Well, this was clearly meant to be. Fritz Lang’s groundbreaking allegorical fantasy Der Müde Tod (1921) is getting a theatrical release in the UK and Ireland along with a DVD/Blu-ray edition:
Eureka Entertainment have announced the theatrical release of DER MÜDE TOD (aka Destiny), Fritz Lang’s visually ambitious, cinematic allegory starring Lil Dagover and Bernhard Goetzke, in cinemas nationwide (UK & Ireland) and Digital HD from 9 June 2017.
Talking to Françcois Truffaut many years later, Alfred Hitchcock recalled that when he saw Der Müde Tod it made a “special impression” on him. He will have seen it un 1924 under its British release name Destiny, at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London. I wonder if we will have a chance to see it in the same venue?
What you really want to know is that the film will be presented in a gorgeous new digital restoration, preserving the original colour tinting and toning, and with a newly composed orchestral score by Cornelius Schwehr. No doubt that last detail is a small disappointment to those of us who have heard Stephen Horne’s nuanced score for this unusual film. But time will tell …
A young woman (Lil Dagover) confronts the personification of Death (Bernhard Goetzke), in an effort to save the life of her fiancé (Walter Janssen). Death weaves three romantic tragedies and offers to unite the girl with her lover, if she can prevent the death of the lovers in at least one of the episodes. Thus begin three exotic scenarios of ill-fated love, in which the woman must somehow reverse the course of destiny: Persia, Quattrocento Venice, and a fancifully rendered ancient China.
Rich in expressionist imagery and featuring innovative special effects work, Der müde Tod has often been overlooked amongst Lang’s early work, but has been hugely influential, with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel citing it as a direct influence on their work. Now in 2017, in a new restoration by Anke Wilkening on behalf of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, this definitive presentation of Der müde Tod preserves the original German intertitles and simulates the historic colour tinting and toning of its initial release, and is accompanied by a newly-composed score by Cornelius Schwehr as a commissioned composition by ZDF / ARTE which was originally performed by the 70-member Berlin Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Frank Strobel, at Berlinale 2016.
- The film will be released theatrical and to stream on 9 June, and on DVD and Blu-ray in 17 June 2017.