The film starts in Warsaw, where Chopin tries to win the heart of his idol, the famous singer Sonja Radkowska, but she betrays him by handing him over to the chief of the Russian police in town. His youth sweetheart Mariolka, comes to the rescue and together they escape to Paris. Then, Chopin meets the writer George Sand and falls in love again. But as an old gypsy once told him, his love life was doomed to be an unhappy one. And so, his love for Sand also leads to disappointment. Finally, Chopin dies in the arms of Mariolka, who stayed true to him till the end.
“Chopin’s most famous tunes accompany the cinematically tailored scenes from his life as mood music, but precisely that evokes a nearly overwhelming effect in some cases, as in the masterly directed Jewish wedding scene. Also elsewhere, the rightfully feared biographic boredom is avoided by episodic suspense.
In the leading part, Conrad Veidt displays a precision ground performance as Frédéric Chopin and knows how to capture the sublimation and inner suffering of the character even within a rush of joy… the close connection of music and plot, the appeal of the subject and the specific images will ensure that the film receives wide distribution”. Der Film 1919 (2), p. 40
“The Nivelli film corporation presented a five-act, dramatically moving theatrical performance… The subject is set in the long past, but not forgotten times, of Biedermeier and is distinguished by fine sentiment, gallantry, small intrigue and scheming that was once enough to shatter the hearts of our ancestors… (it) does not wish to be understood as a kind of biography, but as an episodic drama… The piece differs from reality with poetic license here and there, but therefore it is appropriate and effective as a film, dramatically it is both convincing and gripping… One clearly notices his (the director’s Carl Boese) influence on the actors’ accomplishments and his extraordinary artistic sensibility for visual effects… the photographer deserves all praise for his successful craft”. Der Kinematograph 1919 (627)
Conrad Veidt – as Frédéric Chopin
Gertrud Welcker – as Sonja Radkowska, the singer
Rita Clermont – as Mariolka
Erna Denera – as George Sand