Genuine: The Tragedy of a Vampire (1920)

Genuine, die Tragödie eines seltsamen Hauses (Genuine, the Tragedy of a Strange House) was Robert Wiene’s follow-up to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, with writer Carl Mayer, cinematographer Willy Hameister and production designer Cesar Klein returned to work on this vampiric film.

Genuine is not a true vampire, but instead a succubus that drains the souls of men, even destroying the life of the man who has painted her as this movie begins. Before the movie ends, she will cause men to murder one another and drive others to nearly kill themselves with her charms.

Genuine was played by Fern Andra, an acrobat whose physical acting is incredible. She’s a mystery of a woman who destroys men simply because she enjoys doing so. At first a savage captured from a tribe and kept by a rich old man, she soon takes over the man’s home and earns the ire of everyone in the surrounding area.

Is Genuine real? Is she an idea? Is she art? Is the story in the film a dream? While Dr. Caligari was a success, this film was seen as too much art for art’s sake. I think even back in 1920, popular audiences could often be quite dumb.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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