Vilhelm Glückstadt

Enhver (Everyman)
R: Vilhelm Glückstadt. K: Ludwig Lippert. Ba: Viggo Larsen. D: Peter S. Andersen, Gudrun Houlberg, Lilly Jansen. P: Filmfabrikken Danmark. Dk 1915
Span. subtitles

Vilhelm Glückstadt (1885–1939), whose extraordinary work as a director has remained almost unexplored to this day, was the author of three films which reveal profound affinities with the expressionist aesthetic: Den Fremmede (1914), Det gamle Spil om Enhver ( or Enhver, 1915), a complex tangle of flashbacks, parallel story-lines, and strongly metaphorical imagery; and the impassioned Kornspekulanten (1916), whose attribution to Glückstadt is not entirely certain, but which looks forwards to Dreyer’s Vampyr (1932).”
Geoffrey Nowell-Smith: The Oxford History of World Cinema. Oxford University Press 1997, p. 155

Enhver (‘Everyman’), 1915, is a silent phantasy film inspired by ‘Jedermann’ of Hugo von Hofmannstahl (sic!), Austrian novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist. In 1912, Hugo von Hofmansthal adapted the 15th century English morality play Everyman as ‘Jedermann’, and this was staged in Danish translation at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in 1915. At the time, it was radical example of symbolist abstraction. The film director was Vilhelm Glückstadt (1885-1939), uncredited. The protagonist is tempted by dark figure of evil and succumbs, rejecting God and leading a life of iniquity, but he is then haunted by guilty visions until he finally dies, asking God for forgiveness at the last moment. ‘Elliptical narrative, flashbacks, metaphoric sequences and parallel lines of action’ (Ron Mottram).”

I storm og stille
R: Vilhelm Glückstadt. B: Emanuel Gregers. D: Peter S. Andersen, Emanuel Gregers, Osvald Helmuth, Kaj Holberg, Gudrun Houlberg, Viggo Larsen. P: Filmfabrikken Danmark. Dk 1915
Print: Danish Film Institute
German titles, span. subtitles

Den Fremmede
R: Vilhelm Glückstadt. D: Hakon Ahnfelt-Rønne, Emanuel Gregers, Gudrun Houlberg. P: Filmfabrikken Danmark. Dk 1914
Print: Danish Film Institute
Span. subtitles

“In some ways Vilhelm Glückstadt is an even more fascinating figure than Benjamin Christensen, if only because he is almost entirely unknown, while his films are among the most interesting produced anywhere in the world. (…)
The story of Den Fremmede, the earliest of the surviving Gliickstadt films, revolves around Poul Wang (Emanuel Gregers), a confidential clerk for a trading company. One evening he goes to a nightclub with some friends while his wife, Clara (Gudrun Houlberg), waits at home. He cannot pay his bill and, in his drunkenness, asks that it be sent to his home the next morning. When the bill arrives, he still cannot pay it; apparently it is for a rather large sum. Poul visits Frandsen, a moneylender, and borrows the money to pay the bill. Later, Frandsen goes to Poul’s office to collect and, when it still cannot be paid, Poul decides to burglarize his employer in order to get the money. That night, Poul’s employer, Dahl (Rasmus Ottesen), is working late and watches Poul’s actions. At the last minute, Poul changes his mind and returns the money to the safe. Poul continues to put Frandsen off. Then one night Dahl summons Poul to the office and the latter reveals his financial problems. Dahl remembers a time from his youth when he stole some money. After leaving Dahl, Poul calls his wife and tells her he will not be home until late that night. Alone in the house and feeling insecure, Clara takes out Poul’s gun for protection. Later, Poul sneaks into his own house intent on stealing money that had been entrusted to him and which he has been keeping locked in a desk drawer. Thinking he is a burglar, Clara shoots him, wounding him in the arm. A strange bearded man, who has appeared periodically throughout the film, enters their house and gives Poul some money with which to pay his debt. The film ends with the bearded man entering his own house, taking off the beard, which was only a disguise, and revealing himself as Dahl.
Den Fremmede is an excellent film, particularly in its cutting and camera placement which allow a development of space that is at times more sophisticated than any other Danish film of the period and, indeed, must rank as one of the most advanced films of the entire prewar cinema.”
Ron Mottram: The Danish Cinema Before Dreyer. Metuchen, New Jersey 1988, p. 116-119

Vilhelm Glückstadt