Treasures Indeed

Europa Film Treasures is a wonderful on-line film resource consisting of material drawn from 31 European film archives from across the continent. The website would merit constant visits under any circumstances, but the latest addition to their library is genuinely exciting: a nearly 15-minute clip from F.W. Murnau's long-lost first film, Marizza, the Smuggler's Madonna. Based on the evidence available there, there doesn't appear to be much of the remarkable fluidity that distinguishes Murnau's best work, but the film is surprisingly modern-looking, shot through with a startling sensuality. The plot is a wildly complicated variation on Carmen, with the seductive title character juggling suitors while aiding the local freebooters. Karl Freund's cinematography is shimmering in the best-preserved footage and one only wishes the whole thing were here.