"You still don’t seem to know what I am capable of!"
Fritz Lang’s 1928 silent spy thriller “Spies” rarely gets brought up when people mention Lang and his filmography. Dwarfed by arguably two of his best made on either side of it – “Metropolis” and “M” – “Spies” was Lang’s first film outside the shell of Ufa, the German motion-picture company. It did well enough for itself, but not well enough to make a big mark in cinema. But if you watch it, you’ll see the birthplace for practically every spy movie trope that has been on screen since.
Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Fritz Lang series with “Spies.” We talk about the spy tropes found in this film and what they led to in later films. We chat about the pacing of the film and why the length of this one at its mostly restored length of 143 minutes may be a bit too slow. We discuss Lang, what he was like as a director, and how his approach worked in the production of this film. We discuss the actors, notably Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Willy Fritsch and Gerda Maurus, and what they each bring to the table. We also touch on the affair Lang had with Maurus during the production of this film. We discuss Fritz Arno Wagner, the DP, and his role here as well as in German cinema in this period. And we chat about some of the filmmaking techniques used here, which work, and which are clearly still being developed.
It’s a fun film, albeit a bit overlong, but definitely worth watching. Anyone interested in Lang’s filmography needs to see this one. So check it out then tune in!
- Watch this film: Amazon
- Original Opening
- Original poster artwork
- Movie Spies and their Cyanide Pills — Wired.com