• Emil Jannings plans a kiss of death on Lya De Putti

One of my favorite things about teaching a film history class is discovering movies I’ve never seen while researching the ones on my course list. Case in point, preparing for my upcoming Facets course on James Whale (which you can sign up for here) has led me to the work of German director E.A. Dupont, whom Whale cited as an influence. Dupont was an esteemed figure when Whale started directing movies in 1930; his innovative silent film Variety (1925) was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of its day, and Dupont came to work in Britain, France, and the U.S. on the strength of its reputation. New York Times critic Mordaunt Hall (what a name!) praised it as “the strongest and most inspiring drama that has ever been told by the evanescent shadows,” adding “the lighting effects and camera work cause one to reflect that occasionally the screen may be connected with art.”