Spione (Spies) (The Spy) (1928)
Spione (Spies) (The Spy) (1928)
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as Sonya Barranikowa
as Secret Service Chief
as No. 326 (Det. Donald...
as Hans Morriera
as Mosimoto (Matsumoto ...
as Col. Jellusic (Ivan ...
as Lady Leslane
as Franz (326's Valet/C...
as Hotel Manager
as Train Conductor
as Chief Jason's Secret...
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Critic Reviews for Spione (Spies) (The Spy)
Erotic, mysterious, abstract, full of uncanny images and ideas, and rich with multiple identities and intrigue, this is essential viewing for anyone interested in the great director's work.
The tone is somewhere between true pulp fiction and pure expressionism, and the result remains wholly thrilling.
Throughout the bewildering mass of scenes in the German production, Spies, there is always something to intrigue the eye despite the fact that it is impossible to make head or tail of the story.
Lang's beautiful expressionist touches are on display throughout... but at the same time, [he] attempts a new stark emptiness.
Perhaps the most underrated of Fritz Lang's silent spectacles, this tale of master criminality has all the visceral thrill and visual atmospherics of one of Louis Feuillade's Fantomas serials.
Fritz Lang's Spiesis a classic silent espionage thriller that served as the model for all future films of its type, from Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps to the James Bond series and beyond.
Audience Reviews for Spione (Spies) (The Spy)
This is a good spy movie, but I just wish it were shorter. The movie is cool visually, and the actors are good. The story is a lot like other movies I've seen, but it's pretty good anyway. Overall, a good movie from a good director.
it's spy vs. spy until they fall in love and team up to foil an evil banker's plans for world domination. impossible not to compare it with dr mabuse from 1922; for one thing the same actor plays the villain here. at 2 1/2 hrs, it's not as long but also i fear not quite as much fun. the ending is great tho
"Spies" is not a visionary masterpiece like Fritz Lang's better known "Metropolis." But like "M," "Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler" and even "Woman in the Moon," it's an impressive genre picture that seems years ahead of its time.
The plot is squarely on James Bond turf. There's an archvillain in a wheelchair, sitting behind a desk covered with high-tech switches and lights. There are fingernail-sized cameras, cyanide capsules, opium dens, secret identities, notes written in disappearing ink and rooms with sliding security doors. There's a "MacGuffin" -- a secret Japanese/Europe peace treaty -- that multiple parties are maneuvering to protect or steal. (What would a criminal even gain from having it?) There's a handsome Agent #326 with a rakish, maverick personality (well, at least he until makes the mistake of falling in drippy love, something Bond would never do). And of course, there is plenty of expertly directed action and suspense -- particularly a late sequence involving a sabotaged train.
"Spies" also may contain more suicides than any film outside of "Guyana: Cult of the Damned." A perverse quirk.
From a dazzling introduction recapping the treaty's violent theft and the resulting chaos, we know we're in the hands of a master filmmaker. Lang's rapid cutting suggests that he could have easily helmed a contemporary blockbuster, and the sets are intriguingly stylized like in so many other German silents. Inventive camera angles are everywhere -- even shots of a boxing ring and people-clogged staircases become something fresh.
Where the film shows its age in the love story. The underworld mastermind Haghi (Rudolf Klein-Rogge, who also played Dr. Mabuse) hires a beautiful Russian agent (Gerda Maurus) to extract information out of #326 (Willy Fritsch), but the two quickly swoon for each other in the most hokey, overacted fashion. Whenever the story switches focus to their forbidden romance, the film lags. Another outdated move is casting an European actor to play Dr. Matsumoto, an important Japanese character.
But these are small quibbles. This is a 144-minute silent film which never seems overlong (a good trick), and the action builds to a brilliantly absurd ending that Quentin Tarantino couldn't have written any better.
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