07 March 2018

Edelsteine (1918)

At the end of the First World War, German diva Henny Porten played the lead in the melodrama Edelsteine/Gems (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918) for Messter Film. Rotophot made in its Film Sterne series these eight beautiful postcards for the film.

Henny Porten in Edelsteine (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/1. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Theodor Loos in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

Henny Porten in Edelsteine
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/2. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Paul Bildt in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

Henny Porten in Edelsteine (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/3. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Paul Hartmann in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

Henny Porten in Edelsteine (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/4. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Paul Hartmann in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

A drive for jewels


In Edelsteine/Gems (or: Edelsteine - Phantastisches Drama in 4 Akten), Henny Porten stars as Maddalena Dergan, the niece of the moneylender and antiquarian Dergan (Paul Bildt). She is betrothed to Pieter Swandam (Theodor Loos).

One day she meets count Forrest (Paul Hartmann), and falls in love with him. The count is in dear need of money, so he pawns a family jewel, a diadem, to Dergan. When old Dergan dies, Maddalena is free to approach the count, and is hired by his wife (Hanna Brohm) as lady companion.

When his wife dies too, Maddalena can become the next countess. Her drive for luxury and possession in the shape of jewels soon affects her downfall, though. Soon after her marriage, Maddalena commits suicide in a moment of deep despair.

Edelsteine was filmed winter 1917/1918 at the Messter-Film studio in Berlin, Blücherstraße 32. The film's plot was written by future director Robert Wiene, while the sets were by Ludwig Kainer and the cinematography by Karl Freund.

The premiere took place on 15 February 1918 at the Berlin Mozartsaal cinema. In Paimann’s Filmlisten the plot was considered "mysterious", the performances "outstanding", and the cinematography and sets "very good".

Henny Porten in Edelsteine (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/5. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Paul Hartmann in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

Henny Porten in Edelsteine (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/6. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Theodor Loos in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

Henny Porten in Edelsteine (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/7. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten and Paul Bildt in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

Henny Porten in Edelsteine (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film-Sterne series, no. 519/8. Photo: Messter Film. Henny Porten in Edelsteine (Rudolf Biebrach, 1918).

Source: Paimann's Filmliste (German), Filmportal.de, Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.
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