12 June 2019

Der Sohn des Hannibal (1918)

Danish actor, director, scriptwriter and producer Viggo Larsen (1880-1957) was one of the pioneers of the Danish cinema. During the 1910s, he also worked in Germany for the Messter-Film studio. One of his German films is the comedy Der Sohn des Hannibal/The Son of Hannibal (1918) which he directed, produced and starred in.

Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 542/1. Photo: Messter-Film. Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal/The Son of Hannibal (Viggo Larsen, 1918).

Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 542/2. Photo: Messter-Film. Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal/The Son of Hannibal (Viggo Larsen, 1918). The woman is Käthe Haack.

A racehorse called Imperator


The screenplay of Der Sohn des Hannibal/The Son of Hannibal (Viggo Larsen, 1918) was written by Karl Singer and Rudolf Strauß and based on a novel by Ludwig Wolff.

The title of the film does not refer to the historical figure but to a horse and the film is mainly situated at a Berlin racetrack.

Viggo Larsen plays an elegant racing team owner, Count Ferdinand Muntaniz, who buys a racehorse, a descendant of the stallion Hannibal, and calls it 'Imperator'. Immediately he bets with Count Szivarwany that the horse will win the first derby. Due to race shifts and game losses, Count Ferdinand is forced to resell Imperator but he has recovered his losses through the bet.

The German magazine Kinematographische Rundschau was enthusiastic about the results: "The brilliant acting of Viggo Larsen, who understands the role of an aristocrat as truly aristocratic and sympathetic, is among the best achievements of this popular artist. Even as his own director, he has created a framework that effectively highlights the moving action. (...) A good idea is associated with beautiful images, which is accompanied by success."

In 1926, the film was remade as Der Sohn des Hannibal (Felix Basch, 1926), a silent film with Liane Haid, Alphons Fryland, Ferdinand von Alten, Albert Paulig and Sig Arno.

Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 542/3. Photo: Messter-Film. Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal/The Son of Hannibal (Viggo Larsen, 1918). The woman with the gun is Käthe Haack.

Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 542/4. Photo: Messter-Film. Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal/The Son of Hannibal (Viggo Larsen, 1918). The man on the left could be Franz Verdier.

Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal (1918)
German postcard by Rotophot in the Film Sterne series, no. 542/6. Photo: Messter-Film. Viggo Larsen in Der Sohn des Hannibal/The Son of Hannibal (Viggo Larsen, 1918).

Sources: Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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