A young man is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term in prison. There he forms a close relationship with his cellmate and upon his release his wife is concerned as to how prison has changed the man she married.
Three Scottish officers, including Sir Archi, murder Sir Arne and his household for a coffin filled with gold. The only survivor is Elsalill, who moves to relatives in Marstrand. There she ... See full summary »
THIS SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP tells of the tender relationship between a twelve-year-old boy and the upperclass man who is the object of his desire. All set in the rigid atmosphere of a ... See full summary »
Paul Korner is a homosexual musician who falls in love with his protégé Kurt. Unfortunately, the two are seen walking hand in hand by the blackmailer Franz. Though Paul agrees to Franz's demands at first, it gets out of hand and he ends up refusing to pay which has dire consequences for the lovers. Written by
The role played by Conrad Veidt was probably the first homosexual character written for cinema. See more »
Respected ladies and gentlemen take heed. The time will come when such tragedies will be no more. For knowledge will conquer prejudice, truth will conquer lies, and love will triumph over hatred.
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It's a wonder any of this film exists; if not for the wear of age (it's said that most films of this era are lost), one would think censorship and the Nazis would have annihilated it. Yet, much of the footage remains. The Kino release of the reconstruction fills in the rest of the story with explanatory intertitles and still photographs, nearing the film's original runtime. That's the first wonder.
The second is its message of tolerance and understanding of homosexuals. Message films, social realist films, or "enlightenment films" were not too common in the silent era, probably because the lack of sound takes away from the capacity to lecture. Lois Weber is an exception that I'm familiar with; she made a career out of selling morals to audiences. "Different from the Others" includes the tact of a self-referential scene, which Weber broadened to more interesting depths in her best work. This is a film pleading for the equality of homosexuals, and it features a lecture within the lecture doing the same: the "sexoligist" Magnus Hirschfeld giving a slideshow presentation, which is attended by Else. I think it makes the film more honest, and, at the same time, it's a way for the filmmakers to be as blunt as possible.
It's difficult to appreciate the film aesthetically, anymore. The gay nightclub scenes are frank, but the film seems to shy away from too much intimacy between homosexuals. "Philadelphia" (1993) has been criticized for it's lack of a kiss, too, so I suppose it's asking too much of a film from 1919. The camera-work appears rather static, as well. On the other hand, Conrad Veidt was an admirable man and quite an actor. This is as much bravery from a prominent actor as you'll ever see. And, he was outspoken against the Nazis, as opposed to Emil Jannings, probably the other major male star of German silent film. Although Veidt's performance is much in the style of the time, he shows the right balance of effeminacy without being stereotypical.
Other than Veidt, the film isn't of much entertainment or artistic value. The film's message, however, is very important, even today; as the reconstruction introduction says, Germany, while a generally liberal government and populace today, Paragraph 175 wasn't repealed until 1994. And, there's the marriage debate in the US and elsewhere. "Different from the Others" is powerful in that way.
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