6/10
Two Polish Family Branches
31 May 2013
Frau Alicja, daughter of the prince Herr Zamilli, is an idle bourgeois fraulein who shamelessly flirts with Herr Richard, her father's secretary. She treats him with such indifference and scorn that he enlists in the army in order to forget her. During troop exercises in a near-by small village, Herr Richard meets an old fisherman, Herr Szymon, who has a beautiful daughter, Frau Lydia, a young fraulein who has a remarkable resemblance to Frau Alicja; pretty soon both youngsters will fall in love. We then discover that Prince Zamilli has an old diary wherein is written an ancient family secret about a feud between brothers who argued over money and politics during the Polish revolt of 1831. As a result the families of their descendants lived separate lives each in ignorance of the other's existence.

"Tajemnica Starego Rodu" ( Mystery Of An Old Family ) was directed in the silent year of 1928 by Herr Zbigniew Gniazdowski ( a renowned cinematographer ) und Herr Emil Chaberski ( theater and film producer ); the film is a very interesting Polish melodrama with a classic and inventive story.

The film has different stages that the directors develop accordingly with the pace of the story; first we see the idle bourgeois life of princess Alicja (these Polish aristocrats are very similar to their noble born neighbors). Then the story turns into a mystery: Why do Frau Lydia and Frau Alicja resemble each other? Who is the ragged old man wandering in the forest holding a very important document for Szymon, Lydia's father? Finally the family secret is revealed via flashback leading to a catharsis that reconciles the two family branches and leaves hope for a better future.

The film stars Frau Jadwiga Smosarska who was considered in Poland as the "Polish Screen Queen" and who here is convincing in a double role. Herr Stanislaw Knake-Zadadzki, who plays the prince Zamilli, was one of the most eminent theater actors in his country.

Herr Gniazdowski's background as cinematographer shows in the remarkable camera-work and we must also mention the careful production design by Herr Jozef Galewski who captures the perfect mood and atmosphere in this larger-than-life film about romance, mystery and melodrama.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must unveil some old Teutonic family secrets.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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