2 September 2020
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Moving from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) to Casablanca (1942), Conrad Veidt circumspectly narrates the tale of his own life across German Expressionist cinema, over 100 silent films, the rise to power of the Third Reich, and his “exile” to the film industries of Britain, France and the United States.
Declaring himself a Jew in solidarity with his wife, Veidt fled Germany before ultimately meeting his fate playing Nazis in wartime Hollywood. Fusing together close textual analysis, associational history, an exploration of shifting acting styles and the fickleness of circumstance, this wonderfully rich video essay provides a re-evaluation of Veidt’s legacy and pays tribute to the mesmeric power of his performances in movies like The Spy in Black (1939) and The Wandering Jew (1933).