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Faust Blu-ray Review

FaustDirector: F.W. Murnau

Starring: Gosta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn, Frida Richard

Running Time: 107 minutes

Certificate: PG

Extras: Audio Commentary with David Ehrenstein and Bill Krohn, Discussion with Tony Rayns

The most marvelous thing about revisiting films of the silent era is that you are exposed to films where the visuals take precedent and yet character and plot are not sacrificed. FAUST, one of the many classics from NOSFERATU director F.W. Murnau, takes the famous German folktale and presents it as spectacle and really pushes the boundaries of what films were capable of.

The story sees a demon, Mephisto (Jannings), wager that he can corrupt the soul of a mortal, Faust (Ekman). From there, the film looks at the hardships of humans and whether faith is possible in the darkest of times. Murnau does an excellent job of visualising temptation, whether it be for love or youth, and this stirring adaptation forever makes us feel for the tempted protagonist.

Ekman offers a subtle performance and captures the fragility of age and then the excitement and passion of youth. Jannings on the other hand is a delightful demon with exaggerated facial expressions making the most of his sneers and raised eyebrows. The fact their performances stand out is even more exceptional given the quality of the special effects. Demons and angels come to life and swarm over cities, while puppets are used to create ghostly apparitions in the sky. These practical effects still hold up today and along with the gorgeous lighting that moves us from gothic streets to brighter and more hopeful locales, the film remains an undeniable classic.

This Blu-ray/DVD double play from The Masters Of Cinema range has the 1995 Timothy Brock score which adds a phenomenal power to the entire film. There’s also the option for the more serene but exquisitely beautiful Stan Ambrose harp score. The set also includes both the original domestic cut and exported version of the film, the latter using completely different takes and shots, all of which are documented in the comparison between the two versions. The commentary is, as always with The Masters Of Cinema, highly informative and well researched. This is a must for any fans of Murnau, silent cinema, and German expressionism.

[usr=5]FAUST is released on DVD and Blu-ray double play from 18th August.

Luke likes many things, films and penguins being among them. He's loved films since the age of 9, when STARGATE and BATMAN FOREVER changed the landscape of modern cinema as we know it. His love of film extends to all aspects of his life, with trips abroad being planned around film locations and only buying products featured in Will Smith movies. His favourite films include SEVEN SAMURAI, PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, IN BRUGES, LONE STAR, GODZILLA, and a thousand others.

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