The Loves of Pharaoh

The Loves of Pharaoh is a 1922 German spectacle film, about a cruel ruler who falls in love and loses his Kingdom. The film features really quite impressive sets, large well managed crowds, and an ever charismatic Emil Jannings. Which easily helps you overlook the plot holes you can drive a truck through.

Emil Janning really carries away the whole film. Particularly towards the very end, when he is begging for death, or grasping towards his throne. His operatic performance style is quite fitting for the story (the plot is similar to Aida), and shows off some of the very interesting things that could be done with silent film that would be difficult to do today.

If you are unfamiliar with Janning’s performance style, I recommend seeing The Blue Angel. Right away. The film is an excellent introduction to Emil Jannings, later German expressionist film making, and late Weimar Germany. Not to mention it stars a very young and very pretty Marlene Dietrich, and is simply an exceptional film.

(I saw this film at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival)

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