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Fritz Lang: Interviews

Edited by Barry Keith Grant

240 pp., Conversations with Filmmakers Series

978-1-57806-577-6 Paper $25.00T

Paper, $25.00

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"When I write a scene, sometimes I close my eyes and sketch out the movements, the faces. . . . I live a long time with my characters before I begin shooting."

The films of Fritz Lang depict an entrapping, claustrophobic world in which people are controlled by larger forces. His overriding theme is the struggle against fate and against the traits of human nature that doom us.

His life and work spanned six decades of film history-from the silent era through the golden age of German Expressionism of the 1920s and the classic studio system in Hollywood to the rise of the international co-production. In Hollywood he worked for every major studio except Disney. He made blockbusters, modest B movies, and everything in between. Among his films are classics of German cinema-including Metropolis and M. In America he made some of the most notable crime movies (Fury), noir films (The Big Heat), and Westerns (The Return of Frank James) of the studio era. Despite the different time periods, nations, and genres in which he worked, his films remain stylistically consistent.

Lang (1890-1976), a notoriously difficult interviewee, granted relatively few interviews apart from short publicity exchanges in the promotion of his films. Fully aware of his public persona, he was a canny self-promoter who carefully constructed half-truths and myths about himself.

This fascinating collection covers his conversations about his life and his works over a period of forty years. They reveal how cinema for Lang was an intensely personal art. "For me," he said, "cinema is a vice. I love it intimately. I've often written that it is the art form of our century."

Barry Keith Grant, a professor of film studies and popular culture at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, is the author of Voyages of Discovery: The Cinema of Frederick Wiseman, co-author of The Film Studies Dictionary, and editor of The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film, Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, and Film Genre Reader.

240 pp., Conversations with Filmmakers Series