Director: Ewald André Dupont
Year Released: 1925
"Boss" Huller (Emil Jannings) - also known as Prisoner #28 - is brought before an official and asked to "lighten his conscience" and explain how he ended up in the Klink, so he does: he and his wife (Maly Delschaft) were running a cheap side show when an orphan named Berta-Marie (Lya De Putti) seduces him, they run off together to do a trapeze act, Artinelli (Warwick Ward, an Englishman) joins them along the way who has an affair with Berta-Marie, which drives him mad with jealousy and the knives come out. Like so many of the early silents it has a haunted mystique about it and the stunts are fantastic, but it's also pretty drawn out considering most can figure out what's going on well in advance and the moral ("don't abandon your family") is self-explanatory. Although Jannings' convict is "redeemed" at the last minute, in real life he was a Nazi collaborator and shunned ... and fate wasn't so kind to De Putti either, who allegedly attempted suicide multiple times and died at the too young age of 34 in New York City. Side note: the soundtrack this version came with is the equivalent of sonic torture, so instead I watched it while playing half of Harold Budd and Clive Wright's A Song for Lost Blossoms (from 2008) and the entirety of Budd's 1978 album The Pavilion of Dreams.