Valdemar Psilander

Ved Fængslets Port (Temptations of a Great City)
R: August Blom. B: Ljut Steensgaard, Erling Stensgaard. K: Axel Graatkjær. D: Valdemar Psilander, Clara Pontoppidan, Augusta Blad, Holger Hofmann, Richard Christensen. P: Nordisk Film Kompagni. Dk 1911
Print: Danish Film Institute
Engl. and Span. subtitles

“The morally weak son of a rich widow gets into trouble because of his debts to a money lender, whose daughter becomes his fiancée. The drama reaches its climax in the famous ‘mirror-scene’, where the desperate son sneaks into his mother’s living room at night to steal her money. The film was Psilander’s debut at Nordisk and one of the company’s most successful films ever.”
Danish Film Institute

Valdemar Psilander (1884-1917) was probably the greatest male star of Danish silent cinema. He died in 1917, only 32 years old. Despite his early death, he nevertheless acted in 83 films during his 6 years with the Nordisk Films Kompagni. (…) Already shortly after his first film, Ved Fængslets Port (Temptations of a Great City), he became the company’s highest paid actor. ‘Psilander-films’ became a goldmine for Nordisk Film. In particular, the German, Russian and Hungarian audiences were taken by storm, and even a mediocre script became – at least in the eyes of the public – a film worth seeing simply because of this charismatic actor.
It was lucky for Psilander that his debut at Nordisk Film Ved Fængslets Port was, and still is, one of the best films of the period – innovative in its style, with many fine details and excellent acting performances. The roles are well cast, the acting subdued and moving. Marguerite Engberg goes as far as describing the film as ‘one of the most outstanding August Blom has made’, although at this point he had only directed a handful of films. Psilander is in good company and does particularly well. Right from the start, there is a naturalness and youthful integrity in his acting, which comes across as dazzling on the big screen. The film is one of the first in a long row of ‘erotic melodramas’ – a genre that almost became the trademark of Danish film abroad – and Psilander was born for this type of film with his masculine charm and elegant poise.”
Lisbeth Richter Larsen
Edition Filmmuseum

For aabent Tæppe (Desdemona)
R: August Blom. B: Louis Møller / William Shakespeare. D: Valdemar Psilander, Thyra Reimann, Nicolai Brechling, Henny Lauritzen , Henry Knudsen, Zanny Petersen , Svend Bille. P: Nordisk Films Kompagni. Dk 1912
Engl. titles

“Mise-en-scène gets much more attention than camera-work in Desdemona. Especially interesting is the use of mirrors, which take on an associative nature with cinema in Scandanavian films during this period. In this film, they nicely underscore the point of life and theatre reflecting each other. In another film from 1911, Ved Fængslets Port, the same director, August Blom, used mirrors to show action out of frame, which compensated some for the lack of camera movement and editing in the film.”

>>> Valdemar Psilander on this site:  Exquisite interiors, magnificent exteriors,  Asta Nielsen: A Kind of Trance State, Urban Gad, Holger-Madsen 02