18 January 2018

Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (1918)

The title of the silent German drama Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918) refers to a line by Cicero, retaken by Friedrich Schiller in the closing lines of his play Die Braut von Messina. Worse than a (self-chosen) death, both claim, is guilt.

Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 532/4. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon and Josef Peterhans in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918).

Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 532/5. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon and Josef Peterhans in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918).

One of the most prolific writers for the German silent film


German actress, writer and producer Hedda Vernon (1866-?) appeared in more than 60 films of the early silent period. During the 1910s she was such a popular film star that she got her own Hedda-Vernon serial. One of these productions was Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918).

Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld was scripted by German scriptwriter Ruth Goetz, "one of the most prolific writers for film in Germany in the period 1916–1927, with about sixty-five titles including original scripts and adaptations credited to her name", as Mila Ganeva writes on the website Women Film Pioneers project.

Ganeva: "Ruth Goetz was the only woman featured in this special 1918 issue of the Berlin-based trade magazine Kinematograph edited by E.A. Dupont and devoted to the invisible work of scenarists. A year earlier, one of her scripts had been included as a model for aspiring writers in one of the first manuals compiled by Wilhelm Adler. The film based on this script, Noemi, die blonde Jüdin/Noemi, the Blond Jewess (1917), was directed by Hubert Moest and served primarily as a star vehicle for actress Hedda Vernon."

Director Hubert Moest was Hedda Vernon's husband from 1913 to 1920. After having acted together from 1913 on, he directed her in many films at the Eiko studio in the years 1914-1919.

In 1917-1918 many postcards for Vernon's films were released: Die Verworfenen, Die Narbe am Knie, Noemi, die blonde Jüdin (all 1917), and Puppchen, Fesseln, Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld, Mouchy, Das Todesgeheimnis and Wo ein Wille, ist ein Weg (all 1918). All these films were directed by Moest.

Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 532/6. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon and Josef Peterhans in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918).

Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 532/7. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon and Josef Peterhans in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918).

Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 532/8. Photo: Eiko Film. Hedda Vernon in Der Übel größtes aber ist die Schuld (Hubert Moest, 1918).

Source: Women Film Pioneers Project; Stephanie D'heil (Steffi-line.de - German), Wikipedia and IMDb.
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