(Three reels of approximately 3,000 feet, July 15, 1913)
Like many films from this era, the original print was tinted with various
colors for different scenes. Thanks to the Library of Congress, the tint log
from the original nitrate print was made available from which this black &
white copy was
edited to imitate the rich colors audiences enjoyed in 1913.
Directed by Lucius J. Henderson. Scenario (uncredited) based
opera by Richard Wagner.
The story, set in medieval Germany, tells of chivalry,
mythology and magic (with skillful in-camera tricks), love’s redemption, and
Though different in spelling and pronunciation, Thanhouser’s
adaptation of “Tannhäuser” was probably inevitable. The opera, with original
libretto and music by Wagner, based on traditional legends, was the first
Wagner opera seen in the United States and enjoyed great popularity
throughout the opera world. A subsequent non-musical English verse stage
version was very popular in England and the U.S.
The story, set in medieval Germany (Thuringia), tells of
chivalry, mythology and magic (with skillful in-camera tricks), love’s
redemption, and tragedy.
The scantily-clad wood nymphs and the passion between
Tannhäuser and Venus, tame relative to the demands of the story, are early
examples of censor-testing cinematic expression. Although those freedoms
were noted in the press, there is no record of any attempted censorship of
At the beginning of 1913, Thanhouser, now a Mutual Film
Corporation company, leased facilities in Los Angeles and equipped them for
full-service studio production with the intent of making movies for a new
Mutual brand, Royal. The Royal brand did not happen, and Thanhouser ended up
using the Los Angeles facility for films in its own schedule. Tannhäuser
was produced in Los Angeles, as the treeless mountain landscape reveals.
This film Copyright © 2011
Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc.
Copyright © 2007 Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc., All rights