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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent early FW Murnau double bill, 24 Jun 2010
This review is from: Phantom/Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1922] (DVD)
This is an excellent restoration set from The Masters of Cinema Series and comprises of two early F.W. Murnau films made between the greater works of Nosferatu and The last Man.

Of the two I think the better film is Phantom. It's presented here in a beautiful looking tinted restoration and stars Alfred Abel. Yes, he's a bit of a plank, as you will know if you've seen him in Metropolis, but he fairs a little better here, although he looks way too old to play the character of a young man.

Taken from a novel, the film scenario is written by Thea Von Harbou, obviously having a day off from Fritz Lang, the story concerns a kind of doppelganger love affair. Lorenz, played by Abel, a budding poet falls for a lovely girl who knocks him down with her carriage. The family is very grand and his advances are rebuffed with extreme prejudice. In a delirium of love sick depression he is further reduced by a scam involving a double of the object of his desire. Both girls are played by Lya De Putti. His whole life descends into madness and criminality with final redemptive love coming in the form of the gorgeous Lil Dagover, who's been waiting for him all this time.

It's a beautifully designed and executed film, as one would expect from Murnau, with some good performances, I particularly like Frieda Richard as the mother, but also evident is his overly saccharine portrayal of heterosexual love. Although the super-impositions look rather antiquated these days, there are some excellent expressionist influenced visual effects, particularly when Lorenz becomes deranged.

So, while Phantom is not in the top order of Murnau's work there's still much to admire and enjoy. On the other-hand the package comes with 'The Finances of The Grand Duke'; an entertaining comedy which comes as something of a surprise to those only familiar with the more sombre, more familiar later works. The quality of the restored material seems more variable than with Phantom, but the extensive exterior locations are interesting to see, given that in future films like Faust and Sunrise he would create landscapes and cities in the studio. Again, this stars Alfred Abel and the great revelation is that he's really good and gives a lively comic performance. Also, Max Schreck, Nosferatu himself, plays a small role as a crazy little character.

All in all, if you're a devotee of Murnau, then these films need to be seen, and here are versions that are the best you're going to see.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from Murnau, 11 Dec 2010
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This review is from: Phantom/Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1922] (DVD)
This review is only for "Phantom".

Another masterpiece from Murnau. Taken from a book by Gerhart Hauptmann, the script could be from one of the tales from E.T.A.Hoffmann. One simple and romantic man falls in love, obsession and madness after a random and accidental encounter with a young girl. He can't escape from his ideal images created in his brain. He tries, but he can't. With Alfred Abel, Lya De Putti and Lil Dagover, amongst others. Veronika is the ideal girl for Lorenz, like Esmeralda was for the Hunchback. But the destiny has the last word. If the final word from destiny is right or wrong depends on our own interpretation. Like in the real life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 6 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Phantom/Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1922] (DVD)
Another amazing Murnau's film, well two of them. Phantom brings all that cinematographic magic, love it. Die Finanzen Des Grosserzogs isn't in my opinion his best film but still what a treat and Max Schreck unlike Orlok in it. Must see.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic film exquisitely restored, 17 Nov 2009
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Hampstead Man (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Phantom/Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1922] (DVD)
You can always trust the Masters of Cinema series; they clearly put their hearts into it. These two early Murnau films are now available in an easily enjoyed format, with restored titles and musical accompaniment. Highly recommended.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Phantom/Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1922] (DVD)
great service,great purchase,very happy.patrick fay
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