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11 January 2017

Rose Bernd (1919)

Rose Bernd (1919) was an acclaimed film of Henny Porten, one of the three major film divas of the German silent cinema. Alfred Halm adapted the film from the the play of the same name by Gerhart Hauptmann.

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd (1919)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, Berlin, no. 350/1, 1919-1924. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Messter-Film. Publiciity for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919).

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 350/2. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Messter-Film. Publicity still for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919).

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 350/3. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Messter-Film. Publicity still for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919).

Forbidden Love


Rose Bernd (Henny Porten) is a good-natured as well as a brave and loving peasant daughter. She has nursed in a self-sacrificing manner the seriously ill son of the well-to-do family Flamm until he dies.

His father, mayor Christoph Flamm (Alexander Wirth), is more and more interested in the young girl, and so he presses on Rose massively. Finally, she surrenders to the haughty seduction of the married and much older man. Meanwhile, Flame's wife (Ilka Grüning) is also very ill, she knows nothing about her husband's imitations. Finally, Rose Bernd gets pregnant from Flamm.

To all this, the young woman is also caught in the clutches of Arthur Streckmann (Emil Jannings), who is just as robust as he is bullish-rude and character-wrecked. He has observed Rose and the old Flamm at a tête-à-tête and now claims his 'right' at Rose. He threatens to betray her 'forbidden' love with Flamm and make it public, so he blackmails her to give in to him sexually. Yet, Rose remains firm, so Streckmann brutally rapes her.

A third candidate for Rose Bernd's favour is the pious bookkeeper August Keil (Paul Bildt). He officially asks Rose's father (Werner Krauss) for her hand, but his wooing is negated by the young woman's deaf ears. In the meantime Streckmann spreads rumours about Rose Bernd, which should bring her into disrepute. Then her father and the old Flamm accuse Streckmann of scandal and slander.

It comes to a court case. Rose Bernd, deeply ashamed of the events, denies the affair with Flamm as well as her pregnancy, and even out of shame commits perjury. As a last act of deep, inner turmoil and despair, Rose Bernd runs into the forest and gives birth to her child with her last efforts. Then she strangles her newborn child and returns to the city, shaken by febrile convulsions.

Rose Bernd was shot in August 1919. The premiere took place on 5 October 1919 at the Berlin Mozartsaal cinema as a charity matinee for poor, single mothers. General release started on 17 October 1919. Sets were by Hans Baluschek, cinematography by Willi Gabel, while director Alfred Halm also wrote the script, based on Gerhart Hauptmann's play.

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 630/1. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Messter-Film. Publicity still for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919), with Henny Porten and Emil Jannings.

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd (1919)
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 630/3. Photo: Messter-Film. Publicity still for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919).

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 630/4. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Messter-Film. Publicity still for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919), with Henny Porten and Werner Krauss (right).

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 630/5. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Messter-Film. Publicity still for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919), with Henny Porten and Alexander Wirth.

Henny Porten in Rose Bernd
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 630/6. Photo: Becker & Maass, Berlin / Messter-Film. Publicity still for Rose Bernd (Alfred Halm, 1919), with Henny Porten and Emil Jannings.

Source: Wikipedia (German and English) and IMDb.

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