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Temptations of a Great City (1911)

Ved Fængslets Port (original title)
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Aage Hellertz
...
Anna Hansen (as Clara Wieth)
Augusta Blad ...
Metha Hellertz - Widow
Holger Hofmann ...
Hansen - Waiter
Richard Christensen ...
Bruun
H.C. Nielsen ...
Block
Thora Meincke ...
Stella - Vaudeville Singer
Gudrun Bruun Stephensen ...
Didi - Vaudeville Singer
Frederik Jacobsen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Elna From
Julie Henriksen ...
Maid
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July 1911 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Temptations of a Great City  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Putting in Scene
7 May 2005 | by See all my reviews

As evidenced by this film, Danish filmmakers didn't always give much attention to a film's story. I was left with much to infer here. Valdemar Psilander, the major Danish star of the era beside Asta Nielsen, plays a son whose relationship with his mother suffers due to his playboy pursuits and resulting debts. He also becomes romantically involved with his lender's daughter. Anyhow, the story isn't so important, or interesting. Neither is Psilander, although he does seem natural compared to the theatrics of the actress playing his mother.

Of more interest is the attention to mise-en-scène instead of story, plot, editing or camera movement (none of which were very well developed at this time in film history anyway). Nordisk's production values are quite good for the time, which is to be expected, as they were a dominant film producing company then. For the most part, scenes are long takes--keeping cuts to a minimum. Director August Blom fills scenes with multiple, eye darting, actions, such as at the restaurant. That's from the theatre. More principle to cinema is the mirror motif and low-key lighting. The mirror in the room of several scenes between the mother and her son often serves to show off-screen action, so, for example, we see the son is entering the room before he appears in the shot beside his mother. This allows for less crosscutting. There is one scene with stark low-key lighting (which also features a mirror), a now prevalent film technique, which was probably first to be found prominently in Danish cinema. So, in, primarily, America, one can see the first important stages in dissecting a scene, while Danish filmmakers worked on putting in scene.


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