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"The Spiders" (1919-1920) Fritz Lang

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

“The Spiders” was a 1919-1920 two-part German Expressionist film directed by Fritz Lang. One part entailed the main character, Kay Hoog competing with a gang called “The Spiders”, on a quest to find the lost Inca Civilization (Part 1: The Golden Sea) and recovering The Buddha diamond (Part 2: The Diamond Ship). These two parts were intended to be shown in two separate viewings because the plots are completely different with very little overlap. Lang also was considering this being a four-part series, but parts 1 and 2 were only viewed and created.

Lang created spectacular scenes of the Inca Civilization in Part 1 that showed pyramids, steps, and an underground pond. It showed authentic scenery that many people had never seen before and it helped viewers connect with the story. Lang continued to show different scenes of the Inca Civilization to educate readers how the Inca lifestyle was back during their times. In one scene, Kay Hoog was at a pond, and a snake came out to attack Princess Naela (of the Inca Tribe) and he shot the snake to save her. Montages of the Inca Civilization were used until the journey reached to the water, where Kay Hoog returned back to the mainland onboard The Diamond Ship. The Diamond Ship foreshadowed what potentially could be the main idea for part 2. At the end of the mission, Kay Hoog brought Naela back to America, but she was killed by the Spiders later on. Lang used montage to provide a lot of action for the viewers to make it easier to follow.

Lang continued his use of setting up spectacular scenes in Part 2. Some of the scenery included the Buddhist Temple, the death craters, Chinatown and the underground city. Those examples of scenery educated viewers what Buddhist life was like. Part 2 had a completely different plot but the only thing that remained the same was Hoog’s conflict with the spiders and finding the Diamond Ship, which was introduced at the end of Part 1. Part 2 continued to display several montages of the second quest, which was very similar to Part 1. The only flashback illustrated in Part 2 was shown at the beginning, which recreated the ending of Part 1. Following the flashback, montages of different scenes were successfully used to show the many different actions to show the viewers that The Spiders, Kay Hoog and the Buddhist were all finding the stone. Later on, there was a transition from Kay Hoog being trapped in the water to a new setting two days later. Following that scene, recovering the Buddhist Diamond was stated to be the key mission for Kay Hoog as well as to defeat The Spiders and to save his partner’s daughter who was the kidnapped by the Spiders. The use of montage continued to provide a lot of action that was intended for viewers to feel the mood throughout the mission of how chaotic everything was.

The scenery and montage shots used by Lang allowed the viewers to put themselves in the movie where there was a lot of action provided. The actions made the film more interesting to follow than a typical film where montages are less frequently used.

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