Robert Wiene

Fear (1917) by Robert Wiene

Conrad Veidt as the Indian High-Priest in Fear (“Furcht”, original title) 1917

.Fear (original title ‘Furcht’) 1917

Director/ Writer: Robert Wiene
Producer: Oskar Messter
Art Direction: Ludwig Kainer
Starring: Conrad Veidt, Bruno Decarli, Bernhard Goetzke, Mechthildis Thein

A rare opportunity here to watch this sought-after Robert Wiene film, Furcht (original title) or Fear (1917) starring Conrad Veidt, online. Not the best quality and a rather short version, nonetheless, not an easy one to find.

The film is about a young scientist’s inner torment, having returned from a long expedition in the east, with a holy statue of the the Buddha which he stole from a sacred temple. Conrad Veidt plays an Indian High-Priest who appears to the young man several times in his dreams (or is it reality??) and warns him that he only has 7 years to live, as punishment for his wicked crime. Upon receiving this news, the young man tries to forget his inner-torment and decides he will go out with a bang, enjoying life to the fullest, before his time is up.

The film is clearly incomplete, and Veidt has a rather minor role. Yet it’s a clear indication which direction Wiene was taking that would eventually lead him to his masterpiece:The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Visually lacking the same impact Wiene’s later films made, Furcht is nevertheless full of Expressive theatrics provided by the on-screen performances and holds true to the usual jolly themes of despair, inner-torment and insanity, making it more one to watch for the aficionados among you, rather than the casual curious. Working video link as of 02/01/15: