The Spiders Part 1 / The Golden Lake, Part 2 / The Diamond Ship
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THE SPIDERS by Fritz Lang is considered by many to be the real beginning of the golden age of the German silent film. An adventure story about an organized band of criminals who scheme to dominate the world, THE SPIDERS was long considered a lost film until its three year reconstruction by film historians David and Kimberly Shepard using original German censorship records and Lang's own instructions for color tinting.
Fritz Lang's first major success as a director was with this exotic, globetrotting adventure. It's actually made up of two short silent features that were the first of a proposed quartet of movies about the adventures of high-society adventurer Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt, whose gaunt, expressionless face resembles a younger William S. Hart) and his arch nemesis, a secret criminal organization known as the Spiders. Part 1 ("The Golden Lake") is a treasure hunt that takes both Kay and Spiders mastermind Lio Sha (Ressel Orla) to Peru, where they battle primitive Incas (who capture Lio for a human sacrifice) and each other for a fortune in hidden gold. Part 2 ("The Diamond Ship") is a longer and far more intricate conspiracy involving a hidden criminal underground beneath the streets of Chinatown, a legendary lost jewel known as the Buddha Head Diamond, and an ambitious plot to rule all of Asia. Full of secret passages, coded messages, treasure maps, double-crosses, and death-defying escapes, Lang's pulpy action-fantasy borrows from the wacky serials of Louis Feuillaude (notably the deliriously entertaining Les Vampires). But behind the wild plots, gorgeous sets, and driving, breakneck-paced direction lies a dark undercurrent of death and doom that transforms his gallant hero into a brooding, vengeful spirit. The prints are seriously scratched and worn in places but always watchable. They have been appropriately tinted, and Gaylord Carter's organ score is upbeat and exciting. --Sean Axmaker
- Original Organ Score by Gaylord Carter
- This was long considered a lost film until its three-year reconstruction by film historians David and Kimberly Shepard using original German censorship records and Lang's own instructions for color tinting
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Top customer reviews
I'm a fan of the early adventure pulps and of cliffhanger serials. So it was great to actually see Fritz Lang's early contribution towards these ends. The story has been gone over by several reviews and easily found online. I just want to urge viewers to not be put off on the fact that it is silent (with an original organ score that sometimes verges on cheesy Casio sounds, but tends to hold on to its dignity) because the great visuals Lang is famous for, and fun action adventure should be able to keep most audiences captivated.
If you are a fan of Gunga Din, Indiana Jones and the more exotic pulp adventures of Edgar Rice Burroughs or Talbot Mundy, I can't imagine you will not find this to be a great treasure chest of iconic pulp and cliffhanger-type imagery.
The reason I don't give this five stars is solely based on the Image Entertainment release, because I think the price of this single DVD with no extras is exorbitant to say the least. Outside of the fact that this was a rare film to find and restore (which has nothing to do with Image themselves), the Criterion-esque price tag does not reflect any value-added properties as you would find on a Criterion release, and in fact is closer to something you'd find from Alpha Video, meaning extremely bare bones. At the very least, a commentary track by the Shepards or a film historian would have been interesting and added some extra value to justify $30 for a single disc.
It might be wishful thinking to get a better release anytime in the near future, so either do like me and take the hit to the wallet for the Image release from amazon or patiently search a less expensive means of finding it, like amazon's merchant-shops or other online auction sites, etc. Or if you don't mind VHS, that is easily found for under $5.