A Christian-Jewish Melodrama

R: Louis H. Chrispijn. D: Louis H. Chrispijn, Enny de Leeuwe, Mien van Kerckhoven-Kling, Jan van Dommelen, Eugenie Krix, Annie Bos, Lau Ezerman, Theo Frenkel Jr.  P: Filmfabriek Hollandia. NL 1914
Print: EYE
Without titles

“When Dora, the eldest daughter of a blind, widowed and orthodox Jew, falls in love with a doctor who is a Christian, she is disowned by her father and driven out of the house. As it was Dora whose work was the source of the family’s income, her father and her younger sister Lea are soon reduced to poverty. Unable to pay the rent, they are turned out of their house. They set out on foot, roaming through the countryside in search of a new home. A kindly farmer’s wife gives them shelter in a barn for a night. Thereafter they proceed to Amsterdam where they find a place to live in a cellar. One evening, when Lea and her father go into an expensive restaurant to beg, Lea is shocked when she sees her sister dining there together with her husband. Not wishing to be seen by Dora, Lea hastily leads her father away. Some days later, when Lea is busy knocking at doors and begging, her father’s guide-dog runs away. The old man totters into a canal and Lea, although she cannot swim, jumps into the water in an attempt to help her father. Fortunately, some passers-by see what has happened, dive into the canal and rescue father and daughter. As a result of her plunge into the cold water, Lea becomes seriously ill. A doctor is called in to attend to her. He turns out to be Dora’s husband. After the doctor manages to save Lea’s life, his grateful father-in-law accepts him and the family is finally reunited.”

Laurens Ezerman was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1892. His debut was Nederland en Oranje/Netherlands and Orange (1913, Louis Chrispijn sr), a short silent film that portrayed in twenty scenes highlights from the Dutch history. He became one of the actors of the ‘troupe’ of the Filmfabriek-Hollandia, the most active producer of silent films in The Netherlands. The company’s main directors were Maurits Binger, Louis Chrispijn sr and Theo Frenkel sr. Chrispijn directed Lau Ezerman in such melodramas as Zijn viool/His Violin (1914), Gebroken levens/Broken Lives (1914, starring the grand Louis Bouwmeester) and Weergevonden/Lost and Found (1914). Most of these films are presumed missing, but Weergevonden was literally found again in 1976. In 1920 Hollandia united with a British company and Ezerman played in their historical adventure film De zwarte tulp/The Black Tulip (1921, Maurits Binger, Frank Richardson) and their crime film Bulldog Drummond (1922, Oscar Apfel), based on a popular novel and play by Sapper (Herman C. McNeile). (…)

In the 1930’s, directors like Detlev Sierck (Douglas Sirk) and Ludwig Berger and script writers like Walter Schlee went in exile from Nazi Germany and gave the Dutch film industry a healthy impulse. Ezerman played character parts in such films as the comedy Bleeke Bet/Pale Beth (1934, Richard Oswald, Alex Benno), Het meisje met den blauwen hoed/The Girl With the Blue Hat (1934, Rudolf Meinert) with Truus van Aalten, Komedie om geld/The Trouble with Money (1936, Max Ophüls), the popular romcom Vadertje Langbeen/Daddy Long Legs (1938, Frederic (Friedrich) Zelnik) starring Lily Bouwmeester, Morgen gaat het beter/Tomorrow It Will Be Better (1939, Frederic Zelnik), and the thriller De spooktrein (1939, Carl (Karel) Lamac), based on the play The Ghost Train (1925) by Arnold Ridley. In 1941 the Nazis censured films such as Bleeke Bet for reissues and all the Jewish actors such as Lau Ezerman were cut from the film, but he himself would never know that. In 1940 Lau Ezerman had committed suicide in the city of Amersfoort.”
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