German director F.W. Murnau was a groundbreaking genius of early cinema. His silent films contains some of the most imaginative and indelible characters such as Nosferatu (1922) and the eye-popping fantasy that is Faust. Cinematographer Carl Hoffman helps Murnau bring Goethe's play to life as God and Satan wage a bet for control of the world.
I love the way they portray the Archangel and the Devil in the beginning of this film. These two characters work well on screen and must have been a wonder for audiences to behold in 1926. Hoffman also uses lots of shadow, cloud and shafts of light to establish the mood of the film. His camera tricks are also right up there with the great French director Georges Méliès. The visual elements in Faust are truly a wonder to behold.
Gösta Ekman's portrayal of Faust is great. His wild white hair and piercing eyes give him a powerful presence onscreen. Ekman was known as Swedish theater's most legendary stage actor and his considerable talent shows in this film. His Faust is dramatic and intense which is exactly what is needed to make this film come alive.
Thanks to critical success of The Artist (2011) and Hugo (2011) there is a renewed interest in silent film. I can only hope it sends people scurrying to Netflix to uncover some of the hidden gems of this often neglected period of cinema. Faust is a great place to start that journey. It's a very accessible film for those new to the genre and its fanciful, fantasy-horror elements are enough to keep modern audiences thoroughly entertained.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.