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Spiders

Carl de Vogt , Ressel Orla , Fritz Lang    DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Fritz Lang's first major success as a director was with this exotic, globetrotting adventure. It's actually made up of two short silent features that were the first of a proposed quartet of movies about the adventures of high-society adventurer Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt, whose gaunt, expressionless face resembles a younger William S. Hart) and his arch nemesis, a secret criminal organization known as the Spiders. Part 1 ("The Golden Lake") is a treasure hunt that takes both Kay and Spiders mastermind Lio Sha (Ressel Orla) to Peru, where they battle primitive Incas (who capture Lio for a human sacrifice) and each other for a fortune in hidden gold. Part 2 ("The Diamond Ship") is a longer and far more intricate conspiracy involving a hidden criminal underground beneath the streets of Chinatown, a legendary lost jewel known as the Buddha Head Diamond, and an ambitious plot to rule all of Asia. Full of secret passages, coded messages, treasure maps, double-crosses, and death-defying escapes, Lang's pulpy action-fantasy borrows from the wacky serials of Louis Feuillaude (notably the deliriously entertaining Les Vampires). But behind the wild plots, gorgeous sets, and driving, breakneck-paced direction lies a dark undercurrent of death and doom that transforms his gallant hero into a brooding, vengeful spirit. The prints are seriously scratched and worn in places but always watchable. They have been appropriately tinted, and Gaylord Carter's organ score is upbeat and exciting. --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

Fritz Lang’s Spiders is about the adventures of high-society adventurer Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt, whose gaunt, expressionless face resembles a younger William S. Hart) and his arch nemesis, a secret criminal organization known as the Spiders. Part 1 ("The Golden Lake") is a treasure hunt that takes both Kay and Spiders mastermind Lio Sha (Ressel Orla) to Peru, where they battle primitive Incas (who capture Lio for a human sacrifice) and each other for a fortune in hidden gold. Part 2 ("The Diamond Ship") is a longer and far more intricate conspiracy involving a hidden criminal underground beneath the streets of Chinatown, a legendary lost jewel known as the Buddha Head Diamond, and an ambitious plot to rule all of Asia. Full of secret passages, coded messages, treasure maps, double-crosses, and death-defying escapes, Lang's pulpy action-fantasy borrows from the wacky serials of Louis Feuillaude (notably the deliriously entertaining Les Vampires). But behind the wild plots, gorgeous sets, and driving, breakneck-paced direction lies a dark undercurrent of death and doom that transforms his gallant hero into a brooding, vengeful spirit.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars More sophisticated that you would think July 9 2006
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This is part one and two of the earliest surviving film directed by Frits Lang, part one "The Golden Lake" (1919) his third feature film, and part two "The Diamond Ship". Part three "The Secret of the Sphinx" and part four "For Asia's imperial Crown" were never made.

Exotic sets and designs from the Ethnological Museum of Hamburg, in cooperation with Heinrich Umlauff.

A man looking under the weather looks like he is escaping on an island. If his desperate attempt for help he sends a message written in blood, in a bottle in to the sea. As he tosses it he is dispatched by an Inca arrow.

The message comes into the possession of Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt) rich sportsman and adventurer. The message tells of Inca gold in a remote location. Overhearing this is Lio Sha (Ressel Orla). That night the note is pilfered by a mysterious organization "The Spiders". Now the race is on to see whom gets the gold.

The journey will take us over many exotic lands and introduce us to sun loving, blood thirsty Incas. There may even be a chance for romance.

As with many serials the end may just be the beginning. See part two "The Diamond Ship".

In part two Kay Hoog who previously captured the secret of the Diamond Ship from the mysterious cabal "The spiders" has sworn revenge on Lio Sha for transgressions made in part one.

While the Spiders seek a diamond shaped while the head of Buddha for their own nefarious purposes. Kay seeks to spoil their plot. Again we get to go to exotic places leading to the Falkland Islands. Fortunately this time enough loose ends are sufficiently wrapped up so we do not have to wait for part three (which will never come.)
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3.0 out of 5 stars An ancient treasure? June 15 2000
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A silent adventure Aug. 4 2003
By gac1003
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ancient treasure? June 15 2000
By Oliver Naujoks - Published on Amazon.com
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!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A silent adventure Aug. 4 2003
By gac1003 - Published on Amazon.com
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.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The New Version of THE SPIDERS. March 1 2012
By Chip Kaufmann - Published on Amazon.com
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.

For those unfamiliar with the scenario, it involves intrepid adventurer Kay Hoog (pronounced HOAG - Carl de Vogt) and his confrontations with the international criminal organization The Spiders headed up by the remarkably intense femme fatale Lio Sha (Ressel Orla). Separately they seek to recover Incan treasure and later a priceless diamond known as the "Buddha's Head". Murders, betrayals, escapes, exotic locales are all there in the mix along with Lang's eye for striking visual composition which is what separates THE SPIDERS from the serials of Feuillade. The sets are fabulous, the costumes elaborate, and the performances (most notably Ressel Orla's) are deliriously intense. This more complete version is a welcome addition to the Fritz Lang filmography just don't expect M or METROPOLIS or for it to look like it was shot yesterday.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The birth of the cinematic gentleman adventurer April 1 2009
By Erik Hauke Tønnesen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I finally got hold of this, and even if it is the oldest of Lang's films to survive (he made two before this), it was the last of his German made films that I saw. The films (there are indeed two films, The Golden Lake and The Diamond Ship)are high adventure, in the best tradition of Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle. As our gentleman adventurer shoots, rides, swims, wades and balloons himself towards his goal, Lang utilizes every trick in the book (he didn't get the memo that says "Silents must be boring") to hold his viewers. For anybody that enjoys the politically incorrect adventure tales of the Victorian and Edwardian ages, as well as the Orientalist and art nouveau-ish design of the pre-WW2 upper classes. This film is a must.

I have seldom seen a film of this age holding up so well. I absolutely agree with the reviewer that wanted this film re-restored. A gem of the Weimar cinema.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More sophisticated that you would think July 9 2006
By bernie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is part one and two of the earliest surviving film directed by Frits Lang, part one "The Golden Lake" (1919) his third feature film, and part two "The Diamond Ship". Part three "The Secret of the Sphinx" and part four "For Asia's imperial Crown" were never made.

Exotic sets and designs from the Ethnological Museum of Hamburg, in cooperation with Heinrich Umlauff.

A man looking under the weather looks like he is escaping on an island. If his desperate attempt for help he sends a message written in blood, in a bottle in to the sea. As he tosses it he is dispatched by an Inca arrow.

The message comes into the possession of Kay Hoog (Carl de Vogt) rich sportsman and adventurer. The message tells of Inca gold in a remote location. Overhearing this is Lio Sha (Ressel Orla). That night the note is pilfered by a mysterious organization "The Spiders". Now the race is on to see whom gets the gold.

The journey will take us over many exotic lands and introduce us to sun loving, blood thirsty Incas. There may even be a chance for romance.

As with many serials the end may just be the beginning. See part two "The Diamond Ship".

In part two Kay Hoog who previously captured the secret of the Diamond Ship from the mysterious cabal "The spiders" has sworn revenge on Lio Sha for transgressions made in part one.

While the Spiders seek a diamond shaped while the head of Buddha for their own nefarious purposes. Kay seeks to spoil their plot. Again we get to go to exotic places leading to the Falkland Islands. Fortunately this time enough loose ends are sufficiently wrapped up so we do not have to wait for part three (which will never come.)
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