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08 June 2016

Veritas Vincit (1919)

Veritas vincit (1919) is a prestigious silent film on the victory of truth through the ages. The monumental, three-part film was shot during the last months of the First World War and premiered on 4 April 1919 in Berlin. The 'Prunkfilm' was directed by Joe May and produced by his company May Film. His wife Mia May, one of the first divas of the German cinema, was the star of the film. Today in EFSP a film special on Veritas Vincit with postcards produced by Rotophot, the precursor of Ross Verlag, in their Film Sterne (Film Star) series.

Mia May and Johannes Riemann in Veritas vincit
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 566 b. Photo: May Film. Mia May and Johannes Riemann in the German silent epic Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919).

Mia May in Veritas Vincit (1919)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 566/1. Photo: May-Film. Publicity still for Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Veritas vincit. Der grosse Prunkfilm. Szenenbild aus dem I. Teil. Helena, die Tochter des Flavius. (Helena, Flavius' daughter).

Veritas Vincit
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 566/2. Photo: May-Film. Publicity still for Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Szenenbild aus dem I. Teil, Der Triumpfzug (A scene from the First Part, The triumphal procession).

Mia May in Veritas vincit
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/3. Photo: May Film. Mia May and Magnus Stifter in Veritas vincit. Der grosse Prunkfilm (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Die Brautnacht des Decius (Decius' Wedding Night).

Truth Conquers


Veritas Vincit (Joe May, 1919) was the first of the German Monumental-Filme (film epics). It was a film in three episodes, set in Roman Antiquity in the time of Decius, the Middle Ages and modern times.

The stars were Johannes Riemann and Joe May's wife Mia May, who both acted in all three episodes. The general theme was the triumph of truth over lies through the ages.

In the first two historical episodes, the untruthful antagonists sign their tragic destinies because of their insincerities, causing fate to take a tragic turn. But in modern times truth conquers at last. The last part takes place at a small European court shortly before the First World War and finally, Mia has learned from her predecessors. By being sincere she saves her love and conquers prejudice.

If you watch the postcards, really remarkable are the giant sets for the film. They were designed by Paul Leni, who later worked in Hollywood as the director of classic horror films in Hollywood like The Man Who Laughs (1927) and The Cat and the Canary (1928). The cinematography was done by Max Lutze.

Johannes Riemann in Veritas Vincit
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/4. Photo: May Film. Johannes Riemann as Ritter Lutz von Ehrenfried in Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919).

Mia May and Johannes Riemann in Veritas vincit
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/5. Photo: May Film. Mia May and Johannes Riemann in the second part of Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Das Stelldichein (The rendez-vous).

Mia May in Veritas vincit
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/6. Photo: May Film. Mia May in Veritas vincit. Der grosse Prunkfilm (Joe May, 1919). Caption: Die Busse (The Penitence).

Mia May in Veritas vincit
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 566/8. Photo: May Film. Mia May in the first part of Veritas vincit (Joe May, 1919).

Source: Filmportal.de (German), Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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