on the Internet Movie Database
part Goethe and part Marlowe, shot through with Murnau. It
features an international cast, with a Swedish Faust and a
German Mephisto, Emil Jannings.
The film begins
with the forces of the prince of darkness riding across the sky.
The prince of peace, a flaming-haired angel with enormous wings,
wagers the world with the prince of darkness, Mephisto. The
locus of the wager is Faust, an alchemist, a scholar. Mephisto
covers Faust's city with a dark cloud of plague, and in his
frustration over his inability to heal his fellow citizens,
Faust hurls his books into the fire and calls upon the
assistance of the prince of darkness. Jannings' portrayal of
Mephisto, particularly his giant form looming over Faust's city,
was the inspiration for the "Night on Bald Mountain"
sequence in Walt Disney's Fantasia.
Robert K. Klepper
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe's (1749-1832) Faust legend was filmed
a minimum of fifteen times during the silent era -- in 1902,
1904, 1907, 1909, three times in 1910; 1911, 1921, 1922, 1923,
1926, and 1927. The legend was filmed under the title of Faust
and Marguerite in 1900, 1904, and 1911. It appeared
under the title of Faust and Mephistopheles in 1898.
Faust and the Lily was filmed in 1913. Faust in Hell was
filmed in 1903. This 1926 silent version, which is an adaptation
of Faust Part I, remains the definitive motion picture
version of the legendary tale.
FAUST - A German Tale
In the hope of achieving a large share of the world market, Ufa
endeavored to bring together an international cast for Faust.
The studio achieved its goal in part. Emil Jannings was cast as
Mephisto; Gösta Ekman, a Swede, played Faust; and Yvette
Guilbert of France took the comic role of Martha. When the
American actress Lillian Gish declined Ufa's invitation to play
Gretchen, having insisted that Charles Rosher accompany her to
Germany to photograph the film, the studio accepted Murnau's
choice of Camilla Horn, a German, who had never appeared in
by F.W. Murnau
This film's opening scenes present the most remarkable and
gripping elements created by German chiaroscuro. They take your
breath away- the chaotic density of the first images, the light
born out of the fog, the rays crossing the opaque air, this
fugue visually orchestrated as though by organs resonating in
the sky's vast expanse...