Silent Film - Variete

It Began in Berlin – at the Carnival

April 4, 2012 - Leave a Comment

Hello! So, these things must start somewhere, (things being this blog)and this is as good a time and place as anywhere. And so:

It Began In Berlin - At the Carnival

“It Began in Berlin – at the Carnival – “
Intertitle screen capture from Variété (1925)
Lya De Putti & Warwick Ward in Variete, 1925Flying Trapeze scene from Variete, 1925

I had the good fortune the other night of catching Varieté, the last film showing at the Toronto Silent Film Festival this year. Starring Emil Jannings (known for his roles in Murnau’s The Last Laugh and of course in The Blue Angel starring opposite Marlene Dietrich) Lya de Putti, Warwick Ward, and Maly Delschaft.

The film was fantastic, with striking camera techniques that recreated the dizzying heights experienced by the Aerialists. All the more enhanced by the live musical interpretation of Laura Silberberg.

Below is a brief video with scenes from Varieté and commentary by Kristin Thompson.

 If you have a chance to catch this playing anywhere, especially with live accompiant, do so! By all accounts Varieté is one of the last great German expressionist films made.

The Trapeze scenes in particular are fascinating to watch and were actually filmed at the  Berlin Wintergarten Theatre, the original building however was destroyed in 1944 bombings of the city, later to be rebuilt.