Hey, remember the '80s? Certain decrepit members of the Pullquote readership don't need the cinetrix's help identifying the source of this photo, but for the youngsters out there, it's a shot from the Police's video for "Wrapped Around Your Finger." Our boy Sting spends a lot of time in karate gear and shades, invoking "Scylla" and "Charybdis" while hopping about in slo-mo through a veritable forest of candles.
[Yeah, yeah, whatever, grandma. Indulge the aged cinetrix--she's still sore from an exercise class populated by girlies almost half her age working out unironically to a dance mix of '80s hair metal bands. Seriously. "Round and Round" seriously. For 45 minutes.]
Anyhow, what if I told you that the premise--the "look and feel," if you will--for that video was lifted wholesale from a gorgeous 1921 Fritz Lang film, Destiny? Its German title, Der Müde Tod, is much more evocative: It translates, roughly, as "Tired Death." We're talking Lili von Shtupp tired.
Because it was his write-up that reminded the cinetrix of the film to begin with, allow me to lift liberally from Tribe's synopsis:
This beautiful gothic fantasy was inspired by a childhood dream of its writer/director, Fritz Lang, who first gained world recognition with this film's triumph. "Destiny" is the story of a young man taken by Death just as he is to be married. His lover makes a deal with the Death figure--if she can save one of three possible lives, her fiance will be returned to her. Otherworldly atmosphere is created by extraordinary, bizarre sets, gothic lighting, and eccentric characters combined with spectacle and camera trickery astonishing for its time.
When the plucky young bride-to-be finally breaches Death's castle, it is awash with pillar candles. Sound familiar?
Serious cinephiles should not only seek this film out, they should add Tribe to their bookmarks STAT. The guy's been on a tear, posting tons of elaborately cross-referenced capsule reviews of films in his enormous and enviable DVD collection. Find them all here.