The Strange Case of Captain Ramper

The Strange Case of Captain Ramper ★★★

It is noteworthy that at the time this film was made the North Pole had only recently been traversed by man - with a few famous expeditions earlier in the 20th century now considered dubious, the 1926 flight of Roald Amundsen and his crew was the first undisputed passage to (and over) the North Pole. Nowadays, achieving the North Pole is just another one of those things that's within the grasp of any holidaymaker with enough cash, and enough scientific expeditions have crossed it up, down, and sideways that it doesn't seem particularly wondrous anymore. When this film came along in 1928, however, the Arctic was the source of a lot more mystery and adventure, and it's no wonder that it would be chosen as the setting for such a strange case.

The film itself is perhaps less exciting than the expeditions that inspired it; its King Kong-meets-the-Wendigo story of Paul Wegener turning into a monstrous, feral, near-human beast is interesting as a work of Arctic horror, only for as long as things stay there. It’s unfortunate that at some point rather early on it becomes less interested in terror and more wrapped up in drama; perhaps there is something to the circus escapades and scientific summits, but the movie was at its best when Captain Ramper was stalking explorers across the frozen wastes.

This fulfills the following Hooptober 8 criteria:
- 6 countries (Germany)
- 8 decades (1920s)