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Sirens & Sinners

A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933

Hans Helmut Prinzler

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A lavish showcase of more than seventy films, selected to give a wide-ranging overview of Weimar cinema at its finest


Between the First and Second World Wars, under the Weimar Republic, Germany became the scene for one of the most creative periods in film history. Through the silent era to the early years of sound, the visual flair and technical innovation of its filmmakers set an international standard for the possibilities of cinema as an art form, with movies such as The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Nosferatu, Metropolis, Pandora’s Box and M building a legacy that not only shaped the world of film but also had a lasting impact on all the visual arts.

The selected films give a wide-ranging overview of Weimar cinema at its finest, with daring themes such as sexuality and social issues tackled by iconic stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Louise Brooks. Beautifully reproduced film stills capture the bold visions of great directors such as Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch, while the text sets the historical scene and gives an intriguing insight into what these films meant to the society that created them.

The movement was brought to a close by Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. Many of the greatest directors, screenwriters and actors were forced to flee Germany, a large number making for Hollywood from where their talents were shared with the world.

This beautifully illustrated book, written by one of the foremost authorities on German film, will enthral anyone eager to find out more about this thrilling chapter in cinema history.

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'A masterpiece … a superb book, filled with informative detail but more importantly showing a gallery of the film stars who delighted their audiences in the pre-Nazi days … a perfect guide to the Weimar film oeuvre'
Western Mail

'Of the 443 illustrations in the book, 335 in are rendered in a striking duotone, which lends the images a silvery finish and a rare sharpness … the overall effect is like looking through time travel at a dream book drawn from an era as fraught with uncertainty as our own'
Sight and Sound

'The still photographs are like snapshots from a collective unconscious'
Wall Street Journal

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC (with jacket)

Size: 30.5 x 25.0 cm

Extent: 308 pp

Publication date: 17 June 2013

ISBN: 9780500516898

Contents List

The Films • The Directors • The Actors • Foreword by Rainer Rother/ Werner Sudendorf • The Troubled Republic • Alphabetical Directory of Films • The Stars: Portraits • Afterword

About the Author

Hans Helmut Prinzler is a former director of the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, and has written widely on German cinema.

List of Contributors

Rainer Rother, Werner Sudendorf

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