Siegfried Slays the Dragon

Fritz Lang’s 1924 Die Nibelungen: Siegfried — or at least the first Canto: “How Siegfried Slayed the Dragon” — probably should appear on any list of giant monster films, though of course many such lists exclude dragons as such. At any rate, here is the Dragon sequence:

The dragon isn’t Godzilla-sized but it’s no midget either. Not bad SFX, considering it was done using full-size puppetry.

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5 Responses to Siegfried Slays the Dragon

  1. chrisbarnes says:

    Thanks for posting that, Rob. I didn’t know Lang did any movies of the Ring Cycle. That’s a pretty impressive dragon puppet!

  2. Backbrain says:

    I thought the breathing movements of the opening segment in particular — the slight shifts of the head, the way the eyes move, the saliva dripping from its jaws — gave it a remarkable realism.

  3. Tim says:

    A good portion of this sequence was featured in a 1999 DVD documentary, “Godzilla and Other Movie Monsters.” If you actually pick it up you’ll notice several inaccuracies concerning Godzilla, however they do have detailed drawings of the dragon’s schematics that appears to be legit.

  4. Maria says:

    Just two pedantic comments…

    Can you say ‘slayed’ in English? Shouldn’t it be ‘Siegfried SLEW the dragon’? Or is it an old form?

    And @ chrisbarnes, the Ring legend is not as such a ‘cycle’, that’s just the way Wagner’s version took shape. He based his opera cycle on the ‘Nibelungenlied’ (Lay of the Nibelungs), a verse novel written by an unknown author about 1210. And also on Norse mythology, which is conserved in various forms from, I believe, the 12th century onwards. The Norse variety of Siegfried’s name is Sigurd Fafnersbane, as such he is known in Scandinavia.
    Love the old lyrical material, it’s very beautifully written. Horrifying dragons and other monsters.

    • Backbrain says:

      You’re quite right, Maria. “Slew” is the past tense of “to slay”, not “slayed”. “Slayed” isn’t given as an archaic form of “slew” in my Oxford Dictionary, though it is possible that it has been used that way. At any rate “slayed” is used in this translation of the intertitles, so that’s why it’s used here. I guess the translator got it wrong.

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