February 15, 2018



A noted critic commented ‘after a single acquaintance with this fantastic film and its music, it is naturally only possible to receive a general impression. Most striking was the cohesion of the two mediums with Huppertz’ music providing a significant orientation in the complex film.’

One can make the argument that this was the finest score ever written for a silent film in the 20’s especially Huppertz who only did 8 films out of his 40 compositions, the others being concert pieces for orchestra. I further argue that this ranks as an equal with my favorite score which is Nosferatu  written by James Bernard, composer of many Hammer horror films.

Did Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, and Erich Korngold  go to school and learn from this score; a resounding yes! In fact all six components detailed in Fabich’s book were used in their scores. It consisted of “leitmotifs, scene-related themes and motifs intended for a single passage within the film, longer sections primarily adhering to musical rules, ostinato figures with leitmotif character, musical description and quotations.” For those who are not familiar a leitmotif is a theme or phrase that denotes an actor, idea, or thought. The best example I can give is the “Jaws” theme to denote the shark danger. The ostinato phrase is one repeated over and over, probably a leitmotif. A good example in this score is the use of the Dies Irae death theme used a lot.

The reason for the greatness of this score was the hands on approach that Huppertz took. Instead of waiting to do the score upon completion Huppertz studied and researched the film on a daily basis. This aided in  the synchronization process which made this score so superior to so many of its contemporaries. I can’t encourage you enough to watch the film and see how the music is an integral part of the movie and would be quite ordinary without it.

The music doesn’t sound like a typical silent film but more modern sounding. I’ve listened to it three times all the way through and the time goes by a lot quicker than one might think. The themes roll out one after another and after the third time you’ll find yourself humming the different melodies as the score is quite tonal in nature with very little in the way of atonal passages.

I’ve given you the prime amazon link to view the film. It has been cleaned up and is an easy watch for you. If you own any of the older CD’s get this new one and enjoy the complete unedited version of this classic score. Highly recommended.



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