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Previously seen in the U.S. in a severely truncated form, Fritz Lang's elaborate superspy thriller is at last restored to its proper length. Rudolf Kleine-Rogge stars as Haghi, the head of an elaborate criminal empire, and Willy Fritsch is the undercover agent assigned to topple the diabolical king from his throne. Filled with the sexual intrigue and high-tech gadgetry that continue to define the genre, Spies remains remarkably contemporary, even 75 years after its premiere. This newly restored edition of Spies is composed oft he best surviving 35mm film elements, assembled from archives throughout the world. It is more than 50 minutes longer than any version previously released on video.
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Women are the central focus of Lang's films during the 1920's from Kriemhild in DIE NIBELUNGEN to Maria in METROPOLIS and Friede in WOMAN IN THE MOON thanks to scriptwriter Thea von Harbou (Lang's wife at the time) whose stories concentrate on the power of love to redeem or destroy. Sonja in SPIES is no exception. Everything revolves around her. Put all this together and you have a film that is as compelling today as it was 75 years ago.
Rudolf Klein-Rogge (the inventor from METROPOLIS) stars as Haghi, the head of a powerful criminal network whose specialties are blackmail and espionage. Trying to catch him is Agent 326 (Willy Fritsch) of the German State Police where no one has a name only a number. Things are complicated by Haghi's #1 spy Sonja Barranikowa (Gerda Maurus) who is great at obtaining secrets but is haunted by her past. How these characters interact and how the plot resolves itself is what makes SPIES so captivating. There's also a real doozy of an ending.
The restoration work is remarkable adding more than 50 minutes to previous existing versions and the picture quality is superb. Add Donald Sosin's new score and you have a real winner on your hands. Even if you don't know or don't like silent films you'll be entertained. And if you do like them then you can't afford to miss out on this new release from Kino.
An evil mastermind with a network of fanatical spies complete with secret hideout (HAHAHA), the only thing missing is a white cat on his lap.
Despite being around 90 years old (1920s) the story is compelling, the cast great and the stunts still impress.
If you cant stand silent films you may be put off but I love it.
Fritz Lang at his best,