The Student of Prague (1926 film)
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|The Student of Prague|
A 1926 promotional film poster
|Directed by||Henrik Galeen|
|Written by||Hanns Heinz Ewers
Elizza La Porta
The Student of Prague (German: Der Student von Prag) is a 1926 Expressionist silent film by actor and filmmaker Henrik Galeen. The film is a remake of The Student of Prague (1913), and is considered as Galeen's most important film since The Golem (1915) and is regarded as his magnum opus. The film draws heavily on the Faust legend and could be viewed as a reworking of that story.
The film crew involved some famous names: designer Hermann Warm; Günther Krampf, cinematographer; and the actors Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Dagny Servaes, Leni Riefenstahl and Elizza La Porta. Der Student von Prag made La Porta a well-known actress.
The film is set in the year 1820 and centers around a student at a university in Prague, Balduin. At a student-led outing to a country inn, Balduin encounters the figure Scapinelli who offers him money "for very low interest." Balduin believes him to be a loan shark and ignores him to go engage in a fencing match with another student. After the match, the viewer sees Scapinelli on a cliffside, watching a young woman (later revealed to be Margit, the daughter of a count) on horseback who is participating in a fox-hunt. He manipulates the situation such that the animals run amok and head towards the inn. Balduin sees Margit on the horse and catches her when she falls off. As a reward, he receives an invitation to her father's house, Count Schwarzenberg. There he becomes aware of his own poverty in comparison to Margit's fiance, who is a baron. Later that night, Scapinelli again comes for Balduin and makes an offer. Balduin signs a contract stipulating that Scapinelli can have anything in the room he wants in return for 600,000 florin. Balduin signs and Scapinelli takes out a small bag and proceeds to pour the entirety of the 600,000 onto the table. Scapinelli then takes his part: Balduin's reflection.
The scene then shifts to show the new lifestyle that Balduin is leading with his newfound fortune. His happiness does not last long, because his reflection, free of the mirror, runs amok, causing havoc around town, which is blamed on Balduin. Balduin, in his final confrontation, shoots his reflection. This results in his own death. The movie closes as it opens: with a shot of Balduin's grave, upon which is inscribed "Here lies Balduin. He fought the devil and lost".
- Conrad Veidt: Balduin, The Student
- Werner Krauss: Scapinelli
- Elizza La Porta: Lyduschka, a flowergirl
- Agnes Esterhazy: Margit von Schwarzenberg
- Fritz Alberti: Count of Schwarzenberg, Margit's Vater
- Ferdinand von Alten: Baron of Waldis, Margit's fiance
- Erich Kober: Student
- Max Maximilian: Student
- Sylvia Torf
- Marian Alma
- Leni Riefenstahl (1987). Leni Riefenstahl: A Memoir. Albrecht Knaus Verlag. p. 61. ISBN 0-312-11926-7. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
His [Riefenstahl] best-known films were The Golem with Paul Wegener and the The Student from Prague with Dagny Servaes, Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt, all of them artists of stature.
- Courtade, Francis (1984). Cinéma Expressionniste (in French) (1st ed.). Paris: Henry Veyrier. ISBN 2-85199-334-8.
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