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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 December 2016
I admittedly don't normally review movies for the simple fact that I am not that technically minded enough to talk about them. However I have picked up a few movies that to my eye were absolutely stunning and worth reviewing. One of those was Die Nibelungen.

The first thing that caught my attention with this film is how lovely it looked. The forest scenes looked beautiful, the indoor sets were quite convincing and the outfits were top quality stuff. Despite its obviously advanced age, this movie visually has aged better than films that were released 15 yrs ago. I liked the fact that they tell you about the effort that has been put into restoring the movie and it looks great for it. Naturally the film is going to be grainy and scratched in places. However the film that has the less damage look as clear as day and sharper than some of the newer films I have purchased.

The plot itself has some nice twists and turns which I will not spoil for you but they did a great job of keeping the momentum going. Just when things settle down something happens that makes the story pick up. This whole thing is made that much sweeter with a fantastic bombastic score that really never lets down. The music is huge in scope and sounds absolutely magnificent through my stereo system. What happened to days when movies had good music?

The only thing that I can see putting people off is the fact it is silent (can't say it bothered me) and the fact that it is nearly five hours long. But don't let it put you off because this is actually two movies in one box and they work very well in separate viewings. You don't have to blast through the entire movie in one go, you can take your time and you will likely find a more comfortable experience by doing so.

I am new to this silent movie thing and I couldn't be more pleased with my purchase. This movie (without going into detail) is easily one of the finest films I have ever seen and those looking for a medieval drama to sink your teeth into should buy this without question. You have some light humour, some deceit, lies, back stabbing, endless battles and even a battle with a (very cute) dragon. The movie delivers a lot and the end result is very satisfying.
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on 5 February 2018
Having read Leonard Maltin’s top-rated review of this title, I bought this 2 DVD set to see ‘Die Nibelungen’ for myself.
I can’t imagine this pair of spectacular movies being better presented than here, by Eureka. This happened to be my first purchase from the ‘Masters of Cinema’ series; I’ve seen about half-a-dozen now, and found each one to be second to none. All have illustrated booklets and, with regard to early silent films, they’re often restored from the best surviving prints, with newly-recorded scores.
This particular release has a fine orchestral soundtrack, originally written for Lang, by Gottfried Huppertz, and the hour-long DVD extra documentary discusses both the score and movies in detail.

As for the films themselves - they may not be to all tastes (and at a combined four-and-a-half hours, they really make for epic viewing) - but you won’t get a better chance to appreciate them.
The first part is ‘Siegfried’ and contains more fantasy and mythical elements than the sequel. The famous dragon-slaying sequence comes quite early on, and would have been better staged with less clarity; the dragon looks more convincing when it’s shrouded in smoke and fire.
Yet it’s the stylized design (of interiors and costumes), plus the scale of the sets that impresses most; and I found the shadowy treasure-cavern scene (where the dwarves are turned to stone) to be the most magical and memorable. Lang even uses some animated inserts to describe Queen Kriemhilde's ominous dreams.
The second film is ‘Kriemhilde’s Revenge’ and brings Attila and his barbarian army into the action. The finale boasts an impressive battle scene, with real colossal sets going up in flames. (The documentary, on Disc Two, sheds some light on how it was all achieved).
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on 20 September 2016
A very beautiful film. We may wonder how Fritz Lang managed to get to that level of quality of picture but also that width of picture with the camera of the time. But he managed at least to give the impression he had wide pictures of landscape and movement, particularly galloping horses and masses of people.

The film is not in black and white as expected but in gold and black and that gives it a tremendous impact since it is color without being color. It is warm whereas white and black would have been cold. That establishes a relation with the audience that is close like some story telling at night in front of some fire in the winter. We are inside the story. Another quality is the costumes. The luxurious costumes of the Nibelungen from Burgundy and the city of Worms are strikingly imposing and even forbidding. Hagen Tronje’s rough costume and extravagant helmet make him look like a barbarian, violent by principle, treacherous by nature. He is the man apart that will never be betrayed by the clan, in spite of all the misery he will bring down upon them. In the same way the Huns are shown as primitive, mostly have nude, and children are shown as systematically nude, living in some kind of huts or tents, at times troglodyte caves, though at the same time they have a palace in the “city” and that palace is in a way beautiful though rather massive and heavy but quite comparable to that of the Nibelungen in Worms which is maybe vaster and more richly decorated and has a cathedral.

The restoration of the film has a lot to do with the quality of the picture but all the rest is really Fritz Lang’s.

The question this film brings up is the motivation of Fritz Lang when he directed and produced this film. The film goes back to the traditional Germanic more than German legend of Siegfried and his wife Kriemhild. This version is not the only one in Germanic culture with some others more Scandinavian in which Siegfried is named Sigurd. This film is centered on Burgundy seen as German and the Huns in the East. This redistributing Europe to the benefit of Germany is typical of the post World War 1 atmosphere, the desire to step over the defeat. At the same time the Nibelungen are run amok because of one of their allies who is untrustworthy, and yet they stick to him. That leads to all the Nibelungen being destroyed by the vengeful will of one of them, hence some kind of a traitor, Kriemhild herself who wants to avenge the murder of her husband, though she forgets to remember she gave the killer the information he needed to succeed. She wants at least everyone to forget. And she will get her vengeance, but she will be destroyed by one surviving member of the clan.

That means the defeat comes from inside because the Nibelungen were not able to respect and protect the hero they had welcomed in their clan. You see the myth behind, the lesson to the German audience: be faithful and support your heroes. Just nine years later it is this mood that will produce Hitler and the full German support to him. The Germans did not do the same mistake as in the old days. Surprisingly enough the lesson comes from a Jew, the main victims later on.

The vision of the East, the Huns, Attila, is the vision of a primitive and extremely barbaric people but yet courageous and dedicated to themselves, the Huns, with waves and waves of simple people turned warriors without weapons or equipment, dying in great number but finally overwhelming the well equipped and well trained Nibelungen. True enough the killing idea came from Kriemhild: burn them all in and out, but yet it is the Huns who did it, burning down their own palace to roast the Nibelungen inside. At the same time the motivations were clear: they wanted to avenge the killing of Attila’s own son by Hagen Tronje. They were justified since Hagen Tronje killed an infant out of pure spite.

We can wonder if this film, a lot more popular medium than the rewriting of the myth by Wagner’s operas, though Wagner could now be heard on the radio in the 1920s and 1930s, if this film did not contribute to build the atmosphere and motivation that brought Hitler to power. One thing is sure: the film is a very compelling call to the Germans to reunite and get inspiration from their mythology or past and at the same time to unite behind their heroes not to make the same mistakes again. In 1924 Hitler was still unknown but yet the momentum that was going to bring him to power was already moving and building up. This film is one piece of the puzzle. And it’s probably for that reason that we had to wait so long before getting it restored to some glory. Some historical facts of the past are at times difficult to digest by modern people.

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on 21 April 2017
Another early film - strong story that keeps your attention focused otherwise you will loose the plot as it twists and turns, which it does frequently.
Based on a German story - of which I couldn't possibly explain in a short review - read the product description - but a wonderful look back into the early cinema and what they accomplished, truly amazing.
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on 20 March 2018
Now this inhabits a different world to our world. Its imperious tread allows every tiny movement & response to be scene and dwelt on. there is time to think and absorb the film. If it were music it would be Mahler or Bruckner, which is not to everyone's taste. I found it to be hard going but interesting as a historical record of an acting & filmic style now extinct.
Its very seriousness make sit hard going, but An epic of its kind.
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on 23 March 2014
But not quite. Unsure as to whether this film more accurately follows the legend but it is brilliant in every way.

It is as might be expected, quite naturalistic with none of the heavy and minimalist symbolism that pervades opera productions of the Wagner conception.

Visually it is magnificent with attention to every detail and with splendid visual effects. One might not be scared to death by Dragon but, given the technical restrictions of the era, it is not quite laughable.

If only filmakers of Hollywood would take some notice of the style and artistic integrity of these pioneers, they might produce something worth watching. But that is truly a dead industry, devoted simply to cheap effect, violence and making money. Still, presumably, they are giving the public what it wants and thereby achieving their target of multi-million turnovers. Where on earth will it all end??
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on 12 November 2013
Fritz Lang directed this movie in 1924. It tells the story in two different parts. In the first one we see Siegfried killing the dragon and becoming almost invincible. His connection to the royal Nibelungen Clan is sealed by his marriage to Kriemhild. However Hagen kills him in the only possible place. In the second part Kriemhild travels to the remote land of the Huns to wed to Attila and organize her force to a vengeance of Hagen and the remaining Nibelungen. This is a most terrifyng sequence shot by Lang.
The movie is long (5 hours); although similar to the mith by Wagner, Lang employs a systematic sort of geometrical patterns, and the actors themselves behave typically like in a japanese Kabuki-style movie. A great, great performance by the MASTERS OF CINEMA series.
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on 25 September 2015
What a beautiful film.. so glad I brought it. Along with 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' (Dreyer) this is a great example of the power of silent movies. This edition has both films.. (nearly 5 hours) the first is a study of the Hero [Siegfried]: his triumphs, his betrayal, and his cowardly murder. The second follows the exacted vengence of his wife [Kriemhilds Rache].. honour amongst murderers avoiding justice, an unforgiving vengence that will destroy all that stand between her enacting justice. A classic retelling of the myth.
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on 7 September 2013
After buying Metropolis as an impulse buy and loving it, I thought I'd check out Fritz Langs epic fantasy/tragedy and loved it too! Although obviously a product of the technology of the day, the artistry transcends any limitations. Every shot is a masterclass in composition and the drama of both films is gripping. And this really is two separate films, although the cast is mostly the same, whereas the first is in the genre of fantasy with a dragon, dwarf treasure and a kind of invisibility cloak, the second has no fantasy elements and is really a historical revenge drama (if there is such a genre).
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on 21 July 2017
It says lot about Germans about their culture even when it is not obvilous it is and appology for World War One to domestic German audience. The makers dod for the time outstanding job . Great film. Inspiring topic not just for Wagner and Hitler
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