Varieté, German silent crime film, 1925, by Ewald André Dupont, Intertitles: German, Subtitles: Hungarian, 94'
Directed by Ewald André Dupont
Screenplay by Felix Hollaender, Ewald André Dupont
Director of photography: Karl Freund, Carl Hoffmann
Music by Stephen Horne, Erno Rapee
Cast: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Lya de Putti, Warwick Ward, Alice Hechy, George John
Production: Universum Film (UFA)
Inmate no. 28 walks down a corridor which could have been drawn by Escher, creator of the famous images of stairways turning upwards and downwards on themselves. As he arrives in front of the interrogation room, we still cannot see that he is played by none other than the distinguished 1920s movie actor Emil Jannings. Varieté is a lengthy flashback in which Inmate no. 28 – Stefan Huller – relates the story of his downfall, the primary role of which was played by the trapeze artist who had been taught by the once famous silent movie star, arguably one of the greatest Hungarian actresses, Lya de Putti. Varieté provides a thorough introduction to early circus arts as well as to the strange world of Varieté itself, one both frightening and attractive: from the close-ups of Bohemians, it portrays a world for which no more authentic music could have been written than Tiger Lilly. Their music is somewhat repetitive, but it adds a lot to this outstanding film. Ultimately, it is an experience of being plunged into the now-defunct world of Varieté entertainment.