R: Urban Gad. B: Urban Gad. K: Karl Freund, Axel Graatkjær, Emil Schünemann. D: Asta Nielsen, Charly Berger, Siegwart Gruder, Ellen Lumbye, Paul Meffert. P: Projektions-AG Union (PAGU). D 1913
“Asta plays Gertrud von Hessendorf, daughter of General Hessendorf (Siegwart Gruder) who is charged with procuring new aircraft for the military. The two travel to Copenhagen to take a test flight in a giant airship – thrillingly, Asta is in the air for a few seconds although she is soon climbing out of the ship…Military invention is at a delicate point and following a major crash, the country is badly in the need of the confidence boost that a new, indefatigable airship could bring: cue the S1 a ship so advanced enemies will quake and, of course, do anything they can to stop it. This is where the handsome Graf Baldini (Charly Berger) comes in – a man who has already left his mark on the General’s daughter; he is also a spy for a foreign power charged with stealing the designs for the revolutionary new plane.
Instead of furtive looks and skulking shadows, Gad focuses on the relationship between the two which gives his real-life wife ample opportunity to pull the viewer into what will become her conflicted world. She enjoys the frisson of her illicit relationship sneaking small affections during public functions and, most emphatically, enjoying the most liberated of seaside runs as she and the Count break free from a society picnic and just let rip splashing in the shallows and leaving the watcher in no doubt that their affection is real and very true. But this cannot last and Gertrude’s loyalties will be tested to the limits once her love’s true nature is revealed: will she be loyal to father and state or will love guide her heart in frightening, new directions?”
Opening of S1 in the Schauburg, Essen, Nov. 1913
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