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Introduction Standing Outside the Films: Emblems
Hilf mir nur me;nc Rolle zurikk.k.'cn. bi, zu 'n;' "elb~t I zu ereileri. aber ich laur irnrn er vcr rn ir her und m ei n Na m e h in ter drei n . Help me read my role b.ckv-a,.d~, till I reach my,;elr'1 _I See. th ere Jam trying to ea leh rnvsel r. bu I 1 • m .I",a';" 'U n n ing ahead of me .nd my name behind .Sieh, d. su<:he ich mieh

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And '0. my life is e ,unning ."'ay. and 1105. everything. nd evervthing is left to oblivion or to the other man. Jorge Lu is Bor ge.<. 'Bo rg.~ • n;:l M vsel

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The In.lcribed/lmprinting

Hand

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The screen offers us an image, somehow standing outside or o'n the cusp of Ike film which is beginning to unroll, A graphic drawing of a hand rea9he, rewa rds us showing it. palm. on which the simple title of Frill Lang's most famous film '.' inscribed,

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avoid mentioning L...e BeaH..t wiJl be c• . or a .. CO" n ec ti ng them to an en unc: atmg labour. .. Rather than deraili ng La. to plot the . Lang'. Lang stands out in film hi. Lang pointed out in interviews that the M inscribed in the palm simply traces over an M already imprinted on the humin hand from birth. in. ker. The critique of .pew of IUffer.. the crowd into which he had previou51y disappeared. do Lang's ~I rns imprint him on the audience.terpret. epitomised In the many stories describing him. .. a. Lang's film works both to establish and to blur ~ategories: between the police and th~ criminal. the image of the hand serves a transfer between the marker lind the marked.. during his later career in Hollywood..10 r"ck up on the reversal suggested by this image of the imprinting hand whICh first must be marked itself .. pronouncing it borb rnethndologically. fael.in what way.· . a..I. or looms over. Ih a nth.. with these film. Alfred Hitch...... ose ~xistcne~ .ng '"teracllon WIth text.. ture silhouette.l opened up new perspectives On Lang·s lif. AJth ough we cannot iden Ii fy wi tt.' eviden t in its com promise..m.!tempt 10 exert a simiJar degree of control over his Hollywood lilm~ is equally "'eli. To do 50.ng·s life and ti meso I w a n t to ca pture the way Lang en ters h is own film~. B. The M proclaims Beckert's identity as th~ murderer. Mllrdtrl. but in dose-ups of hands. Us the convu lsed and deformed hInds of German Expressionist paintings and graphies: its gesture . then. ther con torted depict ion. u if th e letter inscribed on it "'Cr! a woun d.. a hint ofwhot is to corne. or our careful viewing of them. ~ng. The NMUrc o] Il.. d . This book w ill not b.expression: suspect because it staked a meaningful interpretation on <1 'theologleal account of the author·as·crealor.Ihow his 0"'l1 hand (presuming hi... a common bond between murderer and pursuer. Th e mark tha t has such a fa tal consequen ce for H iI n s Betkert in th is film is i mark we aU share.11 tn esc name.nds out in its non-photographic quality 15 iI visual em bl em u nderlyin g .I.". forging an ima ge 0 f himself wh ich sla nds beh in d. cerl~i nty ... ~hich treated fi. This figure of La ng seems to be.) ..on of ~ Aim.g on the . anecdote is true).t writi .k. This hand ". a book that tries to tackle Ihe issue of directors Hyle <1 nd authorship in ~ somewhat novel manner. the lines imprinted on the palm which occult science allows us to i.' kn 0"'" n. iu&! identified by the blind balloon seller as the child murderer the wt. u • ptl ratext.de.arka. driving actors 1nd technicians to extraordinary acbieverne . iden t ity as a film. various collabora tors. create the ~gure of Lang as much as vice ver sa. th e bcu ndory between the text a.."1"I.lm studies .oei.:n was lau"..control CO er hIS european films-is legendary.& the man pretends to stumble against him..ding it.uthor~hip whi. we a re in the lim ina] space tha t introduces n ea rly every film.1 we ar~ . identifies the M with the tradi tional sign of fate. cock. like a credit .ntly ..' Ih. Lang's assertion of . But what do I mean by the 'figure' of La ng~ I do not si mply mea n th e biological.. hich "knowledge that the fiaional world ..ng. bi ographic penon. therefore.... it antidpalca a moment in ""hich the criminal5 pursuing Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre).(er of guilt... is the sign of singularity.. on film history' This is. produced by a n U mbe r of people. igh Iy in fluenced by Lang and wt.'ugge~1 a large n u rnber of rJlc (heme. . whose energy should not he froun by being 'eferred bHK to a n aut h ori ta tive sou rce.."d idenlity. Lang has !ndtuted that he made frequent appearances in his own films. as It. at way did Lang irnprrrit himself in h h" films .ng the "ames of the fiJm'. Th e cr. recent biography of Lang. set designers a . biolegical. therefore. It rec. He abou t to see was .. But wheren everyone's fite is different . one of them inscribes the palm 0 f his own hand with a la TgC wh ite M in ~ha tk (M for murderer. it is not unlikely that il is actually Lang·~ hand which is marked with chalk in M.. Bu lit is • sou rce wt. biographi~i will be produced. figure Iike an M. the tr a . graphic image other letrers 'ppeH.. fa$hion in g for hi msel f hi.the single letter M. . Bu t even • passi n ~ stu dy 0 f Lan g also revel.. the Inlerpl~l' of individu .. love and success .nly '. not the murderer's hand.1 ra 110 thi~ book: inscription . .. form.. but rather that of the min who marks him. tory. view of the au thor precluded a more progressive _assumption . nd docs not rca IJy seem to m a ke a generous gesture of offeri"g to the audience.. bi ogr a phi CaI person Fri t z Lang . more. hieh they derive.tion.. the man sought throughout the film.(.n g.. 1& over thi. ~t.se~ucn ceo part of his fiJ rns. This chalk mark is then transferred 'onto Beckert's shoulder a.l. prim.biguous ~gure of Lan g himself and hIS presence In hlS films.y of g~Slurc'. But in its r. 'ncludlng directors of photoguphy. a practice we more often associate with a di rector t.< ~nd Ing5. Naive because it Iacked a tru e lJ nd e 'Ita n din g of the Hollywood mode of production and the constraints placed on a director's . of /vi.s indicated by the fiJms (h ernse lves: a sou rce we find only by readi ng backward. a" d defeats a. it displays itself . whose "arne. u. standing in for .. i!y. of guilt.. from them. mo re a I' dies.. perhap~ mO$t import.«reen declue.. to ~ source from . Ine body as a sign. and r feel Sure « a. would envy and try to emulate. ole city is pursuing. the> ""bigui.. the guilty and the innocent. perhaps questioning and modi fying McGdltga n..TOotr and mass alllh ese are Iheme' Ihat iMer!"Wine in Lang·. The mark.lm directors as authors. • nd th erefore become. ferentiation..... his film~ and the d iscourses su rroundi ng them. of single eh... . of the director maintaining con t rol over Ihe 1 P~oduct. this boo. M ichel Fouca ult and Pete r Wollen. As an emblem for the film. in any sense a biogr~phy.intersect to form..< Ihroughom hIS c. There is another reference contiined in this marked and marking hand. as a t. mark Beckert in order not to lose sigh t of him in the city nigh t.".. the normal and the insane.d it. This opening image and it. re beli~vcd to encode and reveal an individual's destiny _ the figure of the M is nearly universal..ough the lilms. almost in a gesture of supplies tion or IU rren der.d the world aurrou . Thea von H Hbou.d.. Eve n tually Lang m . ich of the dose -ups 0 r h hands in Lang'5 films rand there arc many of them) actually .those which chiromancy claims stand for life. ose success La ng. It il i5 though th e hand offers th e fil m to us in th is cred it sequence.· The figure of La ng I seek to tra ce is co'" ti t u ted by an exch. Hi. <T •.or .~tors playing characters in his film. nge be tween this actual h i~ toric~ 1 person ~n d the fi1rns he made. of being picked out from the crowd.. Patrick McGilligan·.l of 1'0 me pr i..tehing 'ein Fril~ Lang film·). Is th e vi ta I role h is co U a bora tors played in his fiIms... therefore. appearances remain in onymous.. as much as a dif. The three major lines of the palm . bOlt.elf. f~.t. Such . lf we ~pproach authorship in term. In .and the differing lengths and shapes of these lines . But whereas Hitchcock's appearances emphasised his highly recognisable figure. But the hand that is inscribed with the M is. Rather. . th e h. 31Veand ideolcgica lly suspect.t. yet al&o outside them. to use Geurd Generte's term.hed in the 60s and 70s in literature and fi.. In'lead the credits open wilh the I ...< in its sucee~ses. o{ the makers oft h is film. u nderm i I' ed t he {"Jute '" theory. He appears not as I fa'e..rge.. branded on the palm like an archaic punishment As emblem of the fUm's slOry. 0 h directed these films and with whom I once spent an evening i" 1969.. La...Iign~lled by key rerrs from Rolan d Barth es. an insi gni. ha. .ng as director (~Ithough Ihe fir. the credits wh ich serve. no'" appear before us. h IS screenwriter and .. lifting him from the crowd of anonymous backs Ihl one might pass in a city street.lity a "d unive: .• hand raised..thai meaning is made by readers a nd viewers in an ongo.

But the final version reverses these and describes man's aid ~om~ng from God's being missed.hieh cla. a new scriptwriter (Michel Pic..."".h :II 'h.Slh...INIWUUUl.. 'Naturally.... '1 like gods. Inscribed on the wall is a quote attributed (possibly spuriously) to Louis Lumihe: 'the cinema is an invention without a Nture'.isc· tn-setne did not simply add something to the words.lcnce of the author.n n Ei nliil m .. tic n 0 f .. ffen b" uch t. including Palancc's parody of Myron's sculpture. 'But it'.e had with Eddie Mannix..hkh the Ibliiln poet placed his forebear's hero in the Inferno and had him recount the voyage hc undertook after hi.l ..<imDlicity protects him.. now making I film of Homer's OdYHCY in Cinecitta for p.d reported in interviews.. And a... After knocking can$ of film across the room.. '''''ong number).I many critics h.ct ""ith the text.. d er M.• quote Ira".I IKVUUI.hllo.. es 5(.viving scripts of Lang's Hollywood films make de". c'est l'absence de Dieu qui rassure I"homme' (it is no longer t.ns like an unanswered pbone call (in Gum"n ~ Fe~II"1T'Jr..the classica] Greek statue. the producer of his "rst Hollywood film.. the gods have not crea led men.. how lileral this authorship was.on by kiTing Paul laval.. The uquence in the screening room centered around the 'epr~senl~lion of gods ilnd heroes.d Fr("l'" Nozi Reich Mar.. Qf'\.om this wo rld. ':with ung'. VJhen Prokcsch trit. sec announced e on the marquee of. The sequence conloins many references to Lang's career. Perhaps there is no better exploration of the paradoxes of film authorship than the . his attempt to control in detail the image is it appears on the screen. v~ hi~1I ~s credil~ for that film).. ce n est plus la presence du Dieu.lm caM.. 'Nhen I hear Ihe w ord culture.. don't forget.ley directed by 'Lang' ~ppear only as statues: immobil e: i ne r t.n Ihil lequence _ Ihe th re e Ian..ibt aber. The 5Ur. t ra nsla res for Pa u I as "Tant que D. 00 er es "'U".:. The Ii1m screened.' Prokosch reacts by flinginll more ti.. iI. guage. through il . o"'n eopy of the script to the producer... th~ deal by "'ritins • ~heque on t he back of 1..j.edly directed by Lang.. uthor is . Myron'5 Oiscw Tltraw~~ (Lang comments: 'Finally you get the feel of Greek culture').. Rossellini's Voyage to flaly (a fiJm . texts written over other texts creating new meanings from the superim· position of old ones...n the "1m and the plot of which. author's final a".the reader...~".I!..n Ihe !t~t. because in the scrip t il is written and on the screen it'. declHing. .'.oduur leremy Prokoseh (rock Palance). Lang states: HI:i!derhn changed the verse to '50 lange der Gort uns .1 Hermann G("Ic"ing ..~::II.e~ ne fait pas defaut' (as long as God does not fail him).h. But the dialogue also makes in essential claim . mOSI complex quotation ... German. .pt's . I da 151 whtch Fran cesca.u...making us ~wa re of the varied texture of hngu..r. $0 lange..l absence as an essenli.l from the OdYl..(~el\ini.t IS very .. flip.l own script.~ .he ist' (as long as God 1. wndem ~s. he ual..... resonates with eol1'e".I IUN to circumvent Lang's dircct. with sketches conveying the framing and even the gestures of the actors. tni'~~' M'''dlo'!>'' ~.peok. . French a nd !:. bis Genes Feh] hilft.lmulates a thicket of references and quotations. opening up the film (and the viewer) to non-verbal meanings. Besides quoting Lang's life (or accounts of his life). FIJ'·Y. 'You cheated me.. motion pictures it's called. ords. but true'.1 "Iat. Cireful diagrams showing the camera anglC5 and camera movement within the set. but from Dante .ve pointed out. Pu r.'~'~~=""""""--"""""-------""""-""""--------_\IRII!II _ .llUN film viewers. The sequence re-stages an encounter Lang claims h.. .. not what you have on that screen. Here "'e encounter Lang's own claim to being an \ alltell'. The search for the author takes place in • labyrinth in which at timu even the "1m director himself may hove lost hi. man has crea led the gods: Th is is more tha nasi m pie state men t of Feuerbach..... revolv es around his serne of their po ... Scenes from a cinematic ... al th ough suppo.. this control over ".n (he . Conlrary to the approach to th~ au Ihor tb at Banhe. a chain reaction of reinterprete tion and visualisation. Prckosch intones.in . yelling.n some se nse the ere... ould later use the cheque..cene he lihot WIS not in the script.. w~y. La n g concludes.h .. they inter.. Then. The words were a libretto for whkh Lang supplied a fuU orchestration into images. nil Weapon he needs.. But perhaDs Ih. his failure (Gottes Feh!) or as Lang savs in French. about lilm authorship: it is not the script. however. . 'V.0 threatened.'---=.i t is the absen ce a f God th a I reassu res Man)." Ih e .' written fo! the ~Iar~ and tcchnic .reening room sequence in Godard's CMtt"'pl in which Fritz Lang plays 'Fritz Lang·. Lang w... 'Ierry.I. ns of To". ~ift 10 the cud~r.. The key instil nee involves a struggle for control over the film (and the nature of Ii. Lang's contribution is alchemitd. prokosch bears down on Lang. the paths of the actors..".. r ted f.l to uncover the fun prc.1.trange. . so likewi&e. \Nh en • copy a f the script is brought to Prokoleh h. i~ this more (("I'''plu theology(o! theory of read<ngl offered by Holderlin and Lang r 0' Gcds rd) absence becom.biguou~._. The Ii~i ng presen ce oft he gods h as dep. in which he made ~lms . like human 15m or a theism.. Fritl: daiminll the . 'l Therefore Lang is playing (or replaying) It' Fritl Lang based on hi.~e.on 10 his ereaticn. T take cut my pistol.-. we receive Horner's OdYll~Y as passed do""n through several hands: Dante's sequel . The gods shown e In these rushe.. that Lang has authored..lhen I he~r the word cultur e. 01" Und keiner W.form. u rid kei "0' Listen. recalls. accompanied by Lang quoting in German verses on Odysseus . his anecdote makn clear...presence of God.• nd Ihe on. irnrnediately cautions Prckosch. if he mU'I.' f..not from Homer. aMtSlanl (God"d .. But this sequence of Godard's film also demorutrates the way a modern author (or a cinematic author: Godard as well as Lang) creates a text out of Barthes' 'fabric of quotations: The film-maker functions less u a {cTipter than a fashioner of palimpsests. t bring out my cheque boo~ .. Prokosch's ass ista nt..lm discourse) with Prckescb. but refuses 10 surrender hi.:s t Ii II .I~I"d hy Ch.m"ges behind.t ~..~t d+e Ei n hd l i h.he" lang quotes in Germ.. the gods ~re created by man from the traces.irv rem.m. the sequence actl. retu rn from Troy. !1. ~. Ihe written ._. man . e'I1kehiS chequebook wh~ch can reverse the pial of the OdYIl~Y by hiring a new ""riter. with the rnos: resonance as a n emblem for Ihe "1m director.. pictures. but transformed them. being nOI there he] 05 him.1 near 10 us).tory of the collapse of a marriage). Ie a" in g 0 n Iy thelT . d lonely Befor! God.ngli." Hl:ilderlin's verse claims the creator. Images and signs of their l'o .' Lang responds. .~d r:. As the. this time in a parody of. In this scene.. Therefore. nor su blerfuge Till God'...hu z... cene . but powerful. Gou..nd~ . bt.daptation of Homer's OdYJJq are screened.. "'i..he v~riants on the last line. Ht . to incidents thill ung himself h...5 there. imagined by the reader a. and th~1 misud oppor rur. with its arcing camera movements around ancient statues..nd gruffly admils the scene . theatre later.ge and th e need for Ira nslMI a n 1 Ihe last sta n ~~ of Fried rich Holder! in's poem Th c Poet's Vocalion': coli). I German director. th~t H!'llderlin firs! wrote '50 lange der Gatt l1Iel.o'" exactly how they fe~l: ~rok~sch's identilication with the god..tches rushes from this ftlm which he never ilctuaUy directed but his fictional chaucter of the same name within the fUm did.': Fe"less yel.' thc t~rm for. cernes .. I kr.Lang. : but their tunslation into imilges..1 Lang then discusse~ t. Man rmsses god.. Lang claims it is." lv.

I would d." FUm studies.dr a nd ou r O"'n work But what clasp is given us by th is phantom hand. The focus of my work will remain for the most part on the screen.1. its signs of localisation refer directly to the writer.HI. ' I see the author as precisely poised on the threshold of the work.t person pronoun.l· proclarnarion of the de. The hand leaves the imprint of the maker.nd in the discou .e. we encounter the la ncuaee or cirierna .' the birth of wrill ng .lse to leek the author in relation to the actua) writer as to the fictional narrator: the'outhor·function' arises out of their scisalon in the division and distance of th~ two. th of the ~uthor.. direct encounter.5 I would love to write it.< of Lang's creation a. of this struggle . to produce the author.makes a literal understanding of this imprint impossible. own voice. . makes hi.·. erase. wh ich i. nor.' and show us the wav. the adventure storv. in order to let language itself take o"~r. remains largely unexplored.' I n modern literature. the force orlanguage and WTiting itself which.. n gu. es surrounding it. Rather tMey stand for a 'second self' whose similarity to the author is never fixed and undergoes considerable a ltera tic n in th e cou rse 0 fa s.ngl. n g's life. as an assembler cf irnages and sounds.t."" I. All authored ~Im show~ the . his taste: Mis passions' Barthe.I fictional narrators. Proust and the Surrealists. 'create.im" director h .6 Between the actual writer and the ruder. manner it has been used in lilm studies. in a profound sense. Foucault calls wtili"g'.t a tternpts to emerge from anonymity.." It was often assumed any treatmen t of the au trwr muot:follo. there is no longer. eith. but rather a play of signification. set design. ". acting . a director in these credits waver-s between a claim of ownership ('a Fritz L. not sirnplv (following Peter Wollen's re~nlng of ~he ~uterH theory) considering the author.l. My expl 01' a tion of La ng will seek to un cover th is en cou n rer ""i t h fi I.. taste. It would b. "otunt~r\' o"lit("I. both in the maki~g of the ~Im . lilm" recollnting the evolution of e~ch Lang film and the var ious force.. We can {ollow Foucault in claiming that tMe biographical person in effect die . frankly. evident in the ~lm itself. absent except in the imprint left behind. from Mallarme through Kafka. book.ining a~sent. rather than exploring their production. a creature of the reader's or viewer's desire. ge. modern author dedicated not to self-expression but to tMe play of discourse. but HI imprint whkh resembles the mark left on Beckert's back.n the .on of Ih( . by writing in author splits off their o"'n words so that they take on • life of their 0"'11. Lang once characterised himself as a Handwerker. but only leaves its mark. Lang claims an important stake in his work.as much as that book needs to be written. But.r to the time that he wrote.told stories . bicgr aphv.truggle to assert authOl'ship.(h of tMe a ut hor a. La ng stands as one of the lilm . his hi. _ such as allegorv. The author.<. to ." Barthe s. a 'fabric of quotations. bu I will rather trace the way Lang as an author. and a. to become the murder~rorits author.1 '$ err-bodied in the writing. a sign heavily mediated as . Lang will never leave ~ simple fingerprint. its irnpr int i The author does not necessarily efface the reader's part: indeed...'d~ctiv. such ". his T.sees the de. ig). neither the ~r..s a name for tht svstematic nature of a grou p of rexts. one who does not express himself. as Ii"t cause andultirnate meaning of the teX'! to be discovered through the biographical aurhor'apersen. the present indicative tense.l always 'the other man' separate . performed and in some ways produc~d by collaborators. once again.'ud audiencc!.l also. is.rubric 'dieser film entste nd In gerneinsarner arbeit' ."" the naive tr ajecto ry Barthe. and passionf'. But iust as this book is not.]{" 'W'h~re a work h. the author i. well known that in. seemed to reduce tM~ process by "'hieh a reader or viewer encounters an author in a text to a hushed and submissive passivity. But the work process of 3 director of lilms . I will approach Lang as an author from thi~ perspective.I will explore the complexity of Lang's imprint on hi5 film. fact. jus: as the modern author in literature encounters the drives underl\'ing language itself. or to the specific oet of writing.th is lilm comes from a colleclive proje~t . I nstead of providing the ultima te significetion and meaning through presence. in contrast with the alienated and mechanical labour of an industrial worker. Barthes claims.• • truggle by wh ich the au thor may d iscover (a nd revea I to the viewe r) so met hi n g other than her personality or individual 'history. in film as well as literature.uthors wMo fundamwtally mflucnced the way ~Im l. The "'go" of authorship in film invites an encounter with tMe language of cinema. ing. novel narrated in the first person. Since there will be no author's hand in this maze to grasp our. Fri t l L. rt now art. all of which are contained in the writing and separate the reader from direct contact with the actual writer. through viewing his ~Ims. person behind the text. As Iorge Borges states in his sketch 'Borzes and Me'.. denounces: the author as god.ng lilm') and apparent modesty (one of a collective). an opening where the writing subject endlessly. a craftsman.(.nguage _ edil. rather than an artist. whkh is not physically present there in the text to greet the reader or viewer.' not only the birth of the .ghting. an author. the fashioning of its traditio" and hiFory. like MaIlHn. but a. created through a detailed division of labour . but rather.d the duty of creating rrn rnortali ry. for that matter. it is also not going to provide a production historv of Lang'. but also standing outside it. never lingered over these major tbecr isanons of authorship. I will not be tra ci n g these fil ms back to. or the crime narrarive and talt of detection _ Me eS""ntial P. with apparent modesty. der.sule fOl'm. As Foucault puts it: It i. As F~ucaul!"s essay'What is an Author!' makes dear (~s well a5 the WTI nngs ofhterary crrncs.'? Not "II ~I rns in"ite us to coris! r uct their" II tho" In fact. or what Wayne Booth calls theirnplied author'. the author exists as an invitation to reading.disapp~ars'. the au thor works by re~a.and "dd."" (he "ght to I(ill.tory. hand sensed within the very liJaments of the texts.. His hand beckons to us to enter his texts and lind him.. Lang once 3 ga in asserts th e pri or: ty 0 f h is own imprint on his films through keeping his hand in the process.. os f. but entices us into a maze rather than setting up . composition. Film language's encounter with and reaction to large. 0" rather . particularly relevant in a medium like film where the "auteur' rarely speaks directly in 'hi. as Foucault puts it. the authol' IS th~ one who "'l'itc. The Screening Room: 'Strange but True' from th~ living breathIng person. who have analysed the multiple registers of narration)' the author never simply speaks in their own voice. In Germany a Handwerker takes on the traditional value of direct personal involvement with production.which are cer tlinly ~mplex industrial and technological products. such as Wayne 800th. gets out of the way.' Rather than achieving direct communication with a reader.• nd of t h. wr rt er '$ scripto«. series of speakers intervene. TMe possjbility of. I would maintain. the Ftlm medium readily lends itulf to authorless disccurse.' which shiped its ~nal form . but rather indirectly rhrough sounds and images assembled..and then lim tong's name ~ rst in a long column of collaborators Lang's image of himself a. as Barthes imagines Proust giving up his life in order to produce the novel of h is Ii fe. abdicate s.i.

< to dcte . "Aer endless repetitions of the story. H cr. Not only is he the point of convergence of all his films. In other words.Nazi film . A version Lang told 10 Willi. but reassures Lang that the Fuh rer know.1 German films.no picture".. detail.'l The first version. Or his Hollywood anri-Nezi Films. provided Godard with the scenario and dialogue for many of its key scenes.r Lang's death the crack! began to appear r n thi. Mabuse. grow 10 believe il h.<e. t. McG. fee tion in La n g '. ic s l ci n em a ~ic 'torytelli n g (deve loped to p:e.' La n gin d ica tes he 0 utwardly expressed del igh I to Goebbels wh ile inw.The interview it'ld the Clock 1 claim that I can find Lang within his Films.1Inw~d .~thor stand. n g. )cwis h he r. Unable to get money from the bank he gathers a few eXpenl'ive objects (a\golden cigarette ca. t very even.thck in Berlin .. '~'lk 1111 h. on.J. r am not just reading Lang'. OT at ica!i 'n 'I. "0 i". here rendered as an autobiograph ical tale. m. Patrick McGilliga n poi n rs ou t tha t La n g 0 n Iy beg. out. I suggest. Lang'. is Godard's cha fa crers in d icate.' a big clock. doe.n scenario eclipsing the "ctual events of his or and th"eal 10 one's 50me way madf sen. total exclusion were possible) was not Fritz Lang .. a creation as much u any of his ~Ims are. In all version.nce.. a PHI of his ide"tity he r"dy mentioned and seemed un.d great sque rea o( ce me nt. In his account of the muting Lang emphasises a sense of repetition.. t h ro ugh we see the Lang. t existed . HllnK'"en also Dit and the simultaneous release of a n English-language versron of h. Fritl Lang is a construction..iligan. hard-edged geometry. to the' dc. Lang dearly appears u this figure in Godard's film: 'Fritz Lang'..hile HitleT wa s j~ PC1""T Serr-e versions recount hi.<cript. d nerna. Goebbels explains to him the need 10 ban Tnc TeH""'el1i o] Dr.' On Iy ina few vers: on." The i" rervi ew wi th Geebbels var i e. room sink. and your steps echo. t'I to tell the ta le 0 f h rs m ee tin g with Goebbels during World War II. a uthor. never to retu rn to Germa ny .. but cinematic •• nd not only cinematic. in (act. =ere very high 1. and love. and an experience of alienation that recalls the sets and '''.<h he"tag e.e''-sdl1.. a ccord in g 10 a French vers ion. like the maze of authorship in which. the I.indo"'. long office. own involvement w..e th is so rt 0 ( s to ry..' golden cha ina n d. or hiding them in a slit he cuts in the corpet) as ~e ere .m concealing these valuables 0" the trai" (Iaping them under the balh.. But things are more complex than that.gu n_s.ng firs~ told this .~jlli"g to CX\llo. u e 0 f hi.01 th. the banning of which by the NazIS supposedly precipitated the meeting with Goebbels.h he h.to'y is La n g's f. hi. ·W.. Nt~n~ibly (or. these char"cte"'stie La"g'. subternug~ identity.che 1(jne. part of a plot..z.". t .n ~Im before erik Tht TcstQ"'e. Mob.'!" L.m Friedkin for an cnrealised documentary.IJ~'~. meetings in his diaries. mark. He had already played it and. rry. French and German. tory becoming a character in a story. The ".ling of the borda that evening.'Qua res. the . wi th Goebbels resrond ing. Jvf. But 1 am not just saying that the author is immu'Ient in his texts. "Th is is the man who will give us rb e greal NHi ~ Ims. 0"'"" life.e Old Lang.. yo" couldn'llook oui or I the""'l..tory as i way of stressing hi.~". What dr~ws. backward in order to reach the real man outside the films. few devs. author in some sense merged with his films. !toTY.. as we saw." detail. 'This evening is the 1~51 moment you can be sure of getting out of Germany'). passport to the 5'linu ng Oeut. in interviews in English. Goebbel. tb erc W'. jewe Ilcry 'from i gi r I ITie nd) and the ca.. and the h. will decide wh 0 is a Jew. In versions tho t ha~e s'gnlFicant varia tions bu t 11 U 0 f wh ich seem based on the sa m e cen traJ scena rro. a"d the date was months a Aer the alleged m~eiing '-"ith Goebbels Ali McG~ligan point.' relation 10 actua I events.he.. offer to Lang to assume the leading rol~ in the development o~ N.e bee.' of Dr..~I he could safely SPend in Germ~ny. E"ery step eo hoed const.1 iLl role as an archetvpal Lang sceria rio suspense. or. But Lang did not have to wart for Godard to create this role for him.elf. the essenIi al mot if o( da . a famous German director.·nine when L~ng actuallv I. a"d that same evening Lang crossed the border: The story of Lang's escape from t.A Cermany for Fr.' OW" film.. Third Reich after a tens. which included the Minister o~ Propaganda'. wu published in 1943 as publicity material for the release of his Hollywood ann. the threshold 0 f his IiIrns r. Aft. 'bis im~gin". A key anecdote of La ng's ro le in history a ppea rs in Conte"tp I.'chol~r.rod so on. You come to another desk. a third desk and finolly to.. ulously recorded hi.m~df' 1 "m r-ot goi"g to pursue these bicgraphica) issues here. The . Th~!door opens 0" • long. then. Th e F n tz La ng th. ye tin some way a fictitious char. wh en Paul expresses his doubt to Prokosch that Lang will accept his rewriting of the Odyssey: 'In '33 Goebbels asked Lang to take over the German cinema industry... ng'-5 concern about tr~ time cernes (rom hi. sometime.. of lang'." It seems likely. but of a differen t sort than any single film.s last Germ~. . the author about whom! am writing this book. Alms ~nd has proclaimed. exec p tin 0 n e detail.d around the house and lah. scena ri o. included. a tr a in to Pa'. rra 1ion 0 ( hi! recent documentary on Lang·.$~.. rd Iy t h in ki" g in pa n ic. ng (sayi ng to him.on-~Jled meeting with Geebbels.. ge. directing them from that position. I am claiming that Fritz Lang . Nea ~Jy anyone who reads th em noti ceo a qu aU ty to the a ccoun ts th a t. t her th. that the .1' !ilm' The biographical enigmas this fabrica ti"" presents are rna ny. forms th e eye of th e h u rrica ne in recent revisi 0 n 1St acco u n IS 0 f La n g s I~fe. as J 0 rgf Dan a d escr: bes it in the n. either.<.. own life. It "'as not very . At KoIo·thirty the banks dose . Lang la ter gave increasi n gly deta iled and d ra m a tic ~eci ta t ions 0 f th e story many times. that he h u imprinted them with hi. block . The imagery suggests a labyrinth.greeable. the bordeT. is no t only d ra rna uc.uiption down th( co rrid or: quoted by of hi." 11\. Lang himself may have 10&1 his w ay: You go down long wide corridors with stone flags . The 031.tic (and cinematic) detail: a dock: 'Outside the windo".. (if such. little room and they uy. of both M and R a 'Ieho Notorious. of the discussion o( La ng's )ewi.<tory '. or .1 conceal a more ambiguous attitude towards the Nazis and Goebbels tha" rbe tale expresses ' \IIl'at about Ih. he is also a figure that existed outside them but always in relation to them. l. 'YO!] wai t he re: 50 now you are perspi ri n g • Ii ttl .' . La ng in out of n i.~ of Metropoli». bri ca t io n. 'H 0'-" dol get out of here~' " This concealed desire is briUiantly expressed in Lang'S narr ative by a"olheT ch a racteri. decision thai he must leave Germany th.nd is you come a round the coni do r the re a re ~o guys the re ~.nd 1'10'-" can I g. me to thi. use of the ~Im's ending.) -lhe deadline.'!" ' The rest of the narrative recounts Lang's nurtive and secretive (ros. n en ti rely ou tsi de them.cter as well.. rids wen t slowly round. but specificallv Langian. 'J looked at the clock again. This is a character with a his.t out of her~~ I didn't g~t out. entirely outside his film. and presen ted it to other peop Ie. L. and allhe end of the office there is Dr.. "g r a ise the is. add. Does . film. there is no record of the meeting although Goebbels mel.Ikcd and walked on these cerncn I ..th the world portrayed rn his films and as I sort of advertise men t fo r them. lit tic in the d iffe re n t vers i 0 "S.

elved to. This is not to say that Lang's films are about a Luddite struggle against machines (although Mt/Topol. This clock soppl: es the suspense of the story.. man has a fee ling 11. Bu t. the revealing image [or ". he doc. one counting the minutes. on. whose mechanical nature in most of the films remains very literal.. acting out the mechanical motions of the clock.. image of clockworks whieh suddenly snap." These gestures add i further dimension to Lang's drama: he is caught between two implacable machines. ! e~d thi~ introduction of emblem.ct. T"is origin~1 srorv by L.lees as a complex determining destiny. wly 10 in dicate the pass. vers ian a r TI.. or rather acting it out. of Lang'! autborship with lhi. his scri pts.e cornu in the slewlv revalving hands cf the clock outside th . Joseph Gcebbels..novich. less a meaning than a structure. In narrating.. not only the tyrannical svstern of Na~i power. Destiny appears in Lang'.y.. inl"v..' La"g indicote." t o] of Lang's unprcduced ""ipt. The turning h ~nds of th. In the next chapter I will discuss the role clocks play in setti ng up a ten tral device of Lang's films which I call the Destiny·machine.ng chapters 1 will show ho . ing of time and his ether arm in the opposite direction to indicate Gcebbels' ongoing speech. 1'1 g the a ppa Ten t da te of his . pa rticula rly ..150 relates Lang 10 the ""'rid outside this office.. Mot." .. day thi..: . 0 ".. like h..11 cases th e "PP Hen t maUer '5 revealed to h.r Dr.lien oul . ith th e ' 0' igi nal "''''on' of th ~ I iiIm: HI!! ."COu 1'1 ter wi th Gaebbels. In the follow." "tu a Ily a ppea red in. 1vf"l:ml~. as he revolves his arms to capture it..sthey tend to"'a rd th e ~ctio n 01) no l on ly a re char a ere rs th rea te ned by Ihe Oe~liny-machine..01 some of hi. its relentless motion 5tressil'lg Lang's 0""1'1 immobility.'" . on the one hand the unstoppable dock marking the boundaries of human social time (when banks dose. but also systems like l~e very order of la ngu age wh ich the modern author. b~tthf very act of authorship as "'ell.. a fragment which st~nds in for the whole &y&tematic nature of the modern world which Lang .ang tells the tale in German."o pe (whkh the evidence of Lang's passport.nted exactly '.u It. described by Barth es and Fou c. P~I" Bogd. and his..v. clock (McGi!1ig~ 1'1 notes th a tin the version tol d to Friedkin.onallunal!c.d Irie.. prese. serving in most cues as in obstacle. the machine is • metonymy. ~oo' . he . To define briefly a concept I will discuss in detail. or perhaps to camouflage his own more ambivalent reactions to Nilli power.. grandf'lher clock.s nct.' 10 ~"d them. The machine in Lang does stand for something beyond itself. The man becomes the clock and counts off the moments of his own fate.this systematic nature of the modern world is explored in Larlg's lilms. image of Lang.... as the madman crumbles onto the floor in... But I think we risk losing the mainspring of Lang's dramalurgy if we simply dismiss the idea of destiny in his films a..thetelack. but as a machine. his gestures not orlly inditate his own action..su. ~e he "ften recalled.I 10 I NTR 0 DUe. the Destiny-machine determines the environment in which Lang's ehaTilcten struggle.ang 'epre.ith hi..ng~ ~. Part of the drama that Lang'~ lilms enact is precisely the struggle between Ihe dalms to power of an author-like ~gure ond the real power of the impersonal system of the Destinv-rn a ch ine. The author becomes captured by his own sto. Within the "go" or struggle .1 t . Icting out the various rol .'1 inlere..lhioning 'Mecdote we find Larl!! himself pitted against the Destiny-machine. hand and orm an. The point is that for Lang destiny is not it metaphysical concept (in d "tually not a ligh t against the gods) bu tam a terial one. .. Rather ..avec/·J.. g<a"df.!itood tbe re lind who thought he "'H . an w he swmgs his a rrns like.ion of his Mabuse ~Ims and its earliest v(r. h_k~. Lang Hid the clock 'moved ""c/ moved and ".£IIpendulum _ ~ nd I di.lling . the author becomes subject to systems beyond hi.o"ght in the I.rrenders to is he vanishes.1 Lang describes in th e Bcgda novich •n I. rath er than a meta ph or for a vie"" of hu ma 1'1 na tu re or metaphysics. TI ON H Long is .<.rvie .tun. immobil ised. \Nh et h.lion . In his story L. pessib ty 35 th e on Iy way to make cogent the power the Nazi parrvheld at this moment over his identity and future as a film-maker. belles).~ Te"" ... The clock hinds tick towards 'the last moment you can be sure of getting out of Germany'.n (the lilm'. a television interview where L. . • networ~ of dock-determined deadlines .. not as a philosophy. the other voicing Nu! ideology ind offering the tern ptation of becornin g 'the Pil m Fuhrer. /vIlIb"se.uthorship often slips into an identification with the impersonal system. banal.' ... Mabuse-Iike master cr irninal) in a dissolve to . of a lu 1'1 at it he SiW in ~n asvlu m when he was nrecar- ing The Tell~'M~"r of Dr. eut tbe motion of the dock. 5 one of La ng's ~r~l Amerocan prOlfct!.ang stands fixed between these two forces.. the sense of th e need for • 1'1 . the train schedules "'hich could take him nut of Germany..13m. This corresponds in many WlIy& to the theme of fate or destiny (in CMle"'pt Lang introduces his lilm of The Odyl5ejl as the 'fight against the gods') which hu become such a clicht of Lang criticism that recent commentators have tended to treat it with scorn.Iong.ng ni.. ays W1th the ..J does drarnatise such a revolt). !n a Im 0..l'Id . This patient will only respond to one question: 'What time is it~' .. pendulu m an d . but "ere in this self-fa. r. appear in thc mO.... is prese n ted Fr nrn the poi n I of ho vtew of Dr. indow. hlch authorship imtrates. films.I .. but the motions of the Destiny-machine.....ll In the only visual version of this story I have seen..ve been a tool all .~w .. But as we have learned.. stuck in Goebbels' officeY But the dock . In Lang's ~o rld (. he inCOrpOT>led this ~gure into ~~dl!: iii mO'Vf:mcnt . Here the m.iHT"nS. or her control. But this is not simply a contest o! hero and opponent W1th the stronger force overcoming the weaker.'0 ~ e ctowl.. ccou nts of h'5 )iIe.. Lang's gesture sum mOMS . .the banks ""hkh wil\ close. and reactions.byeinth of his own storytelling. The M"" be~'n4 y"". tnins leave and humin fates are given their 'last moment' when something is possible) and the equally unstoppable machine of ideological discourse issuing from one of the key inventors of modern propaganda... with its numerous trips and returns to Ge'· many in the n'on ths follow. In h. 'Dr.. answer (like Ihe dock outside Goebbels' office): 'Too late. Lan g himsel f created this partieula r scenario. one he cDrltinued to "'or~ on throughout the )01'..hich includes "is lirl ished fi1 rns. mechanical progression.n-doc~ is..<ent~ h •• attempl to make • n Amer~can ver. m med ia tc e.<On Ih. ~ lit.r Or not Ih is Iigu TO '''.

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