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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:12 am 
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F.W. Murnau (1888 – 1931)

FILMOGRAPHY

Der Knabe in Blau (Emerald of Death) (1919)

Satanas (1920)

Der Bucklige und die Tänzerin (The Hunchback and the Dancer) (1920)

Der Januskopf (1920)

Abend – Nacht – Morgen (1920)

Der Gang in die Nacht (The Dark Road) (1921)

Sehnsucht (Desire) (1921)

Schloss Vogeloed (The Haunted Castle) (1921)

Marizza (1922)

Der Brennende Acker (Burning Soil) (1922)

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu) (1922) Kino (R1)* / Eureka (R2 UK) / Divisa (R2 ES) / Films Sans Frontières (R2 FR) / Masters of Cinema (R2 UK) – release date tba

Phantom (The Phantom) (1922) Flicker Alley (R1)

Die Austreibung (The Expulsion) (1923)

Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs (Finances of the Grand Duke) (1924)

Der Letzte Mann (The Last Laugh) (1924) Kino (R1)* / mk2 (R2 FR) / Eureka (R2 UK) / Divisa (R2 ES)

Herr Tartüff (Tartuffe) (1926) Masters of Cinema (R2 UK) / Kino (R1)* / Universum (R2 DE)

Faust (1926) Masters of Cinema (R2 UK) / Kino (R1)* / Divisa (R2 ES)

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) Masters of Cinema (R2 UK) / 20th Century Fox (R1) / Carlotta (R2 FR)

4 Devils (1928)

City Girl (1930)

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (co-directed with Robert Flaherty, 1931) Milestone (R1) / Kino (R1)*

* The F.W. Murnau Collection (Kino)


GENERAL DISCUSSION

F.W. Murnau

The Roots of German Expressionism and Beyond – Some comments on Murnau, and much discussion that is incidental to the director in this thread.

Silent Film Music

Vintage Film Buff – this thread includes discussion on City Girl that evolves into general discussion of Murnau.


RECOMMENDED WEB RESOURCES

Nosferatu – a site dedicated to the film and Murnau by the Silent Orchestra.

Unofficial Murnau site


FILMS

Der Letzte Mann (Murnau, 1924)


DVD

Faust (Masters of Cinema

Flicker Alley – includes discussion of The Phantom.

Kino: F.W. Murnau Collection (5-Pack)

Murnau Giftset?

Nosferatu (Masters of Cinema) – release date tba.

Sunrise (Masters of Cinema)

Tartuffe (Masters of Cinema)

Transit Murnau Box?


BOOKS/ARTICLES

Murnau by Lotte Eisner (University of California Press, 1973)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:12 am 
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Someone had called my attention to the relatively dim-bulb intelligence level of Murnau's male protagonists-- not neccessarily the performers themselves, but the characters as written and woven in via Murnau's direction. And, beginning with the nearly childlike ignorance (glaring immaturity versus his wife's extreme emotional sophistication and 6th sense) of NOSFERATU's Hutter/Harker-character, there definitely seems to be a point worthy of exploration there. I wrote in reply (we were discussing Borzage's males as well.. not neccessarily the brightest lights).

Quote:
"Interesting point you bring up about the degree of inherent Smarts in the typical Borz/Murnau lead.

Very interesting actually now that I think about it, and something I never actually considered. Like Dreyer's selfless, ever-wise female martyrs perishing in saintly fashion at the hands of hypocritical and egotistical men, there really does, upon reflection, to seem to be a thread running through the bulk of FW's work of dim bulb males.. and I wonder why. From his Hutter/Harker in NOS, his clerk in PHANTOM, SCHLOSS VOGELOD may be an exception.. though the hubby buried in his religious fog driving his wife to anguished infidelity/murder, tho not quite a lead, is indeed a disappointing-to-those-who-need-him and oblivious let-down of a male; both Jannings & Krauss (a let down to his wise, tuned-in wife) in TARTUFFE, Mephi (incarnation of the whole problem viz Murnau, not el diablo per se, but personification of the Problem Of The Base-Instinctual/Hormonally-Obsessed Male) and Faust (a weak, flat out let-down to Gretchen/Magruerite until the last, mostly-too-late moment) in FAUST.. SUNRISE obviously... CITY GIRL obviously... 4 DEVILS, tho lost, had the let-down male lead letting Gaynor down via his frivolousness. Then we get to TABU, which, interestingly, presents the least corrupt male in the "masterpiece canon" (save for Graf Oech/Pater Faramund-imposter in SCHLOSS)... and suffers greatly until paying with his life in the end for it.

Naturally being gay, and social extremely uncomfortable, Murnau had quite a bit of a hard time of it coming from hugely tradition-oriented Bavaria. Interesting that the life and world which rejected him and which he in turn rejected in his actual life-- that land of the hard-working, earth-tilling, sun-baked farmer working honestly for his daily bread, picketed down to the idea of earth, blood, bread, tradition, country, traadition, tradition, and more tradition-- was typically represented by him as The Better Way, the idealized form of life and hom.. this versus the urban world of the City Girl, personified by not only Livingston but by PHANTOM's whore/dream-girl, whatsername from CITY GIRL, the land Away From Home that Tartuffe himself personified, etc, which in theory would have been sympathetic to Murnau's identity and sexual disposition... at least more so than Bavaria.. this was represented onscreen as the land of plasticity, duplicitousness, etc.

Not neccessarily a good thing for FW himself, as Bavaria still was not home to him. All it really meant was that, for him, there quite simply was not a single place in the world he felt at home and could refer to as such. Even the South Seas, which no doubt held a charm for him until it very simply clarified itself in his head, being honest with itself (his head that is) as very nice, physically pleasant scenery for him to co-exist with the single place on earth which, though probably not always pleasant, welcomed him with comparative frequency and gave him comfort to at least some degree-- which was the inside of his head. But as that never satisfies as an end-all, he realized the quest had to go on, and so with the completion of TABU he was preparing, if memory serves, to leave the south seas.

We of course see that these men were let downs due to succumbing to the lures and snares in almost every case of some outside force... sometimes urban women (PHANTOM, SUNRISE, CITY GIRL, 4 DEVILS), sometimes relgion (SCHLOSS VOGELOD, TARTUFFE, FAUST in an upside-down, reversal of religion). Even when both mates are strong and fully resistant in emotional terms of their relationship and not subject to temptations via lust or religious hypocracy (TABU, to some degree NOSFERATU), then the one unbeatable force intercedes to take one member away from the other-- usually Death.

So via examination of Murnau's vision of a world that will not allow happiness to proceed uninterrupted, we find a variety of backgrounds, types of women, means of interference with the concept of contentment or happiness... but a consistency in the portrayal of the most important male being a let-down, either completely oblivious-- sort of dopey a la NOSFERATU or TARTUFFE-- or willfully ignorant/unattentive a la SUNRISE, FAUST, SCHLOSS. Psychoanalysis for weeks.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 6:17 am 
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Schreck - I wonder what sort of subject for analysis Murnau migh have been after discovering the joys of Philipino chauffeurs and Hollywood , in general? Indeed imagine a cinema universe in which he, Sternberg and Lubitsch formed a Trifecta at Paramount by 1932?????(If he'd lived.) NOt to mention the fleeting addition of Eisenstein to that galaxy...

My own question is totally moot. Eisner, who remains the last supposed "authority" on M is extremely wanting when she criticizes, say, City Girl as completely minor by way of studio inteference, etc. Anyone looking at it today must blink at just how good it is DESPITE the recutting of bits and pieces, including the (probable - mere speculation on my part) truncation of some scenes with the Father/Master of the House.

You get the Father in a scene chastizing lunkhead Charlie Farrell's junior sister for wasting threads of wheat, imemdiately followed by a shot of him tenderly placing them into a diary. The ideation is then not followed thru in the scene shortly after of the arrival of new bride/woman, and dad's outrage when the littel girl tries to present a posy of wheat for the new person in her and her brother's life. I suppose this is typical of the cutting that must have gone on, but it still doesn't drastically affect the trajectory of the narrative or the emotions. And the Father himself stands (cut or whatever) as a more complex, post Faustian man than any of the knuckleheads who have populated the movies as male love interest previously - including Charlie, Faust himself, and even the ultimate blockhead, Nosferatu, who seems to exist simply to love.

Four Devils may have given us more of this male "complexity", not to mention the invevitable Bavarian Schadenfreude of City vs "Natural" country, but we'll never know.


Last edited by Anonymous on Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 6:45 am 
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I am bringing this up again here as my previous post on the 4 Devils got bumped to the Sunrise thread. Peerpee kindly responded and adds speculation as to its possible fate. So the question still seems to be why did Eisner hold on to the belief that there was a negative at Fox??


The original post and response -

NABOB OF NOWHERE wrote:
Apologies if this has been dealt with somewhere but a search didn't throw anything up.
I've just been watching the 4 Devils doc. on MoC's Sunrise and comparing it with Lotte Eisner's account in her Murnau book. Although she bases her writing on memories of a pre-war viewing she states quite categorically that although there are no extant prints Fox have a negative.

Anyone have more on this?

Fox report that they don't have anything, hence the documentary. I heard a story, I don't know if it's true, about how decades ago an actress stole the negative from Fox's archive and threw it in the sea.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:39 am 
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NABOB - it sounds so apocraphyl, like the story of someone holding personally the missing reels of Ambersons, or - worse - Charles Higham hanging on to the twenty or so reels of Technicolor rushes from It's All True. (he never said he did BTW - he only claims to have seen them .. like Richard Wilson..)

I find Eisner's reportage of events them days more than a bit suss these days....


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:32 am 
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Yes I wouldn't even give it a second thought if I'd read it in Eisner; there are so many speculations, inaccuracies, pieces of gossip, etc, that were resident in vintage film writing, i e prior to the home vid days (meaning, prior to so much investigation, re-evaluation, red herring shooting, clarification, etc), so much of it put out to pasture or otherwise resolved. Back in those days folks like Eisner were among the few who had basic knowledge of the silent years, as so few in the media cared. Now we see how much misleading info they (mostly unintentionally) promulgated as vaults and estates and collections open and are made available.

The first disc the TRACES OF A LOST FILM appears on is the (excellent) Fox disx for SUNRISE. That should tell you something right there.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:44 pm 
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Agreed on the males in the movie within a movie in Tartuffe; yet the young man putting on this show for his uncle(?) and the housekeeper in the opening and closing segments seems a fairly cunning man, even if his methods for exposing crime are a bit outlandish.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 3:24 pm 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
Agreed on the males in the movie within a movie in Tartuffe; yet the young man putting on this show for his uncle(?) and the housekeeper in the opening and closing segments seems a fairly cunning man, even if his methods for exposing crime are a bit outlandish.

Actually, I was thinking of the same thing as I was reading through this thread. Perhaps because the young man is using the cinema as his weapon of choice in the framing battle of wills, Murnau is identifying with him. Both the young man and Murnau himself are using the cinema as a means of uncovering the foibles of other men (and possibly masculinity in general?).


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:45 pm 
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tryavna wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:
Agreed on the males in the movie within a movie in Tartuffe; yet the young man putting on this show for his uncle(?) and the housekeeper in the opening and closing segments seems a fairly cunning man, even if his methods for exposing crime are a bit outlandish.

Actually, I was thinking of the same thing as I was reading through this thread. Perhaps because the young man is using the cinema as his weapon of choice in the framing battle of wills, Murnau is identifying with him. Both the young man and Murnau himself are using the cinema as a means of uncovering the foibles of other men (and possibly masculinity in general?).

That's interesting; I wonder how much we're supposed to associate him with Murnau the filmmaker, especially considering the moment where the young man walks up to the camera to address the audience. This does indeed seem like Murnau depicting his role, the filmmaker, as the exposer of truth, the one eye (if I recall, the film is full of watchful eyes--Tartuffe's, the old woman's, ect.) whose gaze intends to discover rather than restrain. Although Murnau depicts this little film within a film as the height of artifice and control it is in the service of moral truth rather than of avarice, unlike the false constructions of Tartuffe and the old woman.

In Murnau's world does the male artist get off with a bit of brains? Someone who has seen more Murnau than me can surely shed more light on this.


Last edited by Mr Sausage on Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 11:44 pm 
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Certainly Tartuffe/Jannings displays cunning and sophistication (as does Jannings/Mefisto in Faust.) But in the former isn't Murnau merely adopting Moliere's own narrative device of presenting the little play-action within the play? Still....

Mefisto/Jannings is another kettle of fish. Clearly Faust himself is another "weak" Murnau male, undone (almost) by his ego and self-delusion. But Im never quite sure how to take Jannings. One moment he works for me as an alter ego, the next he seems to be exhaling a gaysubtext in the role of protagonist. Is HE Murnau trying on a number of masks?

It's a bit clearer in City Girl, with the ferociously disciplinarian controlling Father who keeps doubting Junior's/Charlie Farrell's ability to do a basic job in the city (Yet he's entrusted him with it. And in fact Charlie doesn't do too badly.) Murnau presents him in quite a complex light early on during the exposition, as I mentioned above, when he severely chastizes the little girl (Charlie's sister ) for taking and playing with a few strands of wheat. Yet Murnau shows him in the next but one shot caressing the wheat in his study and folding it tenderly into some sort of diary or memento book. Father's fury with the arrival of Charlie's bride is the entire centre of the film, and the Faustian battle is played out between these two. Thus Farrell disappears into the background for half the movie.

Four Devils looks absolutely fascinating in terms of the four characters'dynamics and the apparent suicide of Farrell at the end. If only the mad actress with the negative story were true!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:52 am 
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tryavna wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:
Agreed on the males in the movie within a movie in Tartuffe; yet the young man putting on this show for his uncle(?) and the housekeeper in the opening and closing segments seems a fairly cunning man, even if his methods for exposing crime are a bit outlandish.

Actually, I was thinking of the same thing as I was reading through this thread. Perhaps because the young man is using the cinema as his weapon of choice in the framing battle of wills, Murnau is identifying with him. Both the young man and Murnau himself are using the cinema as a means of uncovering the foibles of other men (and possibly masculinity in general?).

That is utterly fascinating. That truly never occurred to me. Great post.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:28 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
That is utterly fascinating. That truly never occurred to me. Great post.

Praise from Caesar.... Thanks.

The fact that Tartuffe is a film-within-a-film has always been its most fascinating aspect for me. As smart an artist as Murnau was, I'm sure there's a bit of self-referentiality going on there.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:35 am 
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tryavna wrote:
Praise from Caesar.... Thanks.

The littlest kind: "Pizza Pizza!"


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:27 am 
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Via my huge good fortune of getting to know a member of the forum who tends to remain in the background, to whom I am eternally thankful, I've acquired a pristine copy of Eisner's Murnau (the O.O.P. english-language version).

Not only is it A Biography About Frederich Wilhelm Murnau (a cause for celebration in itself, particularly for a man nailed to the english language) but it's one of the best biographies I've ever read, period. It so well conjures the man himself, his nature, his disposition, you can almost see him sitting there deep in his chair, his long legs neatly folded before him, the little knowing smile on his face as he watches everyone go about their business and suffer their corresponding struggles.

I'll be-- hopefully with Scharph's continued blessing (he once offered me the option of rebuilding this entire page from scratch due to my obvious mania for all things FWM)-- dressing up this Murnau section, getting a photo in there up top (and try to settle on a single opening quote or two).. but I'd love to, after I get over the hump of a private project I'm working on, reproduce quotes here from the book by and about Murnau, which so well conjure the man and his times. The bounty of this book is too fantastic to hog.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:44 pm 
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HerrSchreck wrote:
Via my huge good fortune of getting to know a member of the forum who tends to remain in the background, to whom I am eternally thankful, I've acquired a pristine copy of Eisner's Murnau (the O.O.P. english-language version).

Congratulations, Schreck! This is an indispensable book. I can't understand why California doesn't reprint it. I got a copy on interlibrary loan about a year ago and scanned most of it. There's an English version listed on ABE at $60, slightly smudged. I trust you got a better deal.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:11 pm 

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How many of his pre-Nosferatu films are extant? Would that be an appropriate box of the survivors?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:21 pm 
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If I told you guys the "deal" I got-- you'd say "Lucky bastard!" It was a gift given by a thoroughly right guy. A member here.

Of the extant pre NOS films, there is GANG IN DIE NACHT, SCHLOSS V, and BRENNENDE.. using the list above. There's also a fragment of Satanas thats been found-- a trailer really.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:52 pm 
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The Italians have just restored a one-reel fragment of Murnau's "Marizza" and will show it publicly in two days time. Info in Italian with some gorgeous screenshots here.

And thanks to Roger Skarsten over at the German Stummfilmforum for mentioning it there.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:39 pm 
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Thanks, Tommaso! How tantalizing! My Italian isn't perfect, but as I read it is the first reel of the film, the only reel known to have survived. In its full Italian version the film was 1572 meters (the German version was 1735m)--the web page doesn't say how many meters the fragment is, but since the film had five acts I assume it had five reels, and that this represents about a fifth of it.

This is the film Murnau made just after Der Gang in die Nacht, his earliest extant film, and just before Schloss Vogelöd. For some reason, however, its premiere came after the latter, on January 1922, about six weeks before 'Nosferatu'. The screenplay was by Hans Janowitz, who had collaborated with Carl Mayer on 'Caligari,' and Karl Freund was the cinematographer. Three reviews of the German version are excerpted in FRIEDRICH WILHELM MURNAU: EIN MELANCHOLIKER DES FILMS.


Last edited by markhax on Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:52 pm 
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Eeeek!!

When was this found?

Am writing this in the airport train after a week in Berlin where I picked up half a dozen early German talkies.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:00 pm 
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Knappen wrote:
Am writing this in the airport train after a week in Berlin where I picked up half a dozen early German talkies.

Aaah.... which were these? In any case, hope to see you 'back in action' elsewhere soon...

No idea when the film was found, but filmhistoriker.de reports that it comes from the private archive of some Italian collector.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:06 pm 
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Well, actually they're not that early films. And not at all rare for a German collector like you. I made some picks that had Deutsch für Höregeschädigte so that I will be more encouraged to enjoy them with my rusty German although fansubs are available for some of them: Die Drei von der Tankstelle, Hotel Sacher, Amphitryon, Bel Ami, Kleider machen Leute and Heimat. The last two are from Black Hill and don't have any subs.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:21 pm 
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Well, I was only hoping you were doing some secret deals on a Berlin Hintertreppe...

Great choices all, of course. "Tankstelle", the quintessential German musical if you forget about "Der Kongress tanzt" for a moment. Not enough emoticons here to give Lilian her due. But heavens, you just reminded me that I haven't seen "Hotel Sacher" yet. Don't tell anyone.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:35 pm 
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I DID do a secret deal and am bringing home an external drive that I just managed to get through customs. Haha: The very hush-hush exchange took place in an East Berlin apartment and was concluded by intoxication of illegal substances.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:13 pm 
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Ah, good, though I have the strange feeling that I know the contents of that external drive already. Some real goodies there, though I didn't have a chance to try the substances.... 'Nuff said.


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