Based on Herman Bang’s 1902 novel of the same name, Dreyer’s film is a fascinating fin-de-siècle study of a “decadent” elderly artist (Benjamin Christensen) driven to despair by his relationship with his young protégé and former model, Michael (Walter Slezak). With suffocatingly sumptuous production design by renowned architect Hugo Häring (his only film work), this Kammerspiel, or “intimate theatre”, foreshadows Dreyer’s magnificent final film Gertrud, by forty years with its “Now I may die content, for I have seen great love” epigraph.
Michael was scripted by Dreyer with Fritz Lang’s wife, Thea von Harbou (Metropolis, M, etc). It stars the director Benjamin Christensen (Häxan); Walter Slezak (Hitchcock’s Lifeboat); Nora Gregor (Renoir’s The Rules of the Game); Mady Christians (Ophüls’ Letter from an Unknown Woman); and Karl Freund (who also shot Metropolis) in his only ever appearance as an actor. Freund lensed most of Michael too, but left to work on Murnau’s The Last Laugh, and Rudolph Maté (The Passion of Joan of Arc) took over.
The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Carl Th. Dreyer’s Michael for the first time ever on Blu-ray, from a new 2K restoration.
- Stunning 1080p presentation from a new 2K restoration
- Score by Pierre Oser (piano, clarinet, cello) presented in uncompressed LPCM stereo
- Original German intertitles with optional English subtitles
- Full-length audio commentary by Dreyer scholar, Casper Tybjerg
- An exclusive video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns
- An illustrated audio interview with Dreyer from 1965
- A booklet featuring a new essay by Philip Kemp; a reprint of Tom Milne's The World Inside Me; Jean Renoir's 1968 tribute; a translation of the original Danish programme and more!