Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Indian Tomb (1921)

Even though Americans embraced The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, they seemed a bit puzzled by this fanciful German-made melodrama. Three Oxford graduates -- Robert Allen (Paul Richter), Carl Langland (Olaf Fonss) and Indian Prince Ayan (Conrad Veidt) -- pledge to remain devoted to one another. It doesn't take long for the oath to be broken, as the prince believes that his wife, Princess Savitri (Erma Morini), has been unfaithful with Allen. He decides to bury his wife alive and has Yogi Ramigami (Berhard Goetze) travel to England to fetch Langland. But when he orders his old pal to build him a tomb, he refuses. The prince holds him prisoner, and his fiancee, Laura Valmy (Mia May), comes looking for him. She too is captured and Ayan, with Ramigami's help, subjects all of them -- Langland, Allen and Laura -- to cruel torture. Finally Langland tries to rescue Savitri from the prince's troops by carrying her across a suspension bridge, but she sacrifices herself by cutting the bridge's ropes and falling to her death. Meanwhile, the prince renounces his religion, damning him to a fate worse than death. ~ Janiss Garza, All Movie Guide

Running Time: 212 mins
The Indian Tomb (1921)
Yes, this is close to the longest film I have ever watched. Greed was restored to 239 minutes. Unlike Greed, this film seemed to do a lot of flashbacks with the same film stock. Kind of a waste of time for the viewer. We already know what went on before. None of the scenes replayed seemed to be exceptional anyway and just leads the viewer to get confused as to how the scenes had changed.

Even in B/W the sets were magnificent with lots of scenic shots also. The bridge was scary at how much it sagged in the middle.
The part about:but she sacrifices herself by cutting the bridge's ropes and falling to her death. The reviewer has it wrong. Laura cuts the rope on the oncoming side and then Savitri sacrifices herself by just jumping into the cavern when the Prince holds Laura hostage. And says before she jumps to her death: "No more innocent victims! I will atone!"

Since the film was so long I guess this was the reason for no special effects and not even a title page just scene selection comes up for menu.

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