“INDIAN EPIC”— Legendary, Lavish Cliffhanger from Fritz Lang

“INDIAN EPIC”

Legendary, Lavish Cliffhanger from Fritz Lang

Amos Lassen

 “Indian Epic” is “A sweeping adventure filled with tigers, snakes, romance and the camp-connoisseur favorite Debra Paget in more than three hours of expressionistic color and wild plot developments await.” It is “A clear precursor to the Indiana Jones series…Perhaps Lang’s most open-aired use of color, and wonderful, late-period entertainment.”

Fritz Lang who lived in exile from Hollywood for some twenty years returned to his native Germany to direct a lavish two-part cliffhanger from a story he co-authored almost forty years earlier. Taken together,  1959’s “The Tiger of Eschnapur” and “The Indian Tomb” are known as “Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic”.

Lang had been operating outside the Hollywood system and given more freedom and resources than he had seen in years. He returned to remake the exotic adventure “The Indian Tomb”, which he originally helped to write in 1921 but didn’t have the opportunity to direct himself. With gorgeous and breathtaking location shoots, a large international cast, elaborate sets and the danger and treachery of the jungle, Lang used evocative images and montage that proved him a virtuoso of film form. 

In “The Tiger of Eschnapur”, Western architect Harold Berger (Paul Hubschmid), was called to India by Chandra, the Maharaja of Eschnapur and he falls in love with the beautiful temple dancer Seetha (Debra Paget), although she is promised to the Maharaja. Their betrayal ignites the wrath of a vengeful Chandra, who is fighting his own battle for power with his scheming half-brother, Ramigani, leading to the lovers’ daring escape into the desert.

In Part Two, “The Indian Tomb”, the lovers are rescued by sympathetic desert villagers, only to be later given up for ransom. Seetha is captured and sent back to Eschnapur, where she must perform a death-defying and erotic temple dance to prove her innocence. Meanwhile, Ramigani incites a revolt against the Maharaja and uses both Berger and Seetha as pawns in his plot to seize the throne. 

 The film was originally released in America as “Journey to the Lost City”, a radically condensed 90-minute version. Now these exotic masterpieces are finally presented in all their original splendor, featuring over 3 hours of breathtaking cinematography and cliff-hanging suspense, in this new 4K restored edition.

BONUS FEATURES:

  • Audio commentaries by film historian David Kalat
  • The Indian Epicdocumentary
  • “Debra Paget, For Example”, a video essay by filmmaker Mark Rappaport
  • 20-page booklet with an essay by film scholar Tom Gunning

Founded in 2002 as one of the first-ever subscription film services with its DVD-of-the-Month club, Film Movement is now a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide.  Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com. Visit www.filmmovementplus.com for more information about Film Movement Plus, the new subscription streaming service from Film Movement.

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