Fritz Lang
  • Fritz Lang

Next Wednesday, December 7, at the Portage theater, Northwest Chicago Film Society will present a rare screening of Liliom (1934), a lovely romantic fantasy that was the sole French film of Fritz Lang. By the early 1930s, Lang was considered the supreme artist of the German cinema, with a track record that included Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (1922), The Nibelungen (1924), Metropolis (1927), and M (1931). Not long after the Nazis took power, Lang fled Berlin for Paris, and after completing Liliom for the European production arm of Fox Film Corporation, he emigrated to the United States, where he worked in Hollywood for the next 20 years. Liliom was based on a popular Hungarian play by Ferenc Molnar, and because Fox had already released an American version in 1930 (directed by the peerless romanticist Frank Borzage), Lang’s version wouldn’t be shown in the U.S. for decades. By then, the Molnar play had been granted a long second life as the source material for the Broadway (and later Hollywood) musical Carousel.