The Crimson Playgoer
"Power" is a Picture of Touching Beauty and Profoundly Moving Strength
It is not for these columns to attempt anything so hollowly pretentious as a "criticism" of Graumont's superb film, "Power." Suffice it to say that this picture comes mighty close to marking the very peak of cinema achievement. Lion Feuchtwanger's magnificent novel "Macht" has been worked into a movie of truly gigantic proportions, a profoundly stirring and stimulating drama of that complex and fascinating thing which is the very soul of man. Love, power, lust, all the many facets of human emotion are here portrayed with an insight and an almost Biblical beauty. This is stark, feeling drama consummately acted and constructed by the pen of man who speaks from the abyssmal depths of soul-stirring experience. As Jew Suss, Conrad Veidt outdoes himself in a burst of histrionic magnificence rarely the fortune of the screen to present.
There have been other good films centering about the struggle of an Hebrew to raise himself above the despised position which an ever intolerant society has stamped upon the race, but there never has been one which possessed the strength and beauty which "Power" presents. After a plodding, unceasing rise to power, the Jew Suss learns that he is not really Hebraic, his father having been a prominent Christian soldier. This discovery does not break his resolve, and to the bitter end, through a mass of trials enough to overwhelm any but the superhuman, Suss holds to his adopted race. His predominance has become too great and in a final scene of haunting beauty he is sacrificed to the restless demand for vengeance upon the oppressors of the people.