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Power (1920)

Algol - Tragödie der Macht (original title)
An alien from the planet Algol gives a man a device that gives him superpowers.

Director:

Hans Werckmeister
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Cast

Credited cast:
Emil Jannings ... Robert Herne
John Gottowt ... Algol
Hans Adalbert Schlettow ... Peter Hell
Hanna Ralph ... Maria Obal
Erna Morena ... Yella Ward
Ernst Hofmann Ernst Hofmann ... Reginald Herne
Gertrude Welcker ... Leonore Nissen
Käthe Haack ... Magda Herne
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sebastian Droste Sebastian Droste ... Ein Tänzer
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Storyline

An alien from the planet Algol gives a man a device that gives him superpowers.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Sci-Fi

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Details

Country:

Germany

Release Date:

7 November 1921 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Power See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2011 restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted and toned)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place from 1920 to 1940. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Simplistic 'power corrupts' fable with slight science-fiction overtone
30 December 2019 | by jamesrupert2014See all my reviews

An alien (or perhaps a demon) from the star Algol offers rebellious coalminer Robert Herne (Emil Jennings) a machine that taps the energy of the distant star and generates unlimited electricity on Earth. Seduced by the promise of power and wealth, Herne rejects his devoted friend Maria (Hanna Ralph) and, as only he knows the secret of the alien machine, becomes the most powerful man in an increasingly mechanistic and decadent world. First Maria's son, then Maria herself, tries to convince Herne to reveal the secret so all mankind would benefit equally from the machine, an idea that worries his capitalist colleagues as well as his wastrel son and the son's grasping lover Yella Ward (Erna Morena), who decide to take the secret by force. The story is a simplistic 'power corrupts' cautionary tale, and the running comparison between Herne's cold, capitalistic domain and Maria's bucolic paradise is facile and heavy-handed. The acting is typical of the silent era, with a lot of melodramatic gesturing, and although there are a number deco or cubist images (which are repeated a number of times) and a striking climatic orgy scene (featuring expressionist exotic dancer Sebastian Droste), the film is visually uninteresting. Similar to 'A Message from Mars' (1913), there is only a veneer science fiction on the story. The opening discussions of the star Algol focus more on mysticism than on astronomy, and the character Algol, who tempts Herne, could be just as easily be a supernatural creature as an extraterrestrial. Herne's unlimited electricity comes from a machine that transfers power from the star Algol but it is only glimpsed and the 'technology' is never addressed. The film is essentially a retelling of Faust and the machine is a simply a material stand-in for the magical riches and power offered by the devil in the original tale. Algol is interesting as an example of German expressionist film-making during the Weimer Republic or as example of a very early proto-sci-fi film... interesting, but not very entertaining.


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