Three and a Half Tombs: Filming Thea von Harbou's
The Indian Tomb (Das indische Grabmal)

by John Mucci and Richard Felnagle

A four-part study of changing tastes in literature and film, this illustrated essay examines both the novel and the films that were made from it, from 1918 to 1960. This essay incorporates insights from the newly translated novel.
Part One: The novel (1918 - 1920):

Beginning with background information on Thea von Harbou's writing career, this section describes the circumstances under which the novel came to be written and how it was selected to be filmed by producer Joe May. 

Part Two: Silent films in the Weimar Era (1920-1921)


A scene-by-scene comparison of the 1921 film version with the novel. An analysis of the contributions made both by Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou to the resulting screenplay, plus an explanation of how the actual filming of that screenplay affected their lives.

   
Part Three: Sound films during the Third Reich (1938-1939)

A history of Richard Eichberg's version of the film, made during the Nazi period, and a discussion of the reasons for this versions' contuing popularity with German audiences. Detailed summary of the film and how it deviated from von Harbou's novel.
Part Four: Films from an International Consortium (1956 - 1960)

How Friz Lang was persuaded by German producer Artur Brauner to do a German-language remake of the film. Scene-by-scene analysis of the film and how it incorporated elements from von Harbou's novel and from Eichberg's film. Finally, the story of the butchered American release, known as ​Journey to the Lost City.