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Sappho 1921 /  Backstairs 1921

Sappho 1921 / Backstairs 1921

[DVD]
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DVD 
List Price: $19.95
Price: $14.11
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Product Notes

Two great examples of classic German Cinema, two lovely female leads. Pola Nedgri in SAPPHO and Henny Porten in BACKSTAIRS (a.k.a. Hintertreppe) Pola Negri's Sappho is a rare, largely unseen film that has been restored with it's original tints and released on video for the first time ever, complete with a devastating orchestral score. The story is an ornate, contemporary costume drama about a notorious vamp whose long run of using men is brought to an abrupt halt when she meets the love of her life. However, the ghosts of her past haunt the new relationship, including the fact that she has previously driven her new beau's brother insane. (The lunatic brother is played by Alfred Abel, best known today for his role as Fredersen, the aristocratic lord of Metropolis [1927]). Sappho showcases Negri in many roles-a mother, a bride, a heartless socialite, a devoted lover-and each role she plays is completely and thoroughly believable. Her stare down of a former lover when he brandishes a gun jumps off of the screen; her silent scream at the film's end is so potent that it seems audible. The film itself was censored when it first reached American shores, and was only released in an altered version called Mad Love; this is the original, uncensored European version. 82 Minutes Meanwhile, Henny Porten's Backstairs (aka Hintertreppe) is one of the earliest attempts at reproducing a pioneering and revolutionary genre of German theatre called "intimate theatre" (kammerspiel). This purposefully minimalistic film seized the imaginations of film critics, and helped pioneer a small but very influential subgenre of German film called the kammerspielfilm; this film style would come to a greater fruition in F. W. Murnau's Sunrise (1927) and Hedy Lamarr's breakthrough film Ecstasy (1933), for example. Henny Porten's career correlates to that of America's Mary Pickford in many ways, except that Porten came off as a sexy mother figure, whereas Pickford was a sexy daughter figure. It should be of no surprise that Porten played many matronly characters in German movies, including an appearance as Mary, mother of Jesus, in the recently rediscovered 1924 German epic I.N.R.I. Most of Porten's films are difficult to find and few were released in America, so this is a rare opportunity to watch her in top form. 50 Minutes.

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    Details

    Title: Sappho 1921 / Backstairs 1921
    Genre: Drama-Classics
    Starring: Pola Negri, Henny Porten
    Director: Paul Leni
    Release Date: 5/29/2012
    Original Year: 1921
    Product Type: DVD
    Rated: NR
    Catalog #: 4500
    UPC: 753182254500
    Item #: 294684X

    Technical Information

    Street Date: 5/29/2012
    Closed Caption: No
    Studio: Grapevine Video

    Credits