Rudolf Biebrach

Scen.: Robert Wiene. F.: Karl Freund. Scgf.: Ludwig Kainer. Int.: Henny Porten (contessa Gyllenhand/Karoline Blume), Heinrich Schroth (conte Gyllenhand), Paul Biensfeldt (il principe), Ernst Hofmann, Reinhold Schünzel, Martin Lübbert. Prod.: Oskar Messter per Messter-Film GmbH. 35mm. L.: 950 m. D.: 46’ a 18 f/s. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Henny Porten plays the dual role of a rather indecorous Countess and her kitchen maid Karoline Blum, an amateur actress. While the Count is abroad, the Countess is left behind in the company of her three suitors. She is supposed to receive a courtly visitor, who is coming to inspect her manners. The promotion of the Count depends on this. Instead the Countess also leaves the house. The entire staff decide to give themselves a holiday, except Karoline who seizes the opportunity to dress up and act like the Countess to rehearse her role in the theatre. The courtly visitor finds her alone at home, mistakes her for the countess and suggests that she organize a big party in her house the next day. Karoline recruits the members of the staff to pretend they are aristocratic guests and manages to get the Count his promotion. In the meantime, the real Countess has been arrested for public drunkenness and summoned to court. However she gives her name as Karoline to avoid a scandal and sends her to plead guilty.
The dual role enables Porten to display her comic talent, particularly in the scenes where she is Karoline, imitating her other self, the Countess. This allows for a double layer of exaggeration; the kitchen maid has a lot of fun imitating the hysterical mannerisms of her mistress. And Porten seems to be endlessly enjoying playing these different characters. The double role playing, mixed with the mistaken identity plot and fast, witty dialogue, provide for a quick and entertaining comedy, similar in style to the films written and acted by Henny’s sister Rosa.

Elif Rongen

Copy From

Preserved in 2018 by EYE at Haghefilm laboratory from a vintage tinted nitrate with Dutch intertitles preserved at EYE