6.9/10
103
3 user 5 critic

This Ancient Law (1923)

Das alte Gesetz (original title)
Baruch Mayr, son of an orthodox rabbi from a poor shtetl in Galizia, decides to break with the family tradition and leave the shtetl to become an actor. Due to this behaviour his father ... See full summary »

Writers:

Heinrich Laube (memoirs), Paul Reno
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Piccadilly (1929)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young Chinese woman, working in the kitchen at a London dance club, is given the chance to become the club's main act which soon leads to a plot of betrayal, forbidden love and murder.

Director: Ewald André Dupont
Stars: Gilda Gray, Anna May Wong, Jameson Thomas
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

William Douglas Street is bored with his life. Working for his father is getting to him, his wife wants more money, and he's had enough. His solution is to re-invent himself. He becomes a ... See full summary »

Director: Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Stars: Wendell B. Harris Jr., Timothy Alvaro, Dave Barber
Balnearios (2002)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Lifeguards, luxury hotels from early XXth Century, mermaids, sea animals and sand castles gather in this labyrinthine essay. A "documentary" about balnearios, Argentine bath resorts and the... See full summary »

Director: Mariano Llinás
Stars: Verónica Llinás, Mario Mactas, Alejandro Zucco
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A well-known judge has become a fugitive from the police, with a large reward on his head. A reporter believes that the judge is hiding in a private sanitarium, so she seeks out a private ... See full summary »

Director: Budd Boetticher
Stars: Lucille Bremer, Richard Carlson, Douglas Fowley
Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Another planet in the period of medieval times. An employee of the institute of experimental history from Earth, who is send under the name of noble don Rumata of Estor as a spy with a ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Fleischmann
Stars: Edward Zentara, Aleksandr Filippenko, Hugues Quester
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Documentary about African political leader Patrice Lumumba, who was Prime Minister of Zaire (now Congo) when he was assassinated in 1961.

Director: Raoul Peck
Stars: Patrice Lumumba
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman seeks vengeance against her abusive father

Director: Wei Lo
Stars: Ching Lee, Hua Yueh, Chiao Chiao
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Following the 2016 presidential election, Frederick Wiseman's documentary dissects small-town America to understand how its values impact and influence the political landscape of the nation.

Director: Frederick Wiseman
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A well-planned robbery goes awry, with tough cop Cordell in pursuit.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, William Talman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A few days in the life of the postal workers at La Courneuve.

Director: Dominique Cabrera
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Directors: Dominique Cabrera, Edmée Doroszlai
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

A fascinating documentary from Trinidad and Tobago about the domination of Caribbean television by programs from the North, primarily the US. This film ambitiously weaves together ... See full summary »

Directors: Anthony Hall, Christopher Laird
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henny Porten ... Erzherzogin Elisabeth Theresia
Ruth Weyher ... Hofdame
Hermann Vallentin ... Heinrich Laube
Avrom Morewski Avrom Morewski ... Rabbiner Mayer
Ernst Deutsch Ernst Deutsch ... Baruch, sein Sohn
Grete Berger Grete Berger ... Seine Mutter
Robert Garrison Robert Garrison ... Ruben Pick
Werner Krauss ... Nathan, der Professor
Margarete Schlegel ... Esther, seine Tochter
Jakob Tiedtke ... Direktor der Schauspieler
Olga Limburg Olga Limburg ... seine Frau
Alice Hechy ... Beider Tochter
Julius Brandt Julius Brandt ... Ein alter Komödiant
Robert Scholz Robert Scholz
Alfred Krafft-Lortzing Alfred Krafft-Lortzing
Edit

Storyline

Baruch Mayr, son of an orthodox rabbi from a poor shtetl in Galizia, decides to break with the family tradition and leave the shtetl to become an actor. Due to this behaviour his father bans him from his family. Baruch, who joined a small burlesque troupe is discovered by an Austrian Erzherzogin (archdutchess) who introduces him to the director of the most important Theater in Vienna, the Burgtheater. Baruch receives a contract there and becomes more and more an assimilated jew. But his relation with the Erzherzogin isn't approved by the Austrian court, so they have to end it. When an old friend of his father, who is always traveling from one Jewish community to the next (and has told him first about the theatres in the world), Baruch becomes a little bit homesick and returns for a holiday to his old shtetl to see his folks and to pick up his childhood sweetheart. But his father wants him not to enter his house, so he returns to Vienna, with his bride. But his old friend does not stop... Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

29 October 1923 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Baruch See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Comedia-Film GmbH See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Skip this and see 'The Jazz Singer'.
23 November 2007 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

I saw 'This Ancient Law' (subtitled 'Baruch') in October 2007 at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy; they screened a print from the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin. The print had a running time of 107 minutes; I could have cut out 15 minutes without losing any of the plot.

IMDb's detailed synopsis of this film is accurate. However, for some reason IMDb's cast list identifies two different actors (Fritz Richard and the great Werner Krauss) as playing Nathan, the professor. Herr Richard does indeed portray that role in this film; Werner Krauss is not listed in the film print's credits, and I did not spot him anywhere in this movie.

This film is apparently based on the memoirs of Heinrich Laube, who was director of Vienna's Burgtheater in the 1870s. I haven't read those memoirs, but it's not uncommon for a showman to 'improve' his autobiography. Several events in this film seemed rather contrived to me, and the assertion that they were ostensibly based on a true story only annoyed me further.

A major problem with 'This Ancient Law', at least for modern viewers, is that the movie's basic conflict is very similar to the one in a movie made four years later, and now much better known than this one: 'The Jazz Singer'. Baruch Mayr is a rabbi's son with greasepaint in his blood: will he forsake the ancient Jewish ways for the glamour of showbiz, or will he find some way to exist in both worlds?

I was intrigued by the depictions of 19th-century German circus life, which I assume are accurate. Character actor Julius Brandt gives a poignant performance as an elderly performer who is aware that his big break will never come; his only option is to carry on performing in small-time venues until he dies. The photography by the great Theodor Sparkuhl is up to his high standard.

Henny Porten is very pretty in a role which I found contrived and implausible. At this point in her career, Porten often produced her own films. That may explain why some sequences in this movie seem to be placing Porten's character at the centre of the plot when it's clear that Baruch Mayr is really the focal character. Mayr is played by the bland Ernst Deutsch; I wonder if Porten intentionally chose such a bland actor so that her own performance would not be upstaged.

Since I'm not Jewish and I wasn't raised in a Jewish environment, I don't have an instinctive feel for the Judaic traditions and duties which are so crucial to this story. I tried to empathise with the young Jewish hero of this film, and I was able to do so intellectually but unable to do so emotionally. Perhaps if I had never seen 'The Jazz Singer', I might have been more impressed by this movie. As it is, my rating for this one is barely 5 out of 10. It could have used Werner Krauss.


4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed