Shadow Plays

Emanuel Gregers, Denmark, 1920

88 min.DK/FeatureDrama, MelodramaSilent films

Maria Lindorph, wife of the newly appointed state prosecutor, is worried about having to return to the capital after many years in the provinces. She is afraid to meet Asp, a newspaper editor who moves in high society circles. Her fears that he may destory her happiness causes her to recall her past: after her mother's death, she lived with her strict father and his cruel housekeeper. Her secret meetings with Poul Lindorph, a young student, are discovered, and she is thrown out of her home. Poul, himself an orphan, loses his allowance because of their "affair". Soon, they are starving, and her father refuses to help. In desperation, Maria secretly becomes the mistress of the sinister Asp, but when Poul completes his studies, she breaks off with him. Many years later, her fears are realized: at a ball, she meets Asp again, and he is immediately seized with an intense desire to possess her again. He threatens to expose her shameful past to her husband. Soon after, Asp is found dead and his young mistress is suspected of murder. At her trial, Lindorph is the prosecutor, and he gets the girl convicted of murder. Only then does Maria confess that she was the one who murdered Asp. Yet when Poul learns the truth of her sacrifice, he forgives her.
Bodil Ipsen, the star of Lavinen, was commonly consideres the greatest Danish stage actress of her generation, and during the 1940s she also became a very successful film director. This picture is the best of the four silent films she made, and her performance is interesting to watch, even if her big, sturdily-built frame works against her in this fairly conventional melodrama. It has (like Dreyer's Præsidenten, released two months earlier) an extremely elaborate flash-back structure. It is directed by the dependable but uninspired Emanuel Gregers, whose career at Nordisk lasted until 1945.
Basic information Credits Materials
Original title Lavinen
Danish title Lavinen
International titles The Rocks of Life
Other titles Synderinden
Director Emanuel Gregers
Screenplay Carl Gandrup, Emanuel Gregers
Director of Photography Hans Waagø
Appearance Jon Iversen, Bodil Ipsen, Arne Weel, Carl Lauritzen
Production country Denmark
Technical info 1794 meter, 35 mm, Black/white, Silent
Danish theatrical release 20.04.1920
Cinemas Palads
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Production company Nordisk Films Kompagni


Direction Emanuel Gregers


Script Carl Gandrup
Script Emanuel Gregers


Cinematography Hans Waagø


Poul Lindorph, rigsadvokat Jon Iversen
Maria, Pouls hustru Bodil Ipsen
Poul og Marias søn Arne Weel
Professor Berglum, Marias far Carl Lauritzen
Professorens husbestyrerinde Jonna Neiiendam
Redaktør Asp Johannes Meyer
Hanni Kvissel Astrid Holm

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Program - stumfilm & mikro