Josef von Sternberg

The Case of Lena Smith

Edited by Alexander Horwath and Michael Omasta

Austrian Film Museum

Josef von Sternberg

Pub Date: May 2008

ISBN: 9783901644221

304 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $32.50£28.00

Josef von Sternberg

The Case of Lena Smith

Edited by Alexander Horwath and Michael Omasta

Austrian Film Museum

In his 1929 Hollywood production The Case of Lena Smith, director Josef von Sternberg vividly brought to life his youthful memories of the turn of the 20th century through the story a young woman fighting the oppressive class system of Imperial Vienna. Critic Dwight Macdonald called it “the most completely satisfying American film I have seen.” And yet, only a short fragment survives.

Assembling 150 original stills and set designs, numerous script and production documents and essays by eminent film historians, the book reconstructs one of the legendary lost masterpieces of the American cinema. It also includes essays by Janet Bergstrom, Gero Gandert, Franz Grafl, Alexander Horwath, Hiroshi Komatsu and Michael Omasta, a preface by Meri von Sternberg, as well as contemporary reviews and excerpts from Viennese literature of the era.
These images show that Sternberg was already at the absolute zenith of his shimmery mise-en-scène powers...and that should be enough to embolden readers to plummet into these dreamy pages with the conviction they're going to a better place. Guy Maddin, Film Comment
A treasury of a book. Film Quarterly
A must for any serious film library. H-Net
A fascinating anthology. Moving Image Source
The treasure trove goes on and on, attractively and cleanly displayed. Sight & Sound