The Tiger of Eschnapur

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The Tiger of Eschnapur
Der Tiger von Eschnapur | Fritz Lang, 1959
West Germany/France/Italy | Format: 35mm | 101 minutes

After his long and prolific Hollywood career, Fritz Lang (M, Metropolis) returned to his native Germany at the behest of producer Artur Brauner and embarked on an ambitious two-film project that would eventually become known as his “Indian Epic.” The source material was the novel The Indian Tomb by Thea von Harbou, a book Lang had initially been hired to direct as a silent film in 1921, before being fired and replaced with Joe May. In the first of the two films, The Tiger of Eschnapur, Lang tells the story of a German architect (Paul Hubschmid) who arrives in India to build a temple for a Maharaja, whereupon the he promptly falls in love with the Maharaja’s intended bride (Debra Paget), whom he narrowly saves from becoming the titular tiger’s latest meal. Impeccably directed on a modest budget, en route to a thrilling cliffhanger ending, Lang’s late-career triumph proves the old adage that the enemy of art is the absence of limitations.

“In 1959, The Tiger of Eschnapur, per Fritz Lang ‘a cast-iron mass,’ defined and confirmed if necessary our convictions.”—Pierre Rissient

Image courtesy of CCC FILMKUNST/RIZZOLI/REGINA / THE KOBAL COLLECTION

Series: NYFF50: Men of Cinema: Pierre Rissient and the Cinema Mac Mahon

Venue: Howard Gilman Theater

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