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...展开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 Tannhäuser.