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The likeable and carefree Grand Duke of Abacco is in dire straits. There is no money left to service the State's debt; the main creditor is looking forward to expropriating the entire Duchy. The marriage with Olga, Grand Duchess of Russia, would solve everything, but a crucial letter of hers about the engagement has been stolen. Besides, a bunch of revolutionaries and a dubious businessman have other plans regarding the Grand Duke. With the intrusion of adventurer Philipp Collins into the Grand Duke's affairs, a series of frantic chases, plots and counter-plots begins... Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
The Grand Duke of Abacco ( Herr Harry Liedtke ) is settled on a Mediterranean island living an altruistic, distracted and careful life. In reality, he's full of debts but that's a situation that could change thanks to an unexpected sulphur deposit found on his small duchy. The Duke, besides his financial problems, is threatened by his villainous principal creditor, who soon stirs up a plot. The dastardly plans count on some of his malicious subjects. Meanwhile other strange characters become involved in what and in will be a peculiar plot full of financial conspiracies and politics concerning the Grand Duke.
Many geniuses in different Arts are also humans. So, due to this, they have virtues and defects. As it happens sometimes with inhuman aristocrats, their major virtues are their defects and minor sins from time to time are revealed. And believed or not, such human weakness was suffered also by the great German film director, Herr Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, who directed in 1924 a comedy!!.
Herr Murnau's only comedy, "Die Finanzen des Großherzogs" it is certainly a rare oeuvre in his magnificent career ( although it is possible to appreciate some slight signs of humour in previous films as "Schloß Vogelöd" - others Herr Murnau's early film are not well remembered by this German count... ) "Die Finanzen des Großherzogs" is a unique and special silent comedy piece stretching Herr Murnau's parameters in what certainly is a bizarre film dealing with idealized and romantic subjects developed in a caricaturized way.
The story of the film is centered around the financial problems of the Grand Duke of Abacco. Together with the different characters involved in such odd story that Herr Murnau describes in a parallel way until little by little everyone comes together in what it is a special comedy of financial intrigue. It's a peculiar "totum revolutum" leading to an over-elaborated story.
After having directed "Phantom" (1922) from a script written by Frau Thea von Harbou ( in turn taken from a dense novel by Herr Gerhard Hauptmann ), this time Frau von Harbou and Herr Murnau considered it necessary to select a completely different literary option than the previous one. The choice was a light novel by Herr Frank Heller that in its adaptation to the silent screen has as a result a mixture of folkloric and stereotyped elements with an air of modern serial.
The film deals with idle and bankrupt aristocrats, a rich duchess, angry servants ( certainly, nothing new under the aristocratic sun ), blackmail, swindlers and even a Revolution. Everything is filmed in beautiful Yugoslavian places that give to the film an aesthetic aspect paralleling the story of the film in itself. That is to say, charming but at the same time irrelevant.., a Herr Murnau "divertimento", certainly.
"Die Finanzen des Großherzogs" is a transitional experiment, an exception in Herr Murnau's superb silent career than in spite of its flaws has interest for any silent fan. It should be watched and considered simply as a weird and peculiar comedy of financial intrigues, a decadent passtime, ja wohl!.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must flee from his debts.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien
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