Fritz Lang is best known for his classic German films Metropolis and M. The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb, both made after his exile from Hollywood, will be playing at New York’s Film Forum on September 27!
Although he would never reach the cinematic heights of Metropolis or M, Fritz Lang made his share of memorable films during his successful career in Hollywood (Fury, Scandal Street, and The Big Heat come to mind). But after releasing two films in 1956 (Beyond A Reasonable Doubt and While The City Sleeps), Lang’s Hollywood career had come to an end.
Lang returned to Germany to direct a two-part serialized cliffhanger from a story he co-wrote nearly 40 years ago, and in 1959 The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb were released. These films were dubbed as Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic.
The Tiger of Eschnapur centers on Harold Berger (Paul Hubschmid), a Western architect who falls in love with a temple dancer named Seetha (Debra Paget) during a trip to India. Enraging Chandra (Walther Reyer), the Maharajah of Eschnapur, the couple flee to the desert. Berger and Seetha’s adventures are continued in The Indian Tomb, where the pair are rescued from a sandstorm and witness a violent palace rebellion.
German Expressionism and Fritz Lang are intertwined thanks to M and Metropolis, but Lang’s visual mastery was not displayed in elaborate form during his American films. Still Lang’s themes (the suffocating grip of society) are evident in much of his work, and his play with light and shadow prove that he never did lose his painterly touch (the underrated The Blue Gardenia comes to mind).
That being said, it will be wonderful to see the splash of color that Lang presumably employs with these two films, and though I won’t be at the Film Forum, I will request a screening link and hopefully review the films in the coming days. Stay tuned!
What are some of your favorite Fritz Lang movies? Feel free to comment below!
Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic, with a brand new 4K Restoration, screens at NYC’s Film Forum September 27-October 3.