Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Spies 1928


Directed by Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang’s delirious 1928 epic of espionage, opium, fiendish gadgetry and sexual intrigue set the template for virtually every spy movie for the next 80 years. Accompanied by visiting UK piano legend Neil Brand.

178 minutes 35mm / B&W



Erich Pommer


Fritz Lang
Thea von Harbou


Fritz Arno Wagner

Art directors

Otto Hunte
Karl Vollbrecht


Ruldof Klein-Rogge (Haghi)
Gerda Maurus (Sonya Baranilkowa)
Lien Deyers (Kitty)
Louis Ralph (Hans Morrier)
Craighall Sherry (Burton Jason/Miles Jason)
Willy Fritsch (No. 326)
Paul Hörbiger (Franz, the chauffeur)
Hertha von Walther (Lady Leslane)
Lupu Pick (Doctor Masimoto)
Fritz Rasp (Colonel Jellusic)


A banner event for lovers of Fritz Lang (M, Metropolis), machine-age decadence, or just plain pulse-pounding entertainment: the New Zealand Film Archive has imported from Germany a gorgeously restored print of the film that set the template for virtually every spy movie for the next 80 years. Neil Brand will provide piano accompaniment to match Lang’s delirious epic of espionage, opium, fiendish gadgetry, and sexual intrigue. The film’s reptilian master criminal, Haghi, doubles as respected director of an international bank and evil mastermind – the head of a spy ring specializing in the theft of government documents. — BG

“The exploits of the evil genius Haghi represent… criminality almost in the abstract, and plunge the movie into a delirium of disguises, deaths, double-motives, and labyrinthine tricks. The tone is somewhere between true pulp fiction and pure expressionism, and the result remains wholly thrilling.” — Tony Rayns, Time Out Film Guide