Based on Herman Bang's 1902 novel of the same name, Carl Th. Dreyer's 'Michael' is a fascinating fin-de-siecle study of a "decadent" elderly artist (Benjamin Christensen) driven to despair by his relationship with his young protege and former model, Michael (Walter Slezak). With suffocatingly sumptuous production design by renowned architect Hugo Haring (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.
Two different transfers of the film (USA transfer by David Shepard; European transfer by Transit Film)
Two scores: the 1993 Pierre Oser score (piano, clarinet, cello) and the 2004 Neal Kurz score (piano)
Full-length audio commentary by Casper Tybjerg, Dreyer scholar with the University of Copenhagen, Denmark
A 26-minute illustrated audio interview with Dreyer from 1965
A reprint of Tom Milne's The world inside from 1971; Jean Renoir's 1968 tribute Dreyer's Sin; a translation of the original 1924 Danish programme, stills, and a new 80th anniversary essay by carldreyer.com's Nick Wrigley
This disc includes US transfer of the main feature
This disc includes European transfer of the main feature
Full Screen 1.37:1
B & W
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
Not the Dreyer you're looking for
- Michael review by VW
If you loved The Passion of Joan of Arc and Vampyr and are hoping this film will be just as good as them then you're in for a disappointment. If you're hoping for a silent gay love story then you'll be disappointed too. This is a pretty run of the mill silent movie with little flair or touches of Dreyer magic. The gay theme is pretty thin too. Yes there's a hint of something sexual between the patron and his protégé but blink and you'll miss it. If it hadn't had the Dreyer name attached this would never have been restored and re-released. I feel it's been somewhat oversold.