Sog.: Henrik Galeen. Scen.: Henrik Galeen; F.: Helmar Lerski; Scgf.: Paul Leni; Co.: Ernest Stern; Ass. regia: Wilhelm Dieterle; Int.: Emil Jannings (Harun al Raschid), Conrad Veidt (Ivan il terribile), Werner Krauß (Jack lo squartatore), Wilhelm Dieterle (il poeta/Assad il pasticciere/un principe russo), Olga Belajeff (Eva/Maimune/una boiarda), John Gottow (proprietario del Panoptikum), Paul Biensfeld (Visir), Ernst Legal, Georg John. Prod.: Neptun-Film AG, Berlino per Ufa; Pri. pro.: 13 novembre 1924
35mm L.: 1721 m. D.: 75′ a 20 f/s
The film is mostly celebrated for Leni’s particular directing: each episode was conceived of with a style pertaining to its subject. The wide, round forms match the acting and the movements of the actors in the Oriental episode (Emil Jannings plays a sultan). The gloomy, oppressive atmosphere of the Russian episode was created with set designs that contrast with the ascetic silhouette of Conrad Veidt acting as Ivan. And last, the misty surroundings, geometric figures with sharp angles, the ghostly lighting all provide the setting for the escape from Jack the Ripper, with a final meeting in a deserted square. There is total uniformity between form and content. The last episode may be considered a key scene for all films of this genre. A confused and useless attempt to escape from terror, social anxiety (…) It has rarely been depicted as effectively as in this film. But we witness, despite it all, the reawakening, the return to everyday life. Especially for this reason, this film is the height of expressionism and marks the transition towards realism.