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The Spiders

4.0 out of 5 stars (12) IMDb 6.3/10

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.

Carl de Vogt, Ressel Orla
2 hours, 18 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Western, Adventure
Director Fritz Lang
Starring Carl de Vogt, Ressel Orla
Supporting actors Georg John, Lil Dagover, Paul Biensfeldt, Harry Frank, Gilda Langer, Hans Lanser-Rudolf
Studio Egami Media
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The film: This Indiana Jones-type of movie put Fritz Lang on the map. It features the same mix of exotic locations and rollercoaster-action scenes like the Paramount-franchise from the 80ies. Alas, the film also shows that Fritz Lang had not yet reached the level of maturity and precision that is so prominetly featured in his later silent masterworks. Ok, the sets look great but the story is even more hokey than your usual adventure yarn. Even worse, the film features far too many of those scenes which are often done but work the least in a silent movie: shoot-outs. So I'm afraid I can recommend this film mostly to film-history-buffs (like me) or people that need all of Lang's films on their DVD-shelf. If you want to see why Lang is regarded as such a genius, you better check out "Die Nibelungen" or "Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler". The DVD: The film is very rare, and it shows: The people who restored it couldn't work with the best film-material but had to use what they got and so the print is quite scratchy and generally worn-out. But this is your only chance to see it, so let that not hinder you. Otherwise, besides some notes on the film-makers, there's not very much regarding extras on this DVD. One final, international note: It's a shame that this German film is not available at all in Germany, so congratulations to David and Kimberly Shepard who uncovered this long-believed lost film!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first became familiar with THE SPIDERS in David Shepard's 1999 version on Image DVD. It will always have a special place in my silent film collection as it was my introduction to the exotic pulp fiction serials of the silent era that would culminate years later in the INDIANA JONES films of Steven Spielberg. After seeing the 2 silent features that make up THE SPIDERS (THE GOLDEN SEA and THE DIAMOND SHIP), I was primed for THE INDIAN TOMB (which Fritz Lang co-wrote but missed out on directing until he made his own version 40 years later) and the earlier serials of Louis Feuillade (THE VAMPIRES, JUDEX, FANTOMAS) which inspired this film. In the company of the Feuillade serials and the later silent films of Lang, THE SPIDERS gets unfairly dismissed which is unfortunate as it has much to offer especially in this new transfer.

The biggest knock against the old version was that the print was not in great shape. Shepard explained that we were lucky to have the film at all and that it took a lot of work to put it back together from materials found in Czech archives. The new version appears to use the same Czech materials but has the advantage of new restoration techniques developed in the last 10 years. Nevertheless those expecting a complete restoration are bound to be disappointed as compared to NOSFERATU, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA or the 2003 version of METROPOLIS, this still looks pretty rough. It is longer (173 minutes -vs- 137 minutes) and, as much as I love Gaylord Carter organ scores, the new Ben Model score will be more audience friendly as will the print improvement and new title cards.
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Format: DVD
Kay Hoog finds a message in a bottle floating near San Francisco. The message tells about a hidden Incan city filled with gold and gives the location for finding it. Intrigued, Kay tells his yacht club that he's going to find it. Later, Lia Sha, also a member of the club and the mysterious Spiders, steals the map and sets off for Peru, with Kay not far behind.
Thus, begins the Indiana Jones-like adventure which leads from Peru to a hidden city beneath San Francisco to a deadly cave in the Falkland Islands. "Spiders" from German director Fritz Lang, contains the first two parts of what was to be a 4-part serial. It's not the greatest of all adventure stories and has quite a few plot holes, but it's easy to see the influence it has on many of the adventure films of today. And, the acting is not bad, either.
The DVD transfers are scratchy but still very viewable. Not many extras, though.
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Format: DVD
Many decades before Steven Spielberg and George Lucas would create the "Indiana Jones" films, back in the 1919, Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang would write and direct his adventure epic "The Spiders (Die Spinnen)".

It all began not long after Lang was discharged from the Austrian Army, having been wounded in combat, Lang would use his time during his recovery to write ideas he had for films. As an actor for the Viennese theater circuit, he was hired at Decla, which was a Berlin-based production studio led by producer Erich Pommer.

During the early stages of his career, Fritz Lang would create art films but his popular thriller "The Spiders" was known for combining German Expressionist techniques and popular mainstream cinema and in essence, it was considered as art house cinema.

And for many decades, this film had been considered lost until it was discovered in the 1970's. While a restoration was done in 1978 and released on DVD in 1999. A new restoration was commissioned from a tinted 35mm print and footage that was not included in the 1999 DVD release has been added to the 2012 DVD release courtesy of Kino Lorber Inc.

"The Spiders" is considered to be the beginning of the golden age of silent cinema. Originally, there was a planned trilogy but only two films were created.

The first episode "The Golden Sea" begins with a man escaping from the Inca's who are planning to use him as a sacrifice. The man, a Harvard professor who has been missing since his travel to Peru, writes a note, which he puts into a bottle and throws it off to the ocean before being speared.
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