DVD Review: Spione (Masters of Cinema)

Fritz Lang was the leading light of German expressionist cinema. His most successful period of film making was in Germany under the Weimar Republic. During this period he made such classics as Metropolis, M and Dr.Mabuse the Gambler. His pioneering vision has influenced many who followed and he continued making films after he’d emigrated to America. Spione (Spies) was released in 1928 and became his first independent production.

When a beautiful Russian spy, Sonja Baranikowa (Gerda Maurus), seduces Colonel Jellusic (Fritz Rasp) into betraying his country, a young Secret Service agent known only as Number 326 (Willy Fritsch) is charged with tracking down her employer, Haghi (Rudolf Klein-Rogge). Haghi, despite posing as a respectable banker, is the head of an influential espionage organisation. However, when 326 and Sonja fall in love, all Haghi’s devilish plans are put at risk.

Lang is clearly revelling in his new found freedom, and whilst Spione is an impressive thriller which is decades ahead of its time, it can sometimes be difficult to follow. There’s so much going on and he fills every scene with abstractions and uncanny images. However, concentrate carefully and you’ll be rewarded with one of Lang’s best films. Spione is pioneering and daring, with a plot full of twists and turns, as well as being liberally laced with tension.


New high-definition 1080p presentation of the film on the Blu-ray
Original German intertitles with optional English subtitles
69-minute documentary on the film
40-page booklet including new and exclusive writing by critic Murielle Joudet and an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Spione is released on Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD and is released by Eureka as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on November 24.

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