Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


German director Robert Weine followed up his The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with this expressionistic film which some feel to be the red-headed step-child of Caligari.  It's the story of a seductive woman named Genuine (Fern Andra) who is the non-blood sucking vampire of the title.  Genuine ends up in a slave market where she is purchased by an old man who keeps her in a cellar.  She vamps and seduces young men until one of them rouses the townspeople against her.

Sounds silly, doesn't it?

Wrapped in a glorious set design that harkens back to Caligari, this confusing and condensed public domain version of the film has few admirers.  It is of historic importance, however, and many of the technical aspects of the film are superb.

Also featured in the film are Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Ernst Gronau, Harold Paulson, Albert Bennefeld, John Gottowt, and Louis Brody.

Carl Meyer, wrote also wrote Caligari for Weine, penned this one. 

A few words about Fern Andra.  The Illinois-born Andra began her career at four, when she performed a tightrope act.  After touring the U.S. and Europe, she settled in Germany to become one of the most popular actresses in German silent cinema. As World War I began, some considered her an allied spy because of her birth; to disprove this notion she married a titled Prussian who died in the war shortly after.  And she really was an allied spy during the war.  She went on to marry three other men, one of them twice.  She survived a plane crash which killed her director and the pilot, Lother von Trichthofen (the brother of Red Baron von Richthofen).  For her role in Genuine, artist Cesar Klein created a "costume" of full body paint for Andra.  From 1928 on she worked in the UK and the United States, expanding her repertoire to radio and television.  She died in 1974 in Aiken, south Carolina, at age 80.

I'm not sure if you will enjoy this, but give it a try.  It's less than 45 minutes.

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