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Emil Jannings, Lya De Putti, Warwick Ward, Maly Delschaft
E.A. Dupont
Felix Hollaender (Novel), E.A. Dupont (Scenario)
95 Mins.
Eureka Entertainment

 "Variete" Gets Masters of Cinema Treatment 
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E.A. Dupont's Variete', considered a masterwork of German silent cinema of the 1920s, is a remarkable and audacious revenge melodrama set under the big top that proved to be wildly popular upon its release in no small part due to the almost maniacal performance of Emil Jannings as Boss Huller, a trapeze artist whose career has been stalled due to an injury and the pressures of domestic life. Upon meeting the young Berta-Marie (Lya De Putti), he is inspired to begin his career anew and his commitment quickly turns into an out of control passion. 

Variete', also known under the title Variety, is a visually astonishing film that accomplishes things with the camera considered rather remarkable during the 1920s. The film's cinematography is matched by the dizzying performance of Jannings, whose career was marked by such fierce and intense performances. 

Variete' is an ideal film to receive the Masters of Cinema treatment from Eureka Entertainment and the packaging is certainly not a disappointment. It includes:

  • New 2015 high-definition digital restoration by the FWMS
  • A selection of three scores, from Stephen Horne, Johannes Contag and The Tiger Lillies
  • PCM audio on the Blu-ray
  • Optional English subtitles for the German intertitles
  • The complete American version of the film
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new writing on the film and archival images

The film is available in a 2-disc, dual format edition and should be considered a "must have" for fans of the silent film era or simply fans of German cinema. While Dupont may be a tad lesser known for most American moviegoers, his work was both groundbreaking and, especially in this case, rather controversial. 

While Jannings gives the most dramatic performance here, supporting players Lya De Putti and Warwick Ward, an English actor, are similarly impressive. Considered a "German Masterpiece" by the New York Times when it was originally reviewed in 1926, the film has long been available in different versions given the great diversity of censorship laws across the country in the 1920s. 

There is so much more that could be said about Variete', though to give it all away would be unjust. In virtually every way, this is a film to be experienced and despite the technological advances of contemporary cinema this remains a vivid and powerful film to this day. For more information on Variete', visit the Eureka Entertainment website linked to in the credits.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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