© 2012 William Ahearn

“The Spiders: The Diamond Ship” was also extremely popular. It continued the story of Kay Hoog and his battle with the Spiders over a Buddha-head diamond that will lead to the conquest of Asia by whomever possesses it. The reason that the third and fourth installments never materialized had to do with problems within Decla-Film — the production company — and not the quality or success of Lang’s films.

These days the two hour-long films are shown as a single film and the general consensus is that the first hour is far superior to the second. In the case of “The Spiders: The Golden Lake,” Lang had time to prepare and to scout locations. The second film “The Spiders: The Diamond Ship” was rushed to cash in on the success of the first film and suffered from being studio-bound and being far more chatty than the first.

Tom Gunning, the author of The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity, takes a divergent view:

“Few critics, however, have seemed to notice the emergence of Lang as a truly innovative sensation-film-maker with the second ‘Spiders’ film, ‘The Diamond Ship.’ […] But it is precisely from the exoticism of both ‘The Golden Sea’ and ‘Harakiri’ that ‘The Diamond Ship’ departs in order to create the first of Lang’s truly modern thrillers.” 

 

That’s a hard case to make with a film that features underground cities and other images and scenes from the serials. (See attached video.) As we shall see, the exorcism of exotica in “The Golden Ship” was merely temporary and Lang would drift back to the “sensation-film” throughout his career. Lang was an eclectic filmmaker and would use similar scenes in completely different contexts. The underground city in the sequel to “The Spiders” isn’t in any way analogous to the underground city of “Metropolis” and rooms and caves filling with gas or water varies in how it is used depending on the film.

The film was successful, yet Lang was dissatisfied with Decla-Films and he left to work with Joe May who would introduce Lang to Thea von Harbou who would become Lang’s collaborator for the rest of Lang’s German career.

 

Produced by Erich Pommer for Decla-Bioscop. Directed and written by Fritz Lang. Cinematography by Karl Freund. Art Direction by Otto Hunte, Carl Ludwig Kirmse, Heinrich Umlauff, Hermann Warm. Starring Carl de Vogt, Ressel Orla, Georg John, Lil Dagover
           

Das wandernde Bild (1920)

 

 

The Spiders: The Diamond Ship (1920) (Die Spinnen, 2. Teil - Das Brillantenschiff)