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Der var engang (1922)



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Credited cast:
Clara Pontoppidan ... The Princess of Illyria (as Clara Wieth)
Svend Methling Svend Methling ... The Prince of Denmark
Peter Jerndorff Peter Jerndorff ... The King
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hakon Ahnfelt-Rønne Hakon Ahnfelt-Rønne ... Kasper Røghat
Mohamed Archer Mohamed Archer ... Frier
Bodil Faber Bodil Faber ... Hofdame
Wilhelmine Henriksen Wilhelmine Henriksen ... Doktor Dorthe
Lili Lani Lili Lani ... Hofdame
Henry Larsen Henry Larsen ... Frier
Frederik Leth Frederik Leth ... Kulsivieren
Schiøler Linck Schiøler Linck ... Papegöje Kammerherren
Gerda Madsen Gerda Madsen
Lars Madsen Lars Madsen ... Bissekraemmeren
Torben Meyer ... Ceremonimesteren
Karen Poulsen Karen Poulsen ... Bolette


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Release Date:

3 October 1922 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sophus Madsen Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The recent DVD of the extant portions of this film, produced by the Danish Film Institute for sale to the public - though playable only in the European Region - reveals it is based on an operetta, which in turn was based on Shakespeare's "The Taming Of The Shrew". The first third (almost all of the sequences in the castle) survives, followed by a series of takes of low comedy [prince's servant and kitchen maids] scenes, followed by the last segment of the film (the forest scenes). Anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour is missing in the middle of the film. No shooting script or review exists so timing is not certain. The DVD runs for about 75 minutes and is all we have left of the film. This information was derived from Jean and Dale Drum's biography of Carl Dreyer: MY ONLY GREAT PASSION. See more »


Featured in Ved den danske films vugge (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

2 November 2005 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

According to the Danish Film Institute, which is responsible for the restoration of this film, approximately only half of the original film remains. At 75 minutes, this restoration includes stills and explanatory title cards to compensate for much of the lost footage. As it is, "Once Upon a Time" isn't very good. Yet, one can see significant improvements in Carl Theodor Dreyer's film-making here, and he would make his first great film, in my opinion, next with "Michael".

The film clearly resembles Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew", with the story being about a Danish prince who, much through stratagem, tames a rebellious princess into loving, marrying and obeying him. The original film was probably more succinct and explanatory, but the plotting is occasionally perplexing as is. The cinematography is quite good at times, including some chiaroscuro effects. Some of the acting, or rather direction of the actors, is awkward at times, though. There's some comic relief, too, although not like in Dreyer's more entertaining early film, "The Parson's Widow" (Prästänkan) (1920). "Once Upon a Time" isn't a terrible waste of time, and it can be entertaining, but I recommend skipping it for the director's more acclaimed and available works.

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