Der Student von Prag (The Student of Prague) (A Bargain with Satan) (1913)

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Its rather advanced special effects aside, this first film version of Hanns Heinz Ewers' short story Student of Prague is filmed in the static, long-shot style common to this early period. Still, the basic story, a variation of the "Faust" legend, has enough raw power to overcome the film's technical limitations. The titular student sells his mirror reflection to a mysterious conjuror (who, in this film, comes dangerously close to a Jewish stereotype) in exchange for wealth and romance. The reflection takes on an evil life of its own, wreaking havoc on all concerned. Of interest in the 1913 Student of Prague is the casting of Paul Wegener in the title role: during the Nazi era, Wegener was appointed Actor of the State, while Student of Prague author Ewers had become the principal biographer of Nazi "martyr" Horst Vessel. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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