German film classics screened at Guilford College ‘ and it’s free!

by Mark Burger

The Guilford College German Club is commemorating the legacy of German cinema with a series of classic film screenings, co-sponsored by the Student Activities Office and presented in conjunction with the ongoing course German 320: The Weimar Republic.

For a time in the early and mid-1920s, the German film industry was poised to become the greatest in Europe — and perhaps the world.

Such filmmakers as Fritz Lang, Josef Von Sternberg and FW Murnau were achieving rapturous acclaim, both at home and abroad. But with the rise of Adolf Hitler, many of these filmmakers fled Germany and achieved comparable, even greater, success abroad. (Other expatriate filmmakers who found fame in Hollywood after fleeing the Nazis included Billy Wilder and Michael Curtiz, to name a few.)

World War II essentially decimated the German film industry, to say nothing of Germany itself, yet the films remain a testament to the talents of their makers, with many of them reflecting the times in which they were made.

With the Halloween season upon us, the timing is perfect for FW Murnau’s 1922 classic Nosferatu (Wednesday), the first screen version of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula, with Max Schreck (the name means “terror”) unforgettable as the bloodthirsty vampire, Count Orlock. The film was produced without the cooperation of the Stoker estate, and a subsequent lawsuit filed by Stoker’s widow dictated that all prints of the film be destroyed. Fortunately, some survived.

Oct. 6 sees the screening of the newlyrestored, complete version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), arguably the first great science-fiction film in screen history, starring Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge and Brigitte Helm, and adapted from the Thea von Harbou novel by the author herself. (In real life, von Harbou was married to Lang for several years.)

On Nov. 3, Lang’s 1931 suspense classic M will be screened. The film catapulted Peter Lorre to stardom (and also typecast him), and remains a startling psychological thriller. Lorre, who like Lang was soon to flee Germany, plays a tormented child murderer who is targeted and tracked down by the German underworld. The political undertones of the film, symbolizing the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, are unmistakable.

Leontine Sagan’s controversial, awardwinning 1931 drama Madchen in Uniform (also released as Girls in Uniform), will be screened Nov. 17. Based on a Krista Winsloe play, the film stars Hertha Thiele as a lonely schoolgirl who develops an attraction for one of her teachers (Dorothea Wieck). The film caused a scandal in Germany, with the Nazi Party ordering all copies of the film destroyed, and was banned outright there and in the United States — at least until Eleanor Roosevelt, then the First Lady, lobbied on its behalf and the ban was lifted.

The series concludes with yet another Fritz Lang favorite: 1933’s Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse (AKA The Testament of Dr. Mabuse), which stars Rudof Klein-Rogge as the title character, a criminal mastermind still able to engineer dissent and crime from his cell in a mental institution. The film’s overt political and social bent was more than enough for the Nazi Party to cancel its German premiere and prevent its release. Not long after, Lang left Germany himself.

All films are in German with English subtitles.

The screenings are open to the public, and admission is free. All screenings will take place at 8 p.m. in the Leak Room, located in Duke Hall on the Guilford College campus (5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro).

For more information, call 336.316.2204 or e-mail ‘­‘­

The UNC School of the Arts in Winston- Salem has announced this year’s recipients of the William R. Kenan Jr. Excellence Awards, which are presented to students on the basis of their arts discipline, grade point average, SAT or ACT test scores, ability to lead and motivate their fellow students, and extracurricular achievements.

The students selected this year are:

Thomas “Tommy” Burnett, School of Dance (ballet); Kevin Carillo, School of Drama (acting); Rachyl Duffy, School of Music (viola); Wesley Michael Forlines, School of Design and Production (lighting design); and Erica “Lela” Rosenberg, also from the School of Design of Production (costume design and technology).

The Kenan awards will support the students’ tuition, academic fees, room and board for four years of undergraduate study. The awards are provided by a 2005 grant of $1 million from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and a 2009 grant of $225,000 from the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund.

“We are delighted to announce these Kenan Excellence Award recipients,” said John Mauceri, the chancellor of the UNC School of the Arts, in a statement. “They exemplify the kind of student who will blossom in our professional artist training programs: Creative, talented, intelligent, dedicated, disciplined — in a word, extraordinary. Without support from the William R.

Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust and the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund, the UNC School of the Arts would see these highly recruited students go elsewhere.”

For more information about the UNC School of the Arts, visit the official website: