Entertainment Weekly - 06/08/2001
"...Its real seduction is Jannings' turn as Mephisto. His plumply repugnant devil emits the sweet stench of brimstone..."
USA Today - 03/13/1996
"...One of the director's most stirring works..."
Sight and Sound - 08/01/2006
"FAUST's two halves create a dialectical web opposing drama to comedy, darkness to light, repression to sexuality..."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/20/2009
"[Y]ou'll be knocked out cold by Murnau's indelible images, haunting use of shadows, and trippy, dreamlike expressionist sets." -- Grade: A
Description by OLDIES.com:
Fresh from the triumphant releases of Nosferatu and The Last Laugh, F.W. Murnau was given carte blanche to direct this epic fable of the supernatural. Freed from the burden of plausibility by the story's fantastic premise, Murnau summoned forth a tempest of cinematic brimstone so that every scene ripples with reckless ingenuity. Utilizing the full resources of the UFA Studios (including elaborate miniature models and experimental special effects), Faust captures the intensity of a medieval universe stepped in religious fanaticism and pagan alchemy. Black-hooded pallbearers lead a torch-lit procession through a plague-stricken village literally cloaked by the wings of Satan. Crowded landscapes materialize and vanish in wisps of smoke, daemonic creatures soar through the heavens and earthly beings are tormented by the vaporous spirits that permeate the dungeon-like homes and Caligari-esque rooftops of this shadow world. In the eye of this infernal maelstrom is the great Emil Jannings (Othello), who sets off the film's sound and fury with a diabolically engaging performance, making Faust (in the words of the New York Times) "A radiant jewel...a masterpiece!"
Murnau's FAUST stars the inimitable Emil Jannings as Mephistopheles, to whom the hapless and aging Faust sells his soul for renewed youth as well as wealth and power. Based on Goethe's interpretation of the age old legend, Murnau merely uses the story as a starting point for an incredibly phantasmagoric vision of the struggle between good and evil. Beginning with a flourish, Murnau introduces Mephistopheles with one of the most famous sequences in film history, finding Jannings being birthed as a disgusting, primordial creature from the heavens and banished to the netherworld. Baroque, bizarre, and unforgettable, FAUST is one of the German master's greatest triumphs. Silent movie with English and German subtitles. The Kino version is restored with a symphonic soundtrack.
A visually stunning adaptation of Goethe's magnum opus as directed by one of silent cinema's greatest masters, F. W. Murnau. Using ingenious special effects and a wide variety of baroque visual techniques, Murnau creates a shadowy medieval world where the occult mixes with the everyday in a beautiful cinematic alchemy. Illuminating a lost universe of spiritual possibilities that seem mere superstition today, he relates the classic tale of an ambitious young man who sells his soul to Lord Satan for corporeal wealth and success. The film features a stunning opening sequence where Faust is literally borne through the skies of Europe on the wings of Lucifer. A recklessly inventive masterpiece.
The Kino VHS version of "Faust" has been digitally remastered from an archival print. It is also accompanied by a full orchestral score composed and conducted by Timothy Brock, performed by the Olympia Chamber Orchestra.
175 new intertitles were created for the Kino VHS version, using period type; subtitles were also added to translate the many German language books and manuscripts shown throughout the film.