director: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
alternative titles: Eine Tragödie am Rande der Wirklichkeit, Schrecken
'Der Januskopf' is an adaptation of the Stevenson novel 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' (1886). To avoid having to pay for the rights of the original, all the names were changed. Dr. Warren invents a serum that makes it possible to separate the evil and good sides of humanity. He tries it out on himself, with horrific consequences. His evil half frees itself, becoming 'Mr. O’Connor', a man capable of the most horrific crimes. With the help of an antidote a transformation back to Dr. Warren is possible but the inventor repeatedly feels himself attracted to the devilish potion. Finally, the transformation begins to take place of its own accord. As the antidote runs out and it becomes impossible to make any more, he can only take on the figure of Warren one last time. He decides to confess everything to his friends in a letter and bring his life to an end. With his very last breath, he again becomes Mr. O’Connor. In his hands, he holds the solution to the riddle.
Adapted from sources presented on this website, with additional information from:
Lotte H. Eisner, 'Murnau: Der Klassiker des Deutschen Films', 1967
Ilona Brennicke, Joe Hembus, 'Klassiker des Deutschen Stummfilms 1910-1930', Munich: Goldmann , 1983
City of Bielefeld, 'Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau 1888 - 1988', Bielefeld: Bielefelder Verlagsanstalt, 1988
Fritz Göttler, Frieda Grafe, Wolfgang Jacobsen, Enno Patalas etc., 'Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau', Munich (etc.): Hanser, 1990
Hans Helmut Prinzler (ed.), 'Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau: ein Melancholiker des Films', Berlin: Bertz , 2003
Screenplay: Hans Janowitz; based on 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886).
Director of Photography: Karl Freund, Carl Hoffmann.
Camera Assistant: Robert Baberske.
Set Design: Heinrich C. Richter.
Cast: Gustav Bolz, Jaro Fürth, Danny Gürtler, Wilhelm Kaiser-Heyl, Margarete Kupfer, Hans Lanser-Rudolff, Bela Lugosi, Marga Reuter, Margarete Schlegel (Grace aka Jane), Magnus Stifter (Utterson, Warren's friend and lawyer), Conrad Veidt (Dr. Warren / Mr. O'Connor).
Production Company: Lipow-Film, Berlin, for Decla-Bioscop AG, Berlin.
Producer: Erich Pommer, Lipowetzki.
Length: 6 acts, 2222 m (before censorship), 2221 m (after censorship).
Format: 35 mm, 1:1.33.
Picture/Sound: b/w, silent.
Censorship Details: 21 Aug 1920, B.00332, ban for young people.
Preview: 28 April 1920, Berlin.
Première: 26 Aug 1920, Berlin (Marmorhaus).
Adapted and enlarged from:
Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen
Any information on the film or its whereabouts? Please contact me at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Federico Striuli, 29.09.2009
Wikipedia suggests that the film may be the first to ever feature hand-held camera movement due to a note in the script that the camera should follow a character up a flight of stairs.
Ernest Tremper, 25.10.2011