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19 July 2013

Der Trompeter von Säkkingen / The Trumpeter of Säkkingen

The German silent film Der Trompetter von Säkkingen/The Trumpeter of Säkkingen (1918) was directed by Franz Porten and produced by Eiko Film. Star of the film was Paul Hartmann.

Der Trompeter von Säkkingen
German postcard by Rotophot in the Series Film-Sterne, no. 535/5. Photo: Eiko-Film. Publicity still for Der Trompeter von Säkkingen (Franz Porten, 1918).

Five Years of Separation
Der Trompetter von Säkkingen was based on a popular German opera of the same name by Viktor Nessler. In turn, this opera was based on an extremely popular and widely released romantic epic poem by Joseph Victor von Scheffel, published in 1854. Sometimes book and opera are also written as Der Trompeter von Säckingen (sic). The story is set in Heidelberg and Säckingen during the 17th century, after the Thirty Years War. Law student, later trumpeter Werner Kirchhof (in the film played by Paul Hartmann) falls in love with Margareta, a baron's daughter (Leonore Oppermann), but her mother wants to marry her to the cowardly Damian. Werner proves to be a hero, and a compassionate pope makes him marquis of Camposanto. Then, after five years of separation, nothing prevents a happy ending.

Der Trompeter von Säkkingen
German postcard by Rotophot in the Series Film-Sterne, no. 534/5. Photo: Eiko-Film. Publicity still for Der Trompeter von Säkkingen (Franz Porten, 1918).

International Success
Rudolf Bunge wrote the libretto for the opera by Viktor Nessler. Der Trompetter von Säkkingen was first performed under Arthur Nikisch at the Carola Theater (or Stadttheater) in Leipzig, on 4 May 1884. It was Nessler's greatest success, albeit in part because of the popularity of Joseph Victor von Scheffel's work. It was subsequently given at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on 23 November 1887, and at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London on 8 July 1892. A new chapter of the Trumpeter's Story began in 1918 when director Franz Porten made a silent film version for the Eiko studio. Porten wrote the story with Julius Urgiss and his daughter Rosa Porten. His other daughter, the film diva Henny Porten is said to have played a small part in the film (IMDb and Filmportal.de both write that this is unconfirmed). Franz Porten moved from Berlin to Säckingen for the outdoor scenes, for which he used some 200 locals as extras. The images on the picture postcards that were produced for the film are very atmospheric.

Der Trompeter von Säkkingen
German postcard by Rotophot in the Series Film-Sterne, no. 534/3. Photo: Eiko-Film. Publicity still for Der Trompeter von Säkkingen (Franz Porten, 1918).

Sources: Official Der Trompeter von Säckingen site, Filmportal.de, Wikipedia and IMDb.

1 comment:

Rachele said...

This is awesome!