Tartuffe

1925

Drama

144
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 79%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 1,676

Synopsis


Downloaded 7,373 times
March 31, 2019

Director

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
552.65 MB
1280*720
German
NR
23.976 fps
70 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.04 GB
1920×1080
German
NR
23.976 fps
70 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ackstasis 6 / 10 / 10

A minor Murnau work, but remains essential viewing

As I've discovered after relatively recent viewings of 'Nosferatu (1922),' 'The Last Laugh (1924)' and 'Faust (1926),' F.W. Murnau was one of the most exciting and influential European directors working during the 1920s. His contributions towards early German cinema are rivalled only by Fritz Lang, and his ability to use lighting and shadows to create atmosphere are almost unparalleled. 'Herr Tartüff / Tartuffe (1926)' was apparently forced upon Murnau by contractual obligations with Universum Film (UFA), and you suspect that perhaps his heart wasn't quite in it, but the end result nonetheless remains essential viewing, as are all the director's films. The story is based upon Molière's successful 1664 play, "Tartuffe," which explored the notion of hypocrisy, particularly among self-proclaimed religious "devotees." Murnau and screenwriter Carl Mayer stripped the story to its bare essentials, removing any extraneous supporting characters and creating a close-knit triangle – Herr Orgon, Frau Elmire and Tartüff – around which the story revolves. Murnau also added an interesting framing device, whereby the story of Tartuffe becomes a film-within-a-film that a young actor shows to his grandfather to warn of his housekeeper's evil intentions. Interestingly, I found the story's prologue – of the old man and his scheming housekeeper – to be a more engrossing story than the film that the characters are later shown. The conniving old woman (Rosa Valetti), with a devilish grin like a Cheshire Cat, manages to convince her senile employer (Hermann Picha) that his grandson has dishonoured the family name by becoming an actor, and so she sets herself up to inherit his entire fortune. When the sincere young actor (André Mattoni) finds out about this betrayal, he plans an ingenious stratagem to outwit the malicious housekeeper and convince his grandfather of her evil. Murnau was obviously a great believer in the power of cinema, and so it's no surprise that the young man chooses the cinematic medium with which to reveal the ultimate truth about hypocrites. The film, by employing a few deceptively simple shots, immediately translates the inner motivations driving each character: the housekeeper, greedy and malevolent, kicks aside her master's slippers, whereas the kind, loving grandson delicately sets them back into place. Also notable is a moment during the narrative when the young actor turns to the camera and addresses the audience directly, one of the earliest instances I've seen of a character "breaking the fourth wall." The tale of Tartuffe himself is also worth watching for its technical accomplishments, even if the story itself seems somewhat generic and uninteresting. Most astounding is Murnau's exceptional use of lighting {assisted, of course, by cinematographer Karl Freund}, and, in many cases, entire rooms are seemingly being illuminated only by candlelight. This story concerns a happily-married woman, Frau Elmire (Lil Dagover), who is distraught to discover that her beloved husband, Herr Orgon (Werner Krauss), has become obsessed with Tartüff (the great Emil Jannings), a grotesque little man who speaks with divine importance and claims to be a Saint. However hard she tries, Elmire cannot convince Orgon that he has been duped by a religious fraud, so great is the cunning of Tartüffe's deception. In the film, Jannings predictably gives the finest performance, playing the unsavoury title character with a mixture of sly arrogance and lustful repugnance. Nevertheless, the role falls far short of the silent actor's greatest performances, which include Mephisto of 'Faust (1926)' and the hotel porter from 'The Last Laugh (1924).'

Reviewed by MartinHafer 8 / 10 / 10

Another wonderful Murnau film

While this film does not have the amazing scenes with breathtaking cinematography like FAUST or SUNRISE, this Murnau film still does excel due to the camera-work and great care taken in its production. And, while not the very best silent film available, it's certainly among the better ones. This story differs from Molière's play in that the entire play is actually part of a larger story--with a prologue and epilogue. The story begins with a rich old man living alone with his supposedly devoted housekeeper. She has convinced the man that his grandson is evil and should be disinherited because he is, oh, horrors,...an ACTOR!!! Instead, she's fooled him into making her the beneficiary. When the grandson shows up to say hello, the old man chases him away and it appears the housekeeper has won. However, given that the young man is an actor, he dresses up as a traveling showman and comes to the house to show them a film--TARTUFFE. The film stars Emil Jannings as the evil priest, Tartuffe, who has fooled a rich nobleman into forsaking the pleasures of life and becoming an aesthetic, like him. But, the man's wife soon realizes the priest is a charlatan and much of the movie is spent trying to trap the priest in his lies. Naturally, all this is symbolic of the relationship between the housekeeper and the rich man. The sets, direction and acting are all excellent. The acting is rather restrained compared to some silent films and the story is told in a brisk and watchable manner.

Reviewed by OsbourneRuddock 8 / 10 / 10

Not his best, but still excellent by anyone else's standards.

Personally I think the other reviewers have been way too hard on this film, and I certainly don't agree that it is "extremely average", "throwaway" or "plain and forgettable". OK - it's not his best by a long shot, but Murnau was such a talented directer/artist that even his weaker films urinate all over the films of most other directors. I thought that the 'film within a film' structure of it worked brilliantly. The cast were all excellent in their acting. The film is pretty great visually too (as one would expect from Murnau) - the 'outer' film is shot in a crisp, modernist style, with adventurous camera angles and no make up, while the central 'film within a film' section was filmed in a more classical, soft-focus style. The film was also quite risky for it's time in its depiction of sexuality, and corruption within the clergy, and several scenes were censored for American audiences. The central theme of the film is hypocrisy, particularly with those who are overly pious, judgemental and puritanical. This is encapsulated in the words of Tartuffe when he admits: "Who sins in secret - does not sin". Murnau expertly exposes the true roots of fanatically pious behaviour - behind which lies its very opposite. This is very similar to what Freud termed 'reaction formation', whereby a character trait or impulse which one finds unbearable to oneself (the ego) is disguised and repressed by bringing a complete opposite tendency to the facade of ones personality - but this is always noticeable by its exaggeration. The Tartuffe character also indulges in another Freudian defence mechanism called 'projection', whereby one relieves the anxiety caused by an unwelcome trait by projecting it onto others. It's important to mention that this film also works brilliantly as a satire, and at times I found myself laughing out loud at the grotesque character of Tartuffe. In one scene the obedient Emile is seen rocking Tartuffe as he yawns and lazes in a hammock like a selfish baby. Yet despite the ridiculing, there is always a deep humane concern underlying the film - as there is with all of Murnau's films. So, like I said: this is not one of his best, but any Murnau film is worth seeing.

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