Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 18:15


Joe May
Introduced by

Lukas Foerster


Saturday 25/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Du bist nicht die Erste (You are not my first girl) – the criminally catchy theme song, repeated several times and in several variations throughout the film, already makes it clear that the love story told by Joe May’s Ihre Majestät die Liebe will not be either idealised or straight-forward. It starts with a challenge. “I will dance with you,” says barmaid Lia Török (Käthe von Nagy) to Fred von Wellingen (Franz Lederer), one of many intrusive customers she has to fight off every night, “but only if you promise to marry me.” At first, Fred, always surrounded by flocks of party girls, balks. And when he eventually agrees to her terms, romance is still far from his mind. Indeed despite his dapper looks, Fred is an unusual protagonist for a romantic comedy: the spoiled son of an industrial dynasty, he appears to be both a careerist and a weakling, as well as a notorious liar. At first he sees Lia just one flirt among many. Later, he will see her as a means to an end. But he happens to be the man she has fallen in love with.
Käthe von Nagy’s layered, intense performance is the emotional core of a film that embodies the free-wheeling, generous spirit of early German sound cinema. Always ready to sidestep the central romance plot in search of other attractions, May’s film is, among many other things, a prime showcase for some of Weimar cinema’s finest character actors. Otto Wallburg once again excels as Fred’s narcissistic businessman brother, Gretl Theimer and Tibor von Halmay perform a joyfully obscene exercise in musical gymnastics, and Szöke Szakall does what he does best: playing a fuzzy, ‘ethnic’ patriarch with his heart in the right place. Even more so than the rest of the programme, Ihre Majestät die Liebe provides a glimpse at a Germany that wasn’t allowed to exist much longer– several cast members and almost the whole production team left the country immediately after the Nazi takeover.

Lukas Foerster

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Adolf Lantz, Rudolf Bernauer, Rudolf Oesterreicher. F.: Otto Kanturek. Scgf.: Andrej Andrejew, Erich Kettelhut. Mus.: Walter Jurdmann. Canzoni: Rudolf Bernauer, Rudolf Oesterreicher. Int.: Käthe von Nagy (Lia Török), Franz Lederer (Fred von Wellingen), Otto Wallburg (Othmar von Wellingen),Gretl Theimer (Elli), Tibor von Halmay (Friedrich Hempel), Szöke Szakall (Bela Török), Adele Sandrock (Henriette), Kurt Gerron (Hornberg), Ralph Arthur Roberts (Schwapsdorf). Prod.: Joe May-Film A.G.