The Head of Janus


The Head of Janus
The Head of Janus
Directed by F.W. Murnau
Produced by Erich Pommer
Written by Novel:
Robert Louis Stevenson
Screenplay:
Hans Janowitz
Cinematography Karl Freund
Carl Hoffmann
Carl Weiss
Release date(s) Germany August 26, 1920
Country Germany Germany
Language Silent film
German intertitles

The Head of Janus (ger. Der Januskopf) was a 1920 horror silent film directed by F. W. Murnau. The film was an unauthorized adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but the source material went unrecognized by the German media due to changes in the characters' names.[1]

Released on September 17, 1920 by the Lipow Co., this is one of Murnau's lost films. The screenplay was written by Hans Janowitz, who collaborated with Carl Mayer on the script for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919). While the film itself does not survive, the scripts and related production notes do, from which some of the more salient points of the plot can be pieced together.

Contents

Plot

Conrad Veidt plays Dr. Warren (the Dr. Jekyll character) who changes into Mr. O'Connor (a parallel of Mr. Hyde). This transformation is brought about, not by experimentation with chemicals as in Stevenson's original, but through the supernatural agency of a bust of Janus (the Roman god of the doorway), which Warren / O'Connor purchases in the opening sequence as a gift for his sweetheart, Jane Lanyon (Margarete Schlegel). When she refuses the gift, horrified, Warren / O'Connor is forced to keep the statuette himself.

It is at this point Dr. Warren first transforms into the gruesome character Mr. O'Connor, and returns to Jane's house in a rage, kidnapping her and taking her back to his laboratory. Upon recovery, Warren is horrified by what he has done and tries to sell the bust at auction, but the hold it has over him forces him to buy it back again. A second transformation proves to be his ruin, committing random acts of violence in the streets.

Ultimately, Dr. Warren as Mr. O'Connor is forced to take poison after locking himself in his laboratory. He dies, clutching the statue to his chest.

Trivia

An intriguing note on the script points to possibly the first instance of a moving camera in cinematic history. When the doctor is climbing the stairs to his laboratory, Janowitz's notes state "Camera follows him up the stairs".[citation needed]

Reception

This adaptation of R. L. Stevenson's classic novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was released in 1920, the same year as an American version, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde released by Paramount Pictures and starring John Barrymore. Swedish film critics of the time found the Murnau production to be more 'artistic'.

Credited Cast

  • Conrad Veidt as Dr. Warren / Mr. O'Connor
  • Magnus Stifter as Dr. Warren's friend
  • Margarete Schlegel as Jane Lanyon / Grace
  • Willy Kaiser-Heyl as Extra
  • Béla Lugosi as Dr. Warren's Butler
  • Margarete Kupfer as Extra
  • Danny Guertler as Extra
  • Gustav Botz as Extra
  • Jaro Fürth as Extra
  • Hans Lanser-Rudolf as Extra
  • Marga Reuter as Extra
  • Lanja Rudolph as Extra

Also known as

  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (UK)
  • Der Januskopf – Eine Tragödie am Rande der Wirklichkeit (Germany)
  • Love's Mockery
  • Schrecken (Germany) (trailer title)
  • The Head of Janus
  • The Janus Head
  • The Two-Faced Man (USA) (informal literal English title)

See also

References

  1. ^ Hardy 1995, p. 27.

Citations

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Dead Zone (TV series) — The Dead Zone Format Science fiction Thriller Suspense Drama Created by Stephen King Developed …   Wikipedia

  • Janus Dousa — [Jan van der Does] lord of Noordwyck (December 6, 1545 October 8, 1604), Dutch statesman, historian, poet and philologist, the first Librarian of Leiden University Library and the defender of Leiden, was born at Noordwijk, in the province of… …   Wikipedia

  • The Two Babylons — was an anti Catholic religious pamphlet produced initially by the Scottish theologian and Protestant Presbyterian Alexander Hislop in 1853. It was later expanded in 1858 and finally published as a book in 1919. Its central theme is its allegation …   Wikipedia

  • The Byzantine Empire —     The Byzantine Empire     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Byzantine Empire     The ancient Roman Empire having been divided into two parts, an Eastern and a Western, the Eastern remained subject to successors of Constantine, whose capital was at …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Janus — For other uses, see Janus (disambiguation). Bifrons redirects here. For other uses, see Bifrons (disambiguation). A statue representing Janus Bifrons in the Vatican Museums In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings… …   Wikipedia

  • Janus — /jay neuhs/, n. 1. an ancient Roman god of doorways, of beginnings, and of the rising and setting of the sun, usually represented as having one head with two bearded faces back to back, looking in opposite directions. 2. Astron. a moon of the… …   Universalium

  • Janus (mythology) — In Roman mythology, Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. His most prominent remnants in modern culture are his namesakes: the month of January, which begins the new year, and the janitor, who is a… …   Wikipedia

  • The Latymer School — Infobox UK school name = The Latymer School |121px|The Latymer School Crest size = latitude = 51.6250 longitude = 0.0744 dms = yes motto = Qui patitur vincit (Latin: He who endures wins) motto pl = established = 1624 (present site 1910) approx =… …   Wikipedia

  • The Passion of the Christ — This article is about the film. For the passions of Jesus Christ, see Passion (Christianity). The Passion of the Christ Theatrical release poster Directed by …   Wikipedia

  • The Virgin Spring — Infobox Film name = The Virgin Spring caption = original movie poster director = Ingmar Bergman producer = Ingmar Bergman Allan Ekelund writer = Ulla Isaksson starring = Max von Sydow Birgitta Valberg Gunnel Lindblom Birgitta Pettersson music =… …   Wikipedia