Madame De Thebes

Mauritz Stiller

Scen.: Martin Jorgensen, Louis Levy; F.: Julius Jaenzon; Int.: John Ekman (Padre Di Ayla), Morta Halldén (Contessa Julie), Nicolai Johannsen (Conte Robert), William Larsson (Max), Albin Lavén (Von Volmar), Karin Molander (Louise Von Volmar), Doris Nelson (Ayla Da Giovane), Ragna Wettergreen (Ayla); Prod.: Svenska Biografteatern Ab; 35mm. L.: 974 M. D.: 50′ A 17 F/S. Bn.

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

An incomplete tinted nitrate French distribution print was dis­covered by Lobster Films in Paris in 2004, later acquired by the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen. The Swedish Film Institute acquired a b/w duplicate negative from Copenhagen in 2006, wherein recreated Swedish intertitles were inserted. Copyright frames from the collection of the Library of Congress in Wash­ington, D.C., were also inserted to cover missing parts. The reconstruction and restoration were completed in 2007. With the discovery made by Lobster Films the number of existent Swedish Stiller films has now increased to 14, which however still leaves two-thirds of the director’s output lost. Madame de Thèbes is now the oldest of the surviving films, shot after, but released before, Hamnaren (presented at the 2003 edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato). Of all the Stiller films thought to be lost, Madame de Thèbes was one of the most desired to be rediscovered, as the surviving stills from the film indicated some extraordinarily striking images and compositions. And indeed expectations are met – the scenes from the fortunetelling lady’s studio are breathtaking, as is the scene where Karin Molander disguises herself in front of multiple mirrors. But the film is not only memorable for its plastic beauty. As in Hamnaren, the story of Madame de Thèbes centres on a successful young man growing up without knowing who his real parents are. The film has an almost archaic power in its depiction of fate, love, betrayal, and denial, and the drama moves freely between the different locations of the action. The remarkable unstaticness of the film is not only enhanced by the mise-en-scène and the editing, but also by the camerawork of Julius Jaenzon.

Jon Wensgtrom, Cinemateket-Svenska Filminstitutet

Copy From

Restored by
Restored by

Restoration carried out in 2007, from a tinted nitrate french print discovered by Lobster Films and from a b/w duplicate negative acquired by the Danske Filmmuseum