- Actors: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn, Frida Richard, William Dieterle
- Directors: F.W. Murnau
- Format: PAL
- Language: German
- Subtitles: 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: 21 Jan. 2002
- Run Time: 107 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00005UBL5
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,076 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Faust [DVD] 
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DVD Special Features:
Commentary track written by film historian Peter Spooner
Black and White Silent with Orchestral Soundtrack
Music composed and conducted by Timothy Brock and performed by the Olympia Chamber Orchestra
Shot in the UFA studios with a big movie star in the lead and all the special effects and production design resources any blockbuster of its time could wish for, FW Murnau's 1926 Faust represents a step up from his better-known Nosferatu. Oddly, Faust is a less familiar film than the vampire quickie and this release affords fans a chance to see what Murnau can do with an equally major fantasy story. Adapted neither from Marlowe's play Dr Faustus nor Goethe's verse drama, the script scrambles various elements of the legend and presents a Faust (Gosta Ekman) driven to summon the Devil by despair as a plague rages through the town, desperate to gain enough learning to help his neighbours. When this deal doesn't quite work out, because he is stoned by townsfolk who notice his sudden fear of the cross, Mephisto (Emil Jannings) offers Faust instead renewed youth and an opportunity to seduce a famously beautiful Italian noblewoman and then to return to his home village and get involved with the pure Gretchen (Camilla Horn). Like most versions of the story, it's episodic and some sections are stronger than others: the great stuff comes in the plague and initial deal sequences, though it picks up again for the tragic climax as Gretchen becomes the central figure and suffers horribly, freezing in the snows and burning at the stake. Jannings' devil, a gruesomely humorous slice of ham, is one of the great silent monster performances, reducing everyone else to a stick figure, and Murnau faces the challenge of topping his Nosferatu imagery by deploying a battalion of effects techniques to depict the many magical journeys, sudden appearances and transformations.
On the DVD: Often seen in ragged, incomplete prints projected at the wrong speed, this is a decently restored version, running a full 115 minutes with a complete orchestral score. The original materials show some of the damage to be expected in a film of its vintage, but the transfer is excellent, displaying the imaginative art direction and camerawork to superb advantage. Aside from a nicely eerie menu, the sole extra is a full-length commentary originating in Australia: written by historian Peter Spooner but read by narrator Russell Cawthorne (who mispronounces the odd name). This provides an interesting wealth of background detail, such as Murnau's attempt to cast Hollywood's Lillian Gish as Gretchen, and delivers a balanced assessment of the film itself. --Kim NewmanSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The first thing I will say about this film is how nicely simple the story is. The plot is pretty basic with some nice religious themes, love, betrayal and some more dark elements thrown into one big mixed bag. But the director has done a great job of taking these qualities and making it so easy to follow that the pacing was absolutely perfect.
My favourite thing about this movie is the visual element. There are a lot of heavy religious themes, most of which are fairly stereo typical old time Christianity. On top of that you have a fantastic intro sequence featuring the Devil and an Angel, this sequence alone is absolutely beautiful and had me taken back. The rest of the film features some beautiful set work all of which had a magnificent use of lighting. It didn't matter whether the set was made to look heavenly, devilish or to emphasise the look of death and decay, it looked absolutely gorgeous without, and all this is without mentioned some of the incredible visual effects sequences. Those are a sight to behold. Extremely impressive for the technical limitations of the day.
Those looking for a stunning fantasy movie about selling your soul to the devil, falling in love and reaping the consequences will absolutely adore this film. The bluray transfer whilst scratchy in places (it is 90 years old after all) still looks very sharp and is well suited to modern high definition television sets. I had an absolute blast with this movie and I couldn't recommend it more.
Faust is a dark tale of man's desires and the depths he can be driven to, tempered, ultimately with his capacity for self sacrifice and redemption.
The film opens with visually arresting images as the Devil Mephisto and an Angel lay a wager - if Mephisto can capture the soul of Faust, and turn the good Doctor to evil then he can lay claim to all the earth for his dominion. Mephisto starts a savage plague which Faust's science and faith cannot cure. In desperation he summons the Devil and seals a pact in his own blood, initially for the power to help the victims for a day. Cunningly Mephisto draws Faust ever deeper into his clutches, until, for the love of good woman he finds redemption.
The narrative is well known, but it is told in a fantastic and visually arresting fashion by Murneau, a master of his art. There are several big set pieces, especially at the beginning of the film, with some amazing special effects. Mephisto rising from a pit of fire, looking over the town spreading plague, the whole summoning sequence at the crossroads. These scenes are quite iconic, and leave one breathless with excitement and wonder.
Every scene is shot with meticulous attention to detail. The lighting for each is finely judged, and brings out the maximum impact and depth. The famous scene where the original Faustian pact is signed is a particular example; it is packed with immense emotion.Read more ›
The performances especially by Emil Jannings as Mephistopheles and Camilla Horn as Gretchen are remarkable and the various special effects used are outstanding for the time and still have the power to astonish. As I said in an earlier review most silent film buffs think PANDORA'S BOX with Louise Brooks to be the apex of German silent cinema and maybe it is but I cast my vote for FAUST. Murnau was a true cinematic poet, a German Cocteau if you will, and all of his considerable skill as a cinematic storyteller went into the making of this film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another "reference-level" release by Eureka! (Masters of Cinema). The Blu-ray have a wonderful video, sharp and brilliant, with a detailed black and white both in daylight... Read morePublished on 22 Sept. 2014 by mario tedeschi turco
Not very much to add to the comprehensive and effusive reviews already here.
I would like to praise the sets and lighting. Read more
WARNING: Light spoilers ahead.
I'm almost ashamed to admit I was never really wowed by the film the only time I'd seen it previously on the first Eureka DVD. Read more
This is one of my new favourite films. I may be a sucker for look and feel over purpose on this occassion, but it's so well done, and such an influential film that I'm happy to... Read morePublished on 9 July 2014 by AP
LANG'S AND MURNAU'S WORKS SHOULD BE ALL RELEASED IN HOME VIDEO. I DON'T CARE IF THEY'RE IN BLURAY OR DVD FORMAT, BECAUSE THESE WORKS HAVE ALREADY BEEN TEXTBOOK FOR FILM INDUSTRY... Read morePublished on 8 Feb. 2014 by HAN XIAO
Great product. this edition is awsome and finally e can see Murnau's original version of this movie. A piece of cinema's history has re-birth.Published on 22 Aug. 2013 by Drone89
Murnau's Faust stands alongside his other works from the twenties and takes us on the greatest flights of fantasy, perhaps, as befits the subject. Read morePublished on 2 Jun. 2013 by schumann_bg