Journey Into Night And Phantom

Two of the earliest surviving works by F.W. Murnau, one of the giants of 1920s cinema, both presented in beautiful restorations carried out by Enno Patalas, former director of the Munich Film Archive. Journey Into Night (1920) is Murnau’s sixth feature but the earliest to survive; I’ve seen this melodrama only in incomplete form, but even in that condition it prefigures Nosferatu (1922) in many ways. Phantom is more interesting; made the same year as Nosferatu, it’s like an anthology of tropes illustrating the tradition of the German romantic novel. One insanely irrational and beautiful image, of a motorcyclist spinning over the heads of characters in a nightclub, anticipates the complex rendering of mental states in Murnau’s Sunrise. (JR)

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