Lang would create art films but his popular thriller "The Spiders" was known for combining German Expressionist techniques and popular mainstream cinema and in essence, it was considered as art house cinema.

And for many decades, this film had been considered lost until it was discovered in the 1970's. While a restoration was done in 1978 and released on DVD in 1999. A new restoration was commissioned from a tinted 35mm print and footage that was not included in the 1999 DVD release has been added to the 2012 DVD release courtesy of Kino Lorber Inc.

"The Spiders" is considered to be the beginning of the golden age of silent cinema. Originally, there was a planned trilogy but only two films were created.

The first episode "The Golden Sea" begins with a man escaping from the Inca's who are planning to use him as a sacrifice. The man, a Harvard professor who has been missing since his travel to Peru, writes a note, which he puts into a bottle and throws it off to the ocean before being speared.

We are then introduced to Kay Hoog (played by Carl de Vogt), a sportsman who is attending a high society party for those involved in a major yacht race from San Francisco to Japan. But Kay is not planning to take part in the competition as he found a bottle in sea from the missing Harvard professor that said there is treasure located inside a temple of a lost Incan civilization. Coordinates were included and now Kay hopes to travel to that area and find some treasure.

But also attending the party is Lio Sha, the head of a secret criminal organization known as the Spiders now wants that information that Hoog possesses. And immediately, they break into Hoog's home and steals the treasure map.

It's a race against time as Hoog begins his expedition to find the treasure at the lost Incan civilization and hopefully get it before the Spider's can. But in return for them stealing his map, Hoog ends up stealing an even more important map from the Spiders on the location of The Diamond Ship.

As Kay is wanted by the Spiders and everyone trying to find the lost treasure, Kay encounters the beautiful Priestess of the Sun named Naela. But with the Incan's aware that there are outsiders in their area, who will live and who will die?

In episode two, "The Diamond Ship", after facing a major tragedy caused by the hands of the Spiders, they have now made things personal for Kay.

With the Spiders now seeking a diamond on the "Diamond Ship", the Spiders hope with the possession of the Buddha head diamond will release Asia from tyranny. And Lio Sha believes that the diamond may be in the possession of a millionaire named Terry Landon (played by Rudolph Lettinger). But when the Spiders do not find it, they kidnap his daughter Ellen (played by Thea Zander) and will not release her until they get the diamond.

But since Kay has the information about the Diamond Ship which he stole from the Spiders, perhaps he can find it and help bring Ellen back home.


"The Spiders" is presented in 1:33:1 and is color-tinted from sepia to red. It's important to note that the color-tinting is not the same as the 1999 Image Entertainment DVD release. With the new restoration that was done by the Blazena Urgosikova and Ingrid Tetkova, the main goal was to introduce some of the missing footage but also to fix the speed of the film.

With the original 1999 DVD release, there were silent film fans who were critical that "The Spiders" was a bit too fast. I personally have not seen the 1999 DVD release but have read that the new restoration does fix that problem. Personally, movements seemed natural to me and not overly sped up or too slow.

As for picture quality, as one can expect from a film that is 90-years-old, you are going to see some scratches but in the context of silent films, "The Spiders" looks very good and doesn't have any major nitrate damage, warping, blurring or blackening on the film print.

While it's not my preference to see a lot of red color tinting in the film (as I'm so used to seeing sepia, orange, blue and green), I am not too sure of the differences of the color tinting from the previous Dave Shepard restoration.

For the most part, the film was in much better shape than expected and looks good on DVD.

As for audio, the music is composed and performed by Ben Model.


"The Spiders" does not come with any special features.


The release of "The Spiders" on DVD is fantastic! With the original 1999 DVD release out-of-print and costing a lot due to its rarity, with a lot of interested in Fritz Lang films (may it be his silents such as "Metropolis" or his foray into Hollywood Film Noir), Kino Lorber has been very good when it comes to the release of Fritz Lang films on Blu-ray and DVD.

While the Spiders has been released on DVD back in 1999, the 2012 DVD release is said to be better because it includes lost footage and also a corrected speed. The original Image Entertainment DVD ran for 137 minutes, this new version is 170 minutes long (which is possibly the newer footage and the slowing down of speed). According to the credits, this version was licensed by Transit Film on behalf of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and archival sources were from the Cinematheque Royale de Belgique and Filmovych laboratorich Barrandov Praha.

While I never watched the original 1999 DVD release, going by story alone, "The Spiders" was an intriguing and surprising adventure epic.

Sure, "The Spiders" was shot many decades before the Indiana Jones films and sure, the technology involved in production has evolved a lot since 1919 and 1920 but considering what was accomplished on this film, there was a decent amount of production in recreating the Incan civilization with its appearance of Incan carved rocks in the first film and a lot of focus on makeup and costume design for both films.

The first film "Episode One: The Golden Sea" was enjoyable as you get the suave adventurer/sportsman Kay Hoog. With the tuxedo and the slicked back hair and look that seemed more like a prototype to a James Bond film, "The Spiders" had style but it also had an intriguing story with Kay trying to get to the treasure before his adversaries, the criminal organization the Spiders and their leader Lio Sha gets to it.

And for 1919, the overall storyline was adventurous and intriguing but it's that extra touch at the end which you don't expect, that made the first film so much more enjoyable and exciting and making you want to see the sequel.

But one you do watch the sequel, "Episode Two: The Diamond Ship", I felt that the second film was rushed as Fritz Lang tried to incorporate too much and focus more on the adventures and action than the storyline itself.

While it was intriguing to see Kay Hoog going underground in China Town to find Lio Sha and the Spiders, everything afterward seemed as if it was not well-planned. As much as I enjoyed the fact that Lang wanted to take the viewer from one location to another, unfortunately, it's not executed all that well. There were far too many characters and unlike the first film which tried to narrow things down between Kay Hoog and Lio Sha, the storyline was all over the place.

But bare in mind, this was Fritz Lang's earlier work, done way before "Metropolis", "Spies", "M" and his "Dr. Mabuse" films, but there is no doubt that with Lang working on these two films, he would improve significantly a few years later to take on films such as "Destiny" (1921), "Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler" (1922) and "Siegfried" (1924).

For any Fritz Lang cinema enthusiasts, "The Spiders" is essential viewing if you want to see Lang's earlier work but how he tries to integrate German expressionism and arthouse with a action/adventure theme. Whether or not it's good, it is all subjective but I enjoyed "The Spiders", the first episode a lot more than the second. But for any cineaste, one can see how much Fritz Lang evolved in filmmaking during the 1920's and eventually for hardcore fans, how much his work has changed when he left to work in America.

Overall, "The Spiders" is a DVD release worth watching. You often don't come upon a silent film release in which its main protagonist has that James Bond suave look, characters traveling to exotic locations and action sequences in different parts of the world. If you are a cineaste who is passionate about Fritz Lang's oeuvre especially his very early works, this DVD is a fine addition to add in your cinema collection!
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