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Secrets of a Soul


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Product Details

  • Actors: Werner Krauss
  • Directors: G.W. Pabst
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00113ALKY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,525 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

A Psychoanalytic Thriller Restored by the Munich Film Museum and the F.W. Murnau Foundation. In the 1920s, film studios around the world sought to capitalize on the public s curiosity about the newborn science of psychoanalysis. In 1925, Hans Neumann (of Ufa s Kulturfilm office) contacted members of Sigmund Freud s inner circle with a plan to make a dramatic film that explores the mystifying process of the interpretation of dreams. With the help of noted psychologists Karl Abraham and Hanns Sachs, and under the direction of G.W. Pabst (Pandora s Box), SECRETS OF A SOUL was completed. Werner Krauss, who had played the deranged Dr. Caligari six years earlier, stars as a scientist who is tormented by an irrational fear of knives and the irresistible compulsion to murder his wife. Driven to the brink of madness by fantastic nightmares (designed by Ernö Metzner and photographed by Guido Seeber in a brilliant mix of expressionism and surrealism), he encounters a psychoanalyst who offers to treat the perplexing malady.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Chip Kaufmann on March 16, 2008
Format: DVD
There are many people who consider G.W. Pabst to be the finest director of German silent cinema. I am not one of them. I find his movies to be poorly paced and lacking in visual interest. They are kept afloat by their adult subject matter and by the performances of his female stars (Greta Garbo in THE JOYLESS STREET, Edith Jehanne and Brigitte Helm in THE LOVE OF JEANNE NEY, and of course Louise Brooks in PANDORA'S BOX and DIARY OF A LOST GIRL). A prime example of this is THE WHITE HELL OF PILZ PAULU co- directed by Pabst and Arnold Fanck and starring Leni Riefenstahl. Compare the dramatic scenes with the rest of the film and I think you'll see my point which brings me to SECRETS OF A SOUL.

This was Pabst's follow-up to the highly successful JOYLESS STREET (1925). The subject matter and the film's raison d'etre is the "new" subject of psychoanalysis. The breakdown of the protagonist and the fascinatng dream sequences (designed by Erno Metzner) are true to the film's Expressionist roots while the unfolding analysis of his problems are still of interest to a modern audience. There is also an amazing central performance from Werner Krauss as the patient undergoing analysis that really holds the movie together.

Krauss may be the finest German performer from that time period. He has a greater range than Emil Jannings and is less stylized than Conrad Veidt. Unfortunately very little of his work survives and his most famous role (CABINET OF DR CALIGARI) doesn't do him justice. This film does. Also check out his Iago in the 1922 version of OTHELLO and Orgon in the 1925 TARTUFFE (both opposite Jannings). SECRETS OF A SOUL is part of the new Kino set GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM which contains 3 other films (CABINET OF DR CALIGARI, WARNING SHADOWS, and THE HANDS OF ORLAC). All of these films can be obtained seperately although if you don't have the others I highly recommend the set.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Underwood on March 15, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having read that "Secrets of a Soul" is a product of the German Ufa's 'culture film' branch aimed at educating the more high-brow and intellectual audience during the 1920s, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised when I began watching. The opening scenes already firmly grabbed my attention as a normal domestic scene is shattered by news of a murder in a neighbouring house. When the husband goes to work shortly thereafter and hears that the neighbour was killed with a razor, he experiences a chain of events resulting in a sudden phobia of knives, including normal cutlery. This is preceded by a vivid and disturbing dream which is impressively depicted using styles and techniques unique to the German Expressionist genre of the 1920s. The rest of the film uses a variety of camera techniques to tell the story in a more realistic way so that the viewer can easily relate to the man with the phobia who feels he is going crazy. In fact, the entire film unfolds like a normal drama, and it is only in the latter half when the desperate man seeks help from a psychoanalyst that it begins to feel like the viewer is being educated while also being entertained. Ufa's producers were quite deliberate in this because Sigmund Freud's theories and treatments of psychological illness had just emerged on the world scene and were drawing a lot of interest and curiosity. The producers even wanted Freud's personal involvement or official approval for this film, but when he declined, two other psychologists of Freud's inner circle gave their assistance to make "Secrets of a Soul" as accurate a representation of psychoanalysis as possible.Read more ›
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Format: Amazon Instant Video
Great portrayal of Freud's theories in mainstream society with other views from the time, such as how women are portrayed and their role in society and the home. The lead character shows that good and bad exist in all of us.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gatester on March 13, 2013
Format: DVD
The Murnau people who "restored" this movie, chose to omit quite alot of important information. I will give you a few examples. All mention of the name of the man Martin Fellman were omitted. They get letters from his wife's cousin & his best friend. You see them begin to read them but the letters are cut. A man pulls up on a bike delivering a telegram. cut. His wife sees a dog & a litter of puppies. She says: "I wish I had a child" cut. After he arrives home when he left his key, he sits down in front of an idol. It disappears & you see a Baby Image. cut. This is not all that was left out. Its a complicated movie & the information is in there to help you understand it. Murnau group has made the movie incoherent by their actions.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hounddawg1963 on April 2, 2009
Format: DVD
While this is supposed to be one of the great expressionism films of the early 20th century, I found this one somewhat dull and the premise out dated. The movie takes advantage of the early interest in psychoanalysis and is based on the premise that if the one repressed "feeling" is revealed in your tormented life you will live happily ever after (Even Hitchcock had trouble with this in "Spellbound").

I bought this film as part of Kino's boxed set "German Expressionism Collection," and its definitely the weakest of the four in the set. This film has very little entertainment value. Watch it as an example of expressionism films, but not if you are overly tired. And don't pay full price.
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