It’s good to be getting back to a normal schedule after several weeks of disruptions great and small. This week in the New York Times, I have a review of Kino’s new three-dvd set “Fritz Lang: The Early Years,” which contains the three pre-“Destiny” titles that have been circulating on the internet for years, but here in much better quality (the restorations are from the F.W. Murnau Stiftung) and with English subtitles. The films are “Harakiri” (1919), “Das wandernde Bild” (1920, here retitled “The Wandering Shadow” for reasons unknown) and “Vier um die Frau” (1921). Seen in order, they give a dramatic picture of Lang’s development, as his distinctive geometrical compositions and symmetrical plot structures gradually emerge over the course of three years.
On the subject of Lang, Bernard Eisenschitz’s “Fritz Lang au travail” is now the new benchmark — a luxuriously oversized volume filled with scrupulously researched accounts of the films and Lang’s life (no wild accusations of murder here), illustrated with magnificent stills and production sketches. Cahiers du cinema published it last year in conjunction with a Lang retrospective at the Cinematheque Francaise, which means that an English-language edition may come out some day through Phaidon. In the meantime, it can be had through Amazon Canada for a mere $62.70 Canadian.