Directed by: Fritz Lang
Countries & Regions: Germany
Length: 143 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 18 April 2005
Cat No: EKA40087
Subtitles: German, English
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Spione (Masters of Cinema)
Classic thriller from acclaimed director Fritz Lang. Rudolf-Klein-Rogge plays Haghi, the leader of an international spy ring. Haghi leads... Read More
Fritz Lang’s long association with Ufa, Germany’s most powerful studio, began shortly after the First World War. It produced some of the finest films made anywhere in the world during the silent era, including Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (1922), Die Nibelungen (1924), and Metropolis (1927). One of the best of these is Spione (Spies, 1928), arguably one of the finest genre pictures of the 1920s.
Rudolf Klein-Rogge, who had portrayed Lang’s most famous criminal mastermind, Dr. Mabuse, as well as Rotwang, the mad scientist of Metropolis, stars as Haghi, the power-crazed Napoleon of crime whose network of superspies stretches throughout the world, and who hides behind the façade of a wheelchair-bound bank president. The most dangerous man in Europe, Haghi in fact leads a triple life, for he also masquerades as Nemo the music-hall Clown. Co-starring in this diabolical tale of espionage, counterespionage, world domination, treason, and treachery are Willy Fritsch as No. 326, the secret serviceman out to capture Haghi, Gerda Maurus as Sonia, the ace spy sent to eliminate No. 326, Lien Deyers as Kitty, Fritz Rasp as Colonel Jellusic and Lupu Pick as Dr. Masimoto, a Japanese diplomat and spy-master.
All the inventive pyrotechnics and Expressionist touches that Lang had used in Metropolis are deployed to sensational effect by cinematographer Fritz Arno Wagner in this exercise in intrigue and mayhem that features robbery, extortion, explosions, and assassinations. The spectacular train-wreck-in-a-tunnel sequence marks Spione as one of the most frenetic espionage epics ever made, as well as a forerunner of Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers.
Fritz Lang’s Spione isn’t as famous as Metropolis, but it should be. As Lang biographer Patrick McGilligan has written, “the suspense and furioso strokes never flag.”