Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (1926) – Unity and Law and Freedom


“Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (1926)” vs. “Die entfesselte Menschheit (1920)”

Translated from: P. Stiasny, “Das Kino und der Krieg, Deutschland 1914–1929”, München 2009, pp. 228-230.

Lukewarm Second Serving

Years after Die entfesselte Menschheit ran in cinemas, large parts of it reappear in 1926 in Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit. Now the story has been recut and the protagonists have been given new names: again, the film begins with war captivity, the return to Germany and the conflict between reformers and revolutionaries.
After the uprising fails, the plot jumps back to 1925, which is illustrated by interwoven documentary footage of Friedrich Ebert’s funeral and Hindenburg’s election as new Reich President. The communist party leader Dorn (formerly Karenow) reassembles a group of conspirators around him who aim to overthrow the republic via acts of kidnapping, theft, extortion and incitement to strike. In the end, Dorn dies trying to save Louise (formerly Rita), the wife of his rival Frank (formerly Clarenbach), from the mob. Dying, he sends a message to his deputy Brüggemann (formerly Winterstein): “Tell Brüggemann the slogan for the presidential election must be: Only through work, can there be construction!” Frank endorses this message and reconciles with his wife, kneeling at the body of Dorn. He admits: “His will was pure, but his way was wrong!” A leap: Hindenburg is elected as the new Reich President. Documentary footage shows gatherings of people in Berlin, Hindenburg’s journey through the Brandenburg Gate and his arrival in the Reich President’s Palace. Brüggemann, who was wounded during the unsuccessful uprising, has recovered from his injury. He hosts old party comrades at his apartment and tells them that they can no longer count on him because he has completely revised his political views. He proclaims: “Only unity and law and freedom can help us!” The last title reads: “Germany, Germany above all!” Alongside Elge (Elga Brink), a newly inserted figure, Brüggemann searches private happiness.

In comparison with Die entfesselte Menschheit, documentary footage and reshot fictional scenes were added. Elsewhere, scenes and figures were deleted: Winterstein’s escape from the prisoners of war camp, his involvement in Karenov’s troops in Russia; completely missing are the conspirators Menschenholz and Breese as well as Rosa Valetti, a lustful “shotgun dame”. The earlier film restored order by killing two leaders of the insurgents, Karenow and Winterstein, whereas the latter film grants at least one of the two, the German, a happy ending. However, the prerequisite for this is that Winterstein defects to the consensus ideology in the newly shot ending, which in turn makes the film look like a commercially motivated, opportune statement on the status of history and memory politics.

The end of the revolutionary leader, who perishes during the rescue of a woman and is then recognized by his ideological opponent as a man with a “pure will”, is the same in both films. This glorification is particularly strange because before the end there is actually no reference to the human qualities of Karenow or Dorn: on the contrary, the revolutionary leader appears as a coldly calculating and dogmatic exponent of destruction and violence endowed with great criminal energy and uncanny charisma towards women. For a moment, a melodramatic relationship flares up between him and his rival’s wife: she is enthusiastic about his ideas and helps him flee while he dies in return to save her. But that does not hide the fact that there is a contradiction between the visual representation and the texts of the subtitles. Judging from the surviving material, it is a bold assertion that Karenow is a revolutionary who is “blinded by holy idealism and inspired by the noblest love of people”, as the magazine Film Kurier asserts. This claim is explained through what he says in the subtitles, but not by how he says it and how his appearance, gazes and gestures are staged.

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit passed the censorship without difficulties in May 1926 but found little resonance afterward in the specialist and daily press. After the premiere in Munich in October 1926 in the somewhat remote neighborhood of Obergiesing, the Süddeutsche Filmzeitung sums up the film, which deals with “the conversion of two revolutionary […] people into constructive, bourgeois elements of society” and staged the Berlin street fights well. “Since the revolution, social films did not disappear from German production, even if it […] did not have strong productions […]. It just seems to be the fate of biased films, no matter what political direction they take, that their strength is in inverse relation to their consciousness.” The cinema audience of 1926 has surely perceived Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit as a greeting card from a distant past. Film aesthetics and viewer expectations changed too quickly between 1920 and 1926, for a reasonably demanding audience not to notice the outdated mise-en-scène. And the political climate changed too quickly for a film about revolution and civil war, not to be viewed as a foreign body in entertainment cinema.

It is uncertain whether the re-editing of Die entfesselte Menschheit paid off commercially for the production company Nivelli-Film, but it can be doubted. On the one hand, Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit reminds us of the quite common practice to re-make a film that has already been successful here and there to increase its chances for additional markets. On the other hand, it is quite strange how the plot is twisted here and the film is very obviously adapted to the politics of the day through new scenes and added documentary footage. The somewhat dusty Die entfesselte Menschheit is virtually correctly “renovated” in terms of history and politics and put into circulation again under a new, strikingly chosen name: a fraudulent labeling. This reminds us a little of the transformation of the Adler von Flandern into Ikarus in 1918/19. Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit, as well, is a defector.


Paul Hartmann – Kurt Frank, technical director of Stoltenberg Works
Trude Hoffmann – Luise, Frank’s wife
Clementine Plehsner – Mrs. Möhricke, landlady
Elga Brink – Elge, her daughter
Eugen Klöpfer – August Dorn, tenant of Mrs. Möhricke
Carl de Vogt – Walter Brüggemann, tenant of Mrs. Möhricke
Hermann (Heinrich) Backmann – Richard Stoltenberg, owner of Stoltenberg Works
Arthur Bergen – Egon, his son
Marion Illing – Clara

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Die Ehren-Gedenkfeier für die Toten Helden (1924) – Memorial Ceremony for the Dead Heroes

This ceremony on August 3, 1924, in Potsdam held a special significance as it celebrated the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of WWI. It was attended by several high-ranking ministers and a brief speech was given by President Friedrich Ebert.

This short documentary of the occasion included the following scenes:

  • View of Potsdam.
  • The ceremony for the fallen soldiers of the “1st Guards Regiment”. March of the regiment in Potsdamer Garden (Potsdamer Lustgarten) and changing into columns formation, to the sound of music on the square.
  • View of the Garrison Church (Garnisonkirche ).
  • (Banned: scene 4 – “Prince Oskar”) – Prince Oskar and Prince Eitel-Frederich in front of some citizens and military men.
  • (Banned: scene 5 – “Prince August Wilhelm”) – Prince August Wilhelm seated between a citizen and a military man.
  • The approach of the 1st company to the foreground while an army brass band is shown playing on the parade grounds. March of soldiers in sports gear.
  • (Banned: scene 7 – “Prince Eitel-Friedrich hands over the prizes to the winners of the 1st company”) – Prince Eitel is seen standing among soldiers.
  • The city palace (Das Stadtschloβ).

Censor’s Decision

This documentary was first reviewed on August 11, 1924. The meeting included the regular censor’s committee members, several Nivo-Film representatives and an expert from the office of the Commissioner for Public Order and Safety.

Following the screening of the film, a discussion was held where the expert objected to several scenes depicting the Crown Princes, all sons of former Emperor Wilhelm II – Prince Eitel Friedrich, Prince August Wilhelm and Prince Oskar. In his opinion, including them was contradictory to the image of the new Republic which Germany wanted to project to the world after the war. The fear was that this might disrupt public order and that an emphasis on Royalty in conjunction with the military, might give rise to new incitement against Germany.

The censor committee accepted the expert’s view and 5 scenes out of 8 were banned.

Nivo-Film contested the decision and on September 4, 1924, the committee was convened again. In addition to the previous representatives, delegates from both the Foreign Office and the Prussian Home Office attended.

The representatives gave the following statements:

  • Commissioner for Public Order and Safety – withdrawal of the objection to a considerable part of the film, except for the scene were one of the former Crown Princes is handing out prizes to the military
  • Foreign Office – no objection apart from the above prize-giving scene, because this might endanger Germany’s relations with foreign states
  • Prussian Home Office – no objection to the film because the creator showed no intention other than to depict the festivities of the occasion

The censor’s committee decided to change the former decision and to partially accept the views of the delegates. The screening of the film would now be permitted to all audiences of the German Reich and only 3 scenes, in which the representatives of the former Imperial House were shown, would be banned. The committee also declared that Nivo-Film would pay the costs of these proceedings because not all objections were lifted.

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Below are some of the locations depicted in this documentary and scenes from a similar ceremony, which can demonstrate what this documentary might have looked like:

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Die Verfassungsfeier in Berlin (1924) – The Constitution Ceremony in Berlin

Following WWI, in 1919, the newly formed Weimar Republic adopted a democratic constitution. Although not an official holiday, the date of the signature of the Weimar Constitution on August 11, was celebrated each year with government ceremonies and other popular events, among them the main ceremony at the Reichstag.

This short documentary portrayed the 5th anniversary of this event which was celebrated in Berlin on August 11, 1924. The ceremony was attended by President Friedrich Ebert and included a parade of 7,000 policemen marching through the main sites of the city. The film included the following images:

  • The march of the uniformed police along the “Lustgarten”
  • The speech of the President of the Reich
  • The honorary troops march in front of the Reichstag
  • A torchlight procession of the troops holding the “Black-Red-Gold” banner in front of Berlin’s theatre building

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Below are some of the locations as they looked in those years, which can demonstrate what this documentary might have looked like:

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Die Tannenbergfeier in Königsberg (1924) – The Tannenberg Ceremony in Königsberg

The Battle of Tannenberg was held at the very beginning of WWI, between 26-30 of August 1914, in which the German army under General Hindenburg stopped the advancing Russian army.

The battle was actually fought near Allenstein (now Olsztyn, Poland) however, Hindenburg urged to name it after the town of Tannenberg (30 km to the west), in order to “erase” the memory of Germany’s defeat in this place in the 15th century (Battle of Grunwald).

Two separate celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the battle were held. One was the laying of the cornerstone to the memorial in Tannenberg. The second, was a ceremony held on August 23, 1924, in the town of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), about 200km to the north in the province of East Prussia.

This short documentary portrayed the ceremony at Königsberg and several sporting events while showing prominent locations in the area, as follows:

Act 1

  • The country house of General von Hindenburg
  • Gymnastics exercises of all the schools of Königsberg at the Walter-Simon-Platz
  • Display of exercises by the “Body Club”
  • The trade building “Handelshof”
  • The German Trade Fair of the East – “Deutsche Ostmesse”
  • Athletic field of the “Palaestra Albertina” (ASCO) Academic Sports Club East Prussia
  • The district courthouse
  • The police headquarters
  • Swimming exercises by the swimming club “Prussia”, Königsberg
  • The Royal Palace of Königsberg
  • General von Hindenburg attends the divine service in the church of the palace
  • The Bismarck memorial
  • The Kant memorial
  • The mausoleum of Immanuel Kant

Act 2

  • Tiergarten & the zoo
  • The Dome
  • March of the student associations
  • The old university founded in 1544 by Duke Albrecht von Preußen
  • The new university
  • The memorial stone for Julius Rupp (1809-1884) – “He who fails to live by his truth is the most dangerous enemy of truth itself”
  • The airfield of Devau near Königsberg and take-off of some airplanes
  • The warehouse quarter
  • Harbor visit by Field-Marshal General von Hindenburg and von Mackensen
  • The harbor of Königsberg & Hundegatt and sailing of Danish, Norwegian and English merchant ships
  • The stock market
  • The fortifications of Königsberg – Dohna & Wrangel towers built in 1853

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Below are some of the locations as they looked in those years, which can demonstrate what this documentary might have looked like:

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Die Samland-Bäder (1924) – The Samland Baths

“Samlad” is a name of a peninsula, also called “Sambia”, in the region of East-Prussia, now in the Kaliningrad province of Russia, on the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea. It was part of the German Empire as of 1871, but following WWI it was separated from the rest of Weimar Germany by the creation of a Polish Corridor.

Samland was an amber-producing region but it was also famous as a tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, dunes, high cliffs and thick forests. In the 1920s the “wild” and untouched nature was back in fashion. Samland was just that – secluded and pristine. It was also the heyday of seaside resorts and Samland’s baths, spas and beach promenades became a holiday attraction.

Nivelli’s short documentary was probably a promotional film commissioned by the resorts in the region or by some governmental tourist agency. The film presented the following locations:

  • The Baltic Sea spa Rauschen
  • The cable railway of Rauschen
  • The Baltic Sea spa Warnicken
  • The Wolfs Gorge [Wolfsschlucht]
  • The lighthouse of Brüsterort
  • The Baltic Sea spa Neukuhren
  • Bathing culture in Neukuhren

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Below are some of the locations as they looked in those years, which can demonstrate what this documentary might have looked like:

(click on any photo to start a slide show)

Liebe und Ehe (1923) – Love and Marriage


The film is based on the novel Das Stille Weh (The Quiet Pain) by Hedwig Courths-Mahler, published in 1919. It is categorized as a “formula-fiction-romantic” genre, which was popular at the time. Her novels had a large female audience and they are being reprinted to this date, making her the most popular German female writer by copies sold.

This novel was adapted to screen by Helene Lindau-Schulz.

Full Storyline

Act 1

After his father’s death, it turns out that the young Count Ferry Raventos of Sadina, has inherited only debts. He asks Mr. Stavenport, the American banker who holds the loans to his property, to lend him some more money. Stavenport declines because he has a scheme – he wants his daughter Ruth to marry the Count, thereby making her a Countess and leaving him the owner of the property de facto. Ferry is surprised at the offer and questions Stavenport’s ability to persuade his daughter to this arrangement, but Stavenport assures him that Ruth is a dutiful daughter and will comply.

We learn that Sonja Estevan, whose parents were acquaintances of the old Count, was planning to marry Ferry but now has changed her mind because he is no longer a man of means.

In a harsh conversation between father and daughter, Ruth at first refuses to be part of the scheme and accuses her father of making her an accomplice to fraud, which she knows he carried out together with a real-estate inspector. She detests her father but as his daughter, feels obligated to go along with his plan. Ruth assures her father that he can rely on her cooperation.

Act 2

Meanwhile, Axentowicz, a friend of Ferry, offers financial help but the Count informs him of his impending marriage and the solution to his problem. He goes on to suggest Sonja to his friend if he promises to make her happy.

Ruth confides in her friend Dagmar, telling her that she pities the Count for having to marry without love. She declares that she only agreed to her father’s scheme because she plans to correct the injustice done to Ferry by giving him back all his possessions after the wedding and then silently disappearing from his life.

Ruth then sends an official invitation to Ferry to come to her father’s residence. Stavenport and Ferry meet in private and Stavenport declares that he is now ready to transfer the necessary funds. He urges Ferry to conclude the details of the deal because as is said in America: “business is business”. When Ruth joins them, Ferry handles the situation gallantly – he asserts that strange conditions have brought Ruth and himself together and he hopes that in time she will learn to love him. Ruth assures him that she accepted his offer willingly. At that, Ferry already finds himself liking his future wife. Learning that she paints, Ferry asks to see some of her work but she refuses and dismisses them as that of an amateur.

Act 3

Ruth reciprocates with an official tour of Ferry’s mansion. He fears it will seem provincial to her. When they get to the quarters that once belonged to his mother, he declares that Ruth can make any changes as she sees fit, but Ruth says that she likes them as they are. On passing, she notices a specific painting at which she declares that it was painted by “Hans Volkmar” and that it was the second work by this artist that the gallery has sold. Ferry is impressed by his fiancée’s understanding of art.

Following the wedding, days turn into weeks and Ferry believes that Ruth does not love him. Ruth, on the other hand, is developing warm feelings for her husband which she hides, because she is convinced that he only married her to get out of his financial difficulty. She tells him that she misses painting and asks to build a studio, which he agrees to.

Act 4

The couple becomes estranged because each of them thinks they are a burden on the other. When Ferry has to travel on business, Sonja asks to be invited to the mansion. While touring the place it seems she came for one purpose – to gloat and offend. She compliments Ruth’s taste and with the same breath poignantly states that it’s good to be rich, that she pities Ferry for having to marry for money and that she and Ferry were once lovers and separated only due to lack of money. Then, she quickly gives a false apology for having offended Ruth and departs.

One day Ruth receives a telegram informing her of her father’s illness. She rushes home but arrives too late. She feels that finally now, the lie can end and her husband can be released from this loveless marriage. When Ferry returns home from his travels, he finds a telegram from Ruth telling him that she will remain at her father’s house for the duration of the mourning.

One day, a letter from an art gallery arrives at the Raventos mansion, which reads: “It was a great art exhibition. Mrs. Countess Ruth Raventos Sadina (pseudonym Hans Volkmar), we have the honor to tell you that we have sold the last painting under the conditions known to you. Respectfully, the Director.” Ferry is astonished – he realizes that his wife was anything but a mediocre painter and that she was actually a valued artist working under a pseudonym.

When Ferry sees Ruth again, he apologizes for not recognizing her talent. She then tells him the real reason why she became his wife. Although it is difficult for her to speak ill of her dead father, she confesses to her father’s scheme. Because of her part in it, she saw it as her mission to help him get his fortune back, and now that she did, he can be free of her. It is agonizing for Ruth to say that because she loves Ferry, but she is convinced that now he will go back to Sonja.

Act 5

By now the couple has practically separated – Ruth remains in her late father’s house in Switzerland and Ferry resides at the mansion. Correspondence between the two has also stopped and Ferry is sure that Ruth has forgotten all about him.

But surprise – apparently Ruth is pregnant. Her friend Dagmar urges her to let Ferry know the good news but she declines, claiming she does not want to put new shackles on him and that he’s probably happy with Sonja.

Ruth has the baby and one year passes by. Ruth misses her husband and wishes at least to have the portrait of him which she has painted when they first got together. She sends the key to her studio at the mansion to Ferry’s butler, asking him to send her the painting without telling Ferry. As it turns, the butler’s eyesight is poor and he asks Ferry to read the letter to him. Ferry then understands that contrary to his belief, Ruth has indeed feelings for him.

To Ruth’s surprise, the painting arrives with an unexpected messenger – Ferry, who is now sure of their feelings for each other and happily vows to hold on to her.

And now the biggest surprise of all – Ruth introduces the junior Count Raventos to the senior Count Raventos….

The End

Full Cast

Heinz Sarnow – Count Ferry Raventos of Sadina

Eduard von Winterstein – Mr. Stavenport, an American banker

Ally Kolberg (Kay) – Ruth, his daughter

Anni Kuhnke – Dagmar, her friend

Maria von Pahlen – Mrs. Estevan

Hilde Engel – Sonja, her daughter

Richard Lybessai – Rochus von Axentowicz

Luise Werkmeister – Brigitte, Ruth’s housekeeper

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Im Rausche der Leidenschaft (1923) – In the Heat of Passion

Full Storyline

Renate, the young and beautiful daughter of Count von Sternsee, leaves her parental home and marries the poor, unknown poet Henry Richard against her father’s will.

Although poor, nothing seems to tarnish their marital happiness. Until one day, Renate’s childhood friend Cecilia, who is now married to Senator Stephensen, enters their lives. Cecilia is a socialite who has connections everywhere and so she succeeds in promoting Henry’s work to a publisher. But this opportunity doesn’t come without a price. The publisher indicates that he expects Henry’s wife, the beautiful Renate, to give “a service” in return. Renate is forced to go to the publisher’s office…

Later on, Henry’s moralistic and philosophical novel “Women”, is published and immediately becomes a bestseller. Henry is accepted into high society and becomes a trend-setter, which in turn makes Cecilia even more drawn to him.

During a reception which Cecilia holds in honor of Henry, Renate overhears her husband telling some of his most avid female admirers about his views on love. For him, love turns into habit in marriage. It is impossible, in his view, to marry the woman one loves. Emotionally broken, she flees to a friend of the family, the old professor Barberint who tells her that Henry allows himself to talk this way because he wants to pass as a modern writer and because his wife is faithful. In his opinion, if Henry were made jealous, he would immediately change.

And so, Renate comes up with a plan. She surrenders to a womanizer, the young Count Scarampi, in order to arouse Henry’s jealousy and win his love back. But Henry is much too busy with Cecilia to notice the flirtations of his wife with Scarampi.

One evening Scarampi visits Renate during Henry’s absence. He lets himself get carried away and embraces her. At that moment the wind slams the door and Renate fears Henry had returned home and witnessed the scene. She rushes to his study and sees him crying, as she believes, over the scene that had just taken place. But Henry is sad because Cecilia has neglected him lately. Repentant, Renate throws herself at his feet. Henry, whose thoughts are with Cecilia, only smiles at her absentmindedly.

Henry then travels to the mountains. He tells Renate that he intends to write a winter sports novel but in fact, he plans to visit Cecilia who is in a hospital suffering from lung disease.

Meanwhile, Scarampi is frustrated that Renate completely ignores him which proves that the womanizer has discovered true love for the beautiful woman. He turns to Barberint for advice only to hear of Renate’s scheme. Scarampi is devastated. He points his revolver at himself and pulls the trigger. Fatally wounded, he is taken to the hospital.

Renate is horrified when she hears what has happened. She visits Scarampi and is suddenly overcome with compassion and a deep affection for him. To prevent these feelings from turning into real love, she quickly leaves and travels to see her husband in the mountains.

A terrible surprise is awaiting her. She finds Henry intimately embracing the ill Cecilia. Renate is shattered. She now sees no reason to reject Scarampi any longer. Meanwhile, in the mountains, Cecilia has died and Henry returns home, only to discover that he has been infected by Cecilia’s disease.

While Henry’s new play achieves another roaring success in the theatre, his condition deteriorates. Barberint, who rushes into his room to bring him the good news, finds him dying. Motionless, Renate stands at the deathbed of her husband. With his last breath, Henry asks her forgiveness.

Then, like a veil of fog dissipating before her eyes, Renate realizes how they both missed on each other in the heat of passion and forgivingly embraces the dying Henry.

Censor’s decision

The film was first reviewed in August 1923 – it was approved for viewing but banned for minors. Then, a complaint was filed with the Film Supreme Inspection Authority regarding 3 photos in the filmstrip.

The photos show a young woman in different postures. In two of them, her upper body is naked apart from her breasts which are covered by an ornamented metal bra; in the third photo, she is shown with naked shoulders and upper arms and half-veiled breasts. The preliminary decision was to object to these photos because, as it was stated, “they are qualified to overexcite the fantasy of adolescent people”.

However, the Supreme Inspection Authority came to the conclusion that adolescent people should only be protected from overexcitement by the “Moving Picture Act” if there was a conscious intention to create an erotic impact. In this case, the opinion of the censor was that “the photos at hand refrained from any allusions to lustfulness, thereby not expected to influence the fantasy of healthy adolescent people in an adverse manner”. The final decision was, therefore, that “the complaint was recorded but the three photos which were disputed by a preliminary decision, are approved for public display in the German Reich”. Berlin Film Oberprüfstelle (B.74), October 5, 1923

Press Reviews

“Passion has caused entire peoples to wage war against each other, destroy each other; an idea, a thought becomes a wild passion and pushes them on the wrong track. How easily must it be for a single person then, to be blinded by passion and take a wrong route, fall prey to a passion that first lifts him up to gigantic heights and then plunges him into bottomless depths; dissolving in front of his eyes like a fog to leave nothing but bitter regret… This extraordinarily suspenseful film was shot by the Nivo-Film-Co. in the framework of its Albani-Production, under the artistic direction of Schamberg”. Neue Illustrierte Filmwoche 1924 (22)

“Tuberculosis in film format… What one gets to see is rather…the hangover. With two bodies of different sexes riddled with acute tuberculosis. He is a successful author who is pursued by the ladies. She is the wife of a senator but also a floozy, who can’t even leave her chauffeur alone. With her last kisses, she infects her lover, who for her sake has horribly neglected his beautiful, attractive wife (in other words Marcella Albani), despite her beautiful clothes, her true love and her genuine tears. As she sees him at the end on his deathbed (Alfred Abel’s portrayal is extremely realistic, although – as someone whispered in my ear – medically incorrect), she forgives him and promises further care. In this not always understandable drama, Berlin actors appear alongside quite a number of Italian actors. It is clear that Schamberg was the director”. Berliner Volkszeitung, May 27, 1924 (250)

Full Cast

Ludwig Rex – Count von Sternsee

Marcella Albani – Renate, his daughter

Alfred Abel – Henry Richard, writer

Hugo Döblin –  Prof. Otto Barberint

Erich Kaiser-Titz – Senator Stephensen

Gertrud Welcker –  Cecilia, his wife

Ernst Hoffmann –  Count Scarampi

Hermann Vallentin – Publisher

Olaf Storm – The young cavalier/suiter

Fred Selva-Göbel – The dubious cavalier/suiter

Josef Commer – The poet

Ellen Plessow – The old woman

Fritz Beckmann – The man in bed

Marian Alma – Dr. Garden

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Das Spiel der Liebe (1923) – The Game of Love

Full Storyline

Marcella, the young and beautiful daughter of Count Robinsee, is attending a prestigious boarding school and leads a care-free life. At school, she shares a close friendship with Margit, the sister of Carl Sörensen, a wealthy industrialist who owns a metal factory. Marcella is in love with Hansen, a poor but talented engineer who works for Sörensen.

But not all is well – Marcella’s father leads an extravagant lifestyle and now has lost the family fortune to gambling and women. Marcella becomes distressed when Hopkins, her father’s notary and manager, informs her of the situation and she confesses to Margit.

Not long after, her father the Count dies and when the will is opened it turns out that Marcella is left with heavy debts. Hopkins, who is also Sörensen’s consultant, comes up with a solution –Sörensen will lend Marcella the money she needs.  Sörensen is inclined to do so because he knows Marcella is a good friend of his sister.

Meanwhile, Hansen feels that Marcella is distancing herself from him. He thinks that the reason is his own lack of means and when they meet, he expresses his feelings to her. Marcella is too ashamed to admit to her new situation. She asks for his forgiveness and tells him that he will be able to understand her actions later on.

Hansen is devastated and immerses himself in his work. As a result, he comes up with a break-through invention and issues a patent on it. Sörensen is impressed and says that this invention will put his factory at the forefront of the industry. Hansen is then promoted to be the director of his department.

Marcella’s financial situation deteriorates and the creditors are knocking at her door. To her rescue comes Sörensen – Margit sends her a note saying that her brother will give her the necessary funds. Marcella is humiliated that her situation has been exposed. She sends a note back, saying that she will only agree if Sörensen will take over her properties in return. But then, Sörensen comes up with the perfect solution for the awkward situation – he proposes marriage to Marcella!

Following the ceremony, Marcella learns from her husband’s secretary that she has just married an unwell man. As time goes by, his illness worsens and he travels to the mountains in the hope of getting better.

Despite Sörensen’s absence, business is booming and the company’s stocks are gaining in value thanks to Hansen’s invention. Alone at the mansion, Marcella invites Hansen to come over one evening. She tries to explain the reason for her marriage to Sörensen and asks his understanding. Hansen, who feels that Marcella has killed all love within him, is too sad for words and leaves.

Back in the factory, Hansen resigns and without his expertise, the machines are breaking down. Word gets back to Sörensen but nobody can explain to him the reason behind Hansen’s resignation.

Marcella sends another note to Hansen asking him to meet her. Hansen can hold no longer – he confesses that he desires only her but people are trying to come between them and he can bear it no longer. Marcella begs him to change his mind about resigning – she feels something ominous is coming and asks for his protection. Hansen cannot refuse her and agrees to stay.

Sörensen learns of the situation and feels that Marcella has been ungrateful. He asks to see her and when she explains the circumstances, he admits that due to her difficult situation she had to marry a sick and moody man. Nevertheless, his anger at Hansen persists and he gives orders to fire him.

Afterward, Sörensen’s condition worsens and he despairs of life. He prepares his will and one day when hiking in the mountains, he cuts his own rope and falls to his death.

Marcella is overcome with grief and retires to a remote abbey. It turns out that before his death, Sörensen has left a letter for Hansen. In the letter, he states that his days are numbered and because he understands Hansen’s pure love for Marcella, he surrenders her back to him with the hope that he will be a faithful and loving companion to her.

And so, in taking this tragic step, Sörensen has paved the road for the lovers to fulfill their love.


(Review from the shooting location) – “The Italian film director, Guido Schamberg… has come to Germany with the diva and compatriot Marcella Albani, as there is hardly any work on the Italian film scene… Ms. Albani… (has) won the first beauty award at the Milan film festival. She is indeed most beautiful. A noble head, beautiful hair, slender figure, agile body – of real Roman stock – classy… The scenes we had an opportunity to watch did not give proof of great acting ability. Schamberg’s directorship is accomplished. He knows how to stay in control of all involved in the production and despite his very poor German, he succeeds in keeping quite a pace. It is obvious that the actors love to work with him. Communication with Albani takes place in French… Judging from the photographs, the very striking snow shots were taken in the Riesengebirge”. (Riesengebirge – a mountain range located in what used to be Silesia)  Film Kurier (088), 16-04-1923

“The Game of Love – when you hear this title indeed one expects a light, airy game, possibly floating in Rococo gracefulness. But the issue here is serious, dead serious. The people who we encounter here are so noble, that one feels unworthy afterwards… Guido Schamberg directed this subject matter, which is not necessarily original, in a somewhat detached manner, yet quite diligently. A little more tempo would have certainly not compromised its effects. Marcella Albani walks through the film like a living marble statue. Alfred Abel has little opportunity to display his acting genius in the role of the husband… (but) his performance is moving in the farewell scene before he takes the final step… Overall, it is an acceptable film for an audience of a solid make”. Film Kurier (33), 07-02-1924

“A very well-made little film which successfully plays with one’s emotions. What Marcella Albani lacks in acting talent, is compensated for, to quite an extent, by her beauty. Alfred Abel draws the attention in his role as a married man, by his inspired type of acting. Karl de Vogt renders the role of the engineer a sympathetic appearance. The film is anything but profound, although not without taste in its presentation”. Filmwoche 1924 (10)

Full Cast

Marcella Albani – As Marcella Robinsee

Erich Kaiser-Titz – as Count Robinsee, Marcella’s father

Josephine Dora – Robinsee’s housekeeper

Alfred Abel – Director Karl Sörensen, Industrialist

Loni Pyrmont – Margit, Sörensen’s sister

Carl Auen – Roberts,  Sörensen’s secretary

Olga Hanson – Lily Basetti, a dancer

Carl de Vogt – Hansen, engineer

Hugo Döblin – Dr. Hopkins, notary

Leonard Haskel – a creditor

Johanna Ewald –  Headmistress of boarding school

Willi Kaiser-Heyl

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Frauenschicksal (1922) – Women’s Fate

Full Storyline

Renate, a beautiful young woman, is abducted by a gang of criminals. She is taken to the big city and is forced to work in a gambling club and take part in the gang’s criminal activities.

One dark and stormy night, the police raids the club and Renate escapes without damage to her body or soul. For three days and nights, she roams the streets of the big city but unfortunately, she soon falls into the hands of Nibbio, who is a cunning criminal. He lures her with smooth talk and promises of heaven on earth, only to draw her back into a life of crime. Luckily, he is soon caught by the police and Renate is free again.

Not long after, Renate meets Renzo and quickly falls in love. She learns that he is the foster son of a famous doctor but has become a victim of fate and was living on the fringes of society with other outcasts. Renate succeeds at leading him back into a decent life and they plan to get married.  Renzo finds work with a blacksmith and Renate blossoms in her happiness and the quiet life she finally has. The past seems forgotten. However, disaster strikes again as Nibbio reappears on the scene.  With the help of his accomplices, he has succeeded in escaping from prison. His revenge is centered on all who have caused his “misfortune” or who have “betrayed” him, and Renate is among them.

One evening Nibbio sneaks into a garden party which Renate and Renzo are attending and challenges Renzo to a duel. Renzo is badly wounded and is taken by Renate to the hospital. To their astonishment, the attending doctor is Professor Krauss, Renzo’s foster father. In an emotional scene, just before he dies, Renzo tells his father about his troubled life away from home.

The professor then takes Renate to his home and showers her with love and care. Although his conscience troubles him, he cannot resist the great affection which he develops towards her and Renate herself also discovers that she has romantic feelings for him. Gradually love is blossoming again and Krauss is thriving in the company of the lovely Renate. He even makes a medical discovery that will free humanity of a deadly plague.

But Nibbio is still at large and has not forgotten Renate. On the day they are celebrating the professor’s discovery, Nibbio confronts Renate but she demands that he leave. During the night, he returns and sneaks into Renate’s bedroom. At first, he tries to seduce her with words but when he realizes that she is lost to him, he threatens to tell the doctor that she used to be his lover. When he becomes violent, Renate is left with no other choice but to shoot him with a revolver.

The shot echoes through the house. Fearing the worst, the professor hurries to Renate’s room. She is horrified by what she has done and is ready to take her own life. He calms her down with soothing words and with shock, he listens to her confession. Professor Krauss then asks Renate to marry him and says to her: “Your fate has led you through the worst in life but it has also given you the strength to conquer evil. From now on you will be honest, cleansed by the purity of your will power, which is so strong that it will make you forget the past.” The battle with fate has finally come to an end.

Censor’s second review & final decision

The following scenes are banned and will be cut:

1 – During the arrest of the club’s manager, a woman is roughly treated by the police.

2 – A woman is chased around a table and then assaulted.

3 – Two men are beating each other and wrestling on the floor.

4 – An elegantly dressed man is being robbed by hoodlums.

5 – A fight between two men with knives – the fight is permitted as long as the knives are not shown.

6 – The hand of a woman and that of a man is shown trying to get hold of a gun while they are on a couch – this scene must be shortened.

“One has to agree with the reasons given for the initial verdict: this film is full of violence and bar scenes, presenting an unwholesome show of crude feelings and depraved instincts of people in general… The Film Board nevertheless admits that there is some merit in this film. The female lead, an Italian actress, is lovely and full of charm and it is thanks to her acting abilities that this tawdry action is made reasonably credible, making it possible for the viewer to experience a measure of empathy… as for the rest, the Board was of the opinion that by cutting out the banned scenes, it has diminished the harmful content”.                                      Berlin Film Board, File B.3.23, Berlin Jan. 30, 1923

From the Promo material by “Nivo Film”

“A symphony of love and suffering. A battle between will power and destiny. It does not matter whether it is all about the woman who was born in a royal castle, or about someone of lowly birth. Beauty, bestowed by fate, desired by many, often leads to disaster. It forces one into the dark places of life, even when the heart is yearning for purity, simplicity and high moral values. The suffering of our heroin is only an example of the tragedy women have to undergo daily and even hourly all over the world”. Nivo Film

Press Review

“The film of Guido von Parisch starts gloomily, guiding its hero, the delicate Renate, through various ordeals towards a final catharsis… the screenplay is directed towards a large audience…  the plot is tightly written and constantly moving forward, … the director is using subtlety to support the psychology of the characters. The portrayal emphasizes strong gestures like in Italian films, Marcella Albani is at times breathtakingly beautiful as Renate and masters her performance in all its variations. Aside from her, Carl Auen is remarkable due to his cynical manners with which he conveys the brutality of Nibbio. Ludwig Hartau is again moving in the simplicity of his expressions, Ernst Hofmann as Renzo develops a surprising skill especially in the death scene… Hermann Leffler, Georg John and Maria Forescu show diligent work which is well used… The set design of M. Ostermann is very adequate and well-conceived in its lines, A. Halm and R. Merkel were responsible for the set management, the photography of A. Nanisch is impeccable even though the feigned night scenes are not quite neat”.          Filmkurier, April 7th, 1923

Full Cast

Marcella Albani – Renate Decroiée

Ludwig Hartau – Professor Krauss

Ernst Hofmann – Renzo, his foster son

Georg John – Renzo’s friend

Carl Auen – Nibbio, adventurer

Maria Forescu – Lissh, Nibbio’s lover

Victor Costa – Count Salm

Hermann Leffler – a blacksmith

Kurt Bobeth-Bolander

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Dolores (1922)

Press Review

“Carl Boese just finished shooting the 5th film of the musical series by the Nivelli-Film-Fabrikation… Aside from the singing interlude, which is a delightful, temperamental “Spanish Romance” with music by the conductor Franz Goetze; the film includes a dance interlude and a Spanish folk dance performed by Georges Blanvalet and Sadjah Gezza, which the director linked with the plot in an effective and contrasting way.”

Der Film, April 1919 (14)


Rita Clermont

Karl Beckersachs

Sadjah Gezza

Georges Blanvalet

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