The cinema of Weimar Germany was one that revolved around a key set of names throughout its brief tenure. Directors and performers were the shining lights of the industry, cementing the success of the era’s biggest pictures and then redoubling on that prestige by teaming up again for an even more exceptional endeavor. One of the more celebrated personalities from this era was Emil Jannings, starring in more enduring classics of the German Expressionist movement than any other performer, as well as making a splash in America by becoming the first ever recipient of the Best Actor Oscar.
In 1920, Jannings star was quickly on the rise. With a series of costume drama successes behind him, he continued making lavish star vehicles, including the nascent science fiction film, Algol: Tragödie der Macht. The film, which was once believed lost, returned after rigorous restoration efforts in the 2000s, surviving now as an expressionist contemporary of Caligari and Metropolis. See how measures up as another example of what Siegfried Kracauer called Germany’s “tyrant films,” and how Jannings endures as one of the exemplifying actors of the era.