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"Det Hemmelighedsfulde X" ( The Mysterious X or Sealed Orders ) was the first film from the Danish director Herr Benjamin Christensen, a film director with a very strange inclination toward occult sciences, witchcraft, macabre rituals and other black celebrations, his film "Häxan" (1922) ( wherein Herr Christensen appeared as Herr Satan himself ) being the paradigm of these strange Danish tastes. In every film of his film career ( in Denmark, Germany or the USA ), besides the liking for Herr Devil and Mr. Evil, there is always, more or less, depicted a strange sense of the futility of life, the darkness of men's souls, and no much place for happy endings.
Det Hemmelighedsfulde X" is the story of Lieutenant Van Hauen ( Herr Christensen himself ), a man very concerned to perform his duty, that is to say, make war while his wife makes love with Count Spinelli, a sinister Count with many obscure intentions ( this reminds this Herr Graf of something. ); intrigues about secret sealed war orders given to Herr Van Hauen that are revealed to the enemy will put the lieutenant's honor in question and his physical integrity at stake in a film very well paced and directed, a mixture of spy film ( those wicked people use modern communication systems this German Count is very fond of, such as carrier pigeons and Morse code ), war film ( mysterious landscapes, sinister mills, and battles on land and sea are seen in connection with the plot ), and suspense film ( the efforts of the lieutenant's family to prove his innocence at the end of the film are very well resolved, giving a sense of modernity for a film made in 1914 ).
"Det Hemmelighedsfulde X" is an excellent debut; Christensen's characteristics I've mentioned before are not found in this film; in their stead are conventional human weaknesses such as adultery, treachery and honor, although there are some shots depicting the dark intentions the Danish director was so fond of, as when Count Spinelli is trapped in the mill's cellar threatened by rats .
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must do the honors of the Schlöss in this Count's honor.
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