Fritz Lang

T. it.: L’inafferrabile; Scen.: Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou; F.: Fritz Arno Wagner; Scgf.: Otto Hunte, Karl Vollbrecht; Int.: Rudolph Klein-Rogge (Haighi), Gerda Maurus (Sonja), Willy Fritsch (investigatore), Lupu Pick (Masimoto), Fritz Rasp (Ivan Stepanov), Lien Deyers (Kitty), Craighall Sherry (Burton Jason), Julius Falkenstein (direttore d’hotel), Georg John (capotreno), Paul Rehkopf (Strolch), Paul Hörbiger (cameriere), Louis Ralph (Hans Morriera), Hermann Vallentin, Grete Berger, Hertha von Walther; Prod.: Fritz Lang per Film G.M.B.H. – Ufa 35mm. L.: 4364 m. D.: 191’ a 20 f/s. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The mastermind is playing cat’s cradle with a string of pearls and the beautiful spy crosses her legs, just as the diplomat (in another part of the city) is completing his ritual suicide. Soon the sliding panels in the wall will open, the mastermind will roll forward in his wheelchair, the express train will begin its fatal journey into the tunnel, the dance band will strike up its last tune before disa- ster strikes, the clown will prepare to blow his brain out. It’s the same movie again – Fritz Lang’s Spies – and it feels as if I’ve been watching it all my life, a prolonged viewing occasionally interrupted by bouts of exposure to the external world. No matter which episode is up I’m at home, a familiarity that may have something to do with Spies having served for at least half the movies ever made. Among each of Lang’s meticulous images hover the wispy presences of movies yet unmade: there’s the bullet-in-the-book motif from The 39 Steps, there are the gangsters in masks from Armored Car Robbery, there’s Shan- ghai Lily, there’s Mysterious Dr. Satan, there’s James Bond’s comically irascible supervisor M, all of them travelling the networks corridors and rails and superhigways that stretch from Alphaville to Gotham City.

Geoffrey O’Brien, Film Comment, July-August 1995

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