Nielsen plays two tragic romantic heroines, in this melodramatic double-bill.
Asta Nielsen, Ludwig Trautmann, Max Laurance
Germany 1916. 59min
With live piano accompaniment by John Sweeney
Asta Nielsen’s skill as a tragedian prompted comparisons to the great stage actor Sarah Bernhardt and the opera singer Eleonora Duse. In this double-bill, as she plays tragic heroines from opposite sides of the tracks, you can see why. In the German silent drama Dora Brandes she plays a feted actor slowly driven to despair and alcoholism after her politician lover betrays her and the sacrifices she made for his career. Luxurious interior and costume design sets off Nielsen’s intensely emotional performance to superlative effect.
+ Poor Jenny
Die arme Jenny
Denmark 1911/12. Urban Gad. With Asta Nielsen, Leo Peukert. 30min. 35mm. English subtitles
In the earlier Danish film Poor Jenny, Nielsen plays a cleaner seduced by a callous young man, and then abandoned by her family. The setting may be downbeat but Nielsen’s charisma radiates.