Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge

1924 [GERMAN]

Adventure / Drama / Fantasy

IMDb Rating 7.9 10 4036

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 31, 2021 at 05:30 AM



720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.17 GB
German 2.0
22 fps
2 hr 11 min
P/S 2 / 5
2.42 GB
German 5.1
22 fps
2 hr 11 min
P/S 2 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Steffi_P 8 / 10

"Oh sister, what you have wrought!"

Please see also my comment on Die Nibelungen part 1: Siegfried.

The second part of UFA studio's gargantuan production of the Nibelungen saga continues in the stylised, symphonic and emotionally detached manner of its predecessor. However, whereas part one was a passionless portrayal of individual acts of heroism, part two is a chaotic depiction of bloodletting on a grand scale.

As in part one, director Fritz Lang maintains a continuous dynamic rhythm, with the pace of the action and the complexity of the shot composition rising and falling smoothly as the tone of each scene demands. These pictures should only be watched with the note-perfect Gottfried Huppertz score, which fortunately is on the Kino DVD. Now, with this focus on mass action, Lang is presented with greater challenges in staging. The action sequences in his earliest features were often badly constructed, but now he simply makes them part of that rhythmic flow, with the level of activity on the screen swelling up like an orchestra.

But just as part one made us witness Siegfried's adventures matter-of-factly and without excitement, part two presents warfare as devastating tragedy. In both pictures, there is a deliberate lack of emotional connection with the characters. That's why Lang mostly keeps the camera outside of the action, never allowing us to feel as if we are there (and this is significant because involving the audience is normally a distinction of Lang's work). That's also why the performances are unnaturally theatrical, with the actors lurching around like constipated sleepwalkers.

Nevertheless, Kriemhild's revenge does constantly deal with emotions, and is in fact profoundly humanist. The one moment of naturalism is when Atilla holds his baby son for the first time, and Lang actually emphasises the tenderness of this scene by building up to it with the wild, frantic ride of the huns. The point is that Lang never manipulates us into taking sides, and in that respect this version has more in common with the original saga than the Wagner opera. The climactic slaughter is the very antithesis of a rousing battle scene. Why then did Hitler and co. get so teary-eyed over it, a fact which has unfairly tarnished the reputation of these films? Because the unwavering racial ideology of the Nazis made them automatically view the Nibelungs as the good guys, even if they do kill babies and betray their own kin. For Hitler, their downfall would always be a nationalist tragedy, not a human one.

But for us non-nazi viewers, what makes this picture enjoyable is its beautiful sense of pageantry and musical rhythm. When you see these fully-developed silent pictures of Lang's, it makes you realise how much he was wasted in Hollywood. Rather than saddling him with low-budget potboilers, they should have put him to work on a few of those sword-and-sandal epics, pictures that do not have to be believable and do not have to move us emotionally, where it's the poetic, operatic tonality that sweeps us along.

Reviewed by manuelu 10 / 10

Revenge on an operatic scale

This film portrays revenge on an operatic scale. But do not confuse with Wagner's opera Das Ring des Nibelungen. Although both the film and Wagner's opera are based on related Norse and Icelandic sagas, Wagner devotes attention to Brünnhilde's reaction to the death of Siegfried rather than on Siegfried's widow Gutrune's (i.e. Kriemhilde's) reaction to the murder of the hero. Both the film and the opera are romantic in style. But unlike the 19th century opera, the film has elements of early 20th-century German expressionism. Everything about this film is perfect. The acting is over the top, as it needs to be. The sets are sublime. The crowd scenes are powerful. Imagine a film where the heroine makes Attlla the Hun (Etzel) seem like a reasonable, sympathetic host.

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 8 / 10

a double bill of Die Nibelungen: Siegfried and Kriemhild's Revenge

At the age of 34, Fritz Lang astonished the world with his grandiose silent adaptation of THE SONG OF THE NIBELUNGS, a monumental poem written around AD 1200, is extolled as the pioneer of epic cinema, divided into two parts, each comprises 7 cantos and runs over 2 hours in their integral restored versions, it is an awestruck experience to behold early cinema's most enterprising saga compounded heroism and romance with deception, jealousy, undiminished hatred and bloodletting revenge.

The first part SIEGFRIED starts as a myth-abounded adventure of our hero Siegfried (Richter), who masters the art of sword-forging and is misguided to a dangerous route to win the heart of Kriemhild (Schön), the princess of Burgundy, en route he slays a dragon (a prototype puppet model looks formidable but moves too ungainly to call it as a monster) and acquires the invincibility from bathing in its blood (save for one spot, his Achilles heel); defeats Alberich (John), king of the dwarfs, takes possession of a magic net powered with invisibility and transformation, as well as the Nibelungs treasure. Sequently, a quid pro quo is achieved between Siegfried and King Gunther (Loos), Kriemhild's brother, Siegfried uses his mighty strength and the little help of his invincibility, to help Gunther conquers Brunhild (Ralph), the powerful queen of Iceland, in a threefold strength competition, and we are pleasantly to see a double-wedding, Gunther and Brunhild, Siegfried and Kriemhild. This is where the surreal side of the tale reaches its crest with Lang's groundbreaking cinematic wizardry.

From then on, an inauspicious plot of Greek tragedy looms large, our hero will unwittingly succumb to his demise owing to the coalescence of a pompous queen's vengeful lie, a weak king's low self- esteem and blind enviousness, and a wide-eyed wife's inconceivable gullibility, the first half of the tale finishes with a big bang of pathos.

In KRIEMHILD'S REVENGE, the fantasy element has been completely abandoned, it focuses on Kriemhild's iron-willed commitment to avenge Siegfried, she agrees to marry the Hunnish King Etzel (Klein-Rogge), and gives birth to a boy, then invites Gunther and co. to celebrate summer solstice in King Etzel's hall, meanwhile secretly plots the ultimate revenge on Hagen of Tronje (Schlettow), Gunther's adviser who personally sets up the ambush and dispatches Siegfried. In sharping contrast between Burgundian's fantastically make-believe Celtic fashion and Huns' barbarian style with grotesque garments and unsightly makeup, a tangy whiff of racial supremacy is self-evident, King Etzel is dutifully portrayed as a weakling, wailing over his infant son, but cannot fight in the front-line, a shocking contradiction to his savage appearance. The battle is elongated in spite of the multitude of Huns, Gunther and his brothers refuse to give up on Hagen in exchange of their lives, subconsciously they are all guilty for the conspiracy, they are willing to fight until the last man standing. Besieged in the king's hall, the remaining Burgundians will face their doom in a staggering conflagration, tremendous manpower has been deployed for the arduous ending, no wonder it was such a mammoth sensation when it came out!

In retrospective, these two films are par excellence in its imposing production design and advanced special effect grandeur, Huppertz's guiding score is a masterwork of its own vitality, yet, the laggard pace can unfortunately hold many contemporary audience at bay, which cannot be rescued for the archaic and stilted performance, although Margarete Schön is excellent in the second part where her facial expressions fully take charge in the lengthy narrative. Among Fritz Lang's superlative filmography, a defining note is that DIE NIBELUNGEN saga opportunely prefigures his most stylish endeavour METROPOLIS (1927), and his most well-grounded masterpiece M (1931), while its own heritage should also be set in stone, even just for historical reasons.

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