Sog.: dal romanzo Der Präsident (1884) di Karl Emil Franzos. Scen.: Carl Th. Dreyer. F.: Hans Vaagø. Scgf.: Carl Th. Dreyer, Jens G. Lind. Int.: Halvard Hoff (Karl Victor von Sendlingen, presidente del tribunale), Elith Pio (Franz Victor von Sendlingen, suo padre), Carl Meyer (governatore di Sendlingen, suo nonno), Olga Raphael-Linden (Victorine, sua figlia), Betty Kirkeby (la madre di Victorine), Richard Christensen (l’avvocato Berger), Peter Nielsen (il pubblico ministero), Jacoba Jessen (Maika), Hallander Hellemann (Franz, il domestico), Fanny Petersen (Brigitta), Jon Iversen (Weiden, il fidanzato di Victorine), Christian Engelstoft (un giornalista). Prod.: Nordisk Films Kompagni. 35mm. L.: 1673 m. D.: 83’ a 18 f/s. Tinted and toned.
1919 was the year of the directorial debut of the man who was to become the greatest international name in Danish film. The journalist and balloon navigator Carl Th. Dreyer had worked for Nordisk Films Kompagni for six years, first as a script consultant and writer of intertitles, then as a scriptwriter. He had worked on some 20 projects and had also tried his hand at editing. So when he suggested that he would also like to try directing, there was little objection. His debut was Præsidenten, based on a novel by the Austrian writer Karl Emil Franzos. Dreyer had worked on the script and had cut away all the political and social material from the novel, which dealt quite a lot with class structure and the political situation in Austria. What interested Dreyer was the story of three men of different generations, failing to fulfil their responsibility toward women of a different class, bearing their children. At the centre of the story is a judge in a dilemma about whether to save his honourable name and social position or his illegitimate daughter, who is to be prosecuted for having murdered her own illegitimate infant child.
The film was always part of the Dreyer collection at the Danske Filminstitut, the former Danske Filmmuseum. But the archive’s print, which was made in the 1950s from the original negative, is in black and white. We know that Nordisk Film had released its films in tinted versions since 1907, and that the company had a method for marking the different colours. Many of those indications were lost during the restoration in the 50s. In 1998 the archive and the Danish film historian Marguerite Engberg decided to try to reconstruct a tinted version. The negative, re-edited in the 50s, was used, together with the intertitles, the manuscript and a partially surviving editing script. The 224 takes were registered and spaces for the 116 intertitles marked. The editing script was used for reconstruction of the tinting: it contained information about the different takes from which it was possible to conclude which were to have the same tinting. These indications were compared to previous examples of tinting from Nordisk. The restoration was finished in February 1999.