Premiere: 14, 21 January 1918 (part I. and II., Omnia)
Genre: feature film, drama, silent film
Director: Carl Wilhelm
Original length: part I. 5 acts, part II. 4 acts, 4000 m, Length of German distribution print: 2433 m, Length of Austrian distribution print: 2500 m
Malvin divorces her husband, bailiff Nándor Harter, and becomes the wife of the wealthy banker Lemming. Harter is unable to come to terms with the loss of his wife and he does anything to get close to her. He accepts the post of government commissioner offered by the government in order to meet the woman’s demands and, exploiting his position, he assists Lemming’s dubious business dealings. The coquettish woman also flirts with Elemér, the son from Harter's previous marriage, and Harter's secretary, Angyaldy. Harter is jealous of his son although Elemér loves Ilonka Világosi, daughter of the retired archivist. Malvin, who is being taught English and fencing by the impoverished Ilonka, injures her rival out of jealousy during a fencing lesson, thus depriving the Világosi family of their sole breadwinner. Elemér returns home from a trip abroad and meets the destitute woman. He asks for her hand in marriage. Angyaldy jealously watches his boss's efforts to win back his wife, threatening the woman that he will poison her if she is unfaithful. In the meantime, Harter wins the military supplies deal for Lemming. The banker delivers inedible bread made from rotten grain to the soldiers. The scam is uncovered and the whole lot are arrested. Meanwhile, the jealous Angyaldy meets Malvin and asks her to divorce her husband and leave Harter and Elemér. When he sees that the woman is not prepared to do this, he slips poison into her glass. Harter manages to put together the bail needed for Lemming. The cynical banker, for whom love, human life and honour are all just business, takes the sum and sends Harter to the cemetery where the woman who always toyed carelessly with men’s hearts – remuneration for the bail – is lying.
What makes it interesting?
The grandiose, two-part film is part of the Uher Film Studio’s Jókai series. Films adapted from works by Mór Jókai were extremely popular even in the silent age because the complex plotting entertained audiences and their interesting characters provided many excellent opportunities for artists to display their acting abilities.
Cast & Crew
Production Companies: Uher Filmgyár
Writer: Mór Jókai (novel, 1868)
Screenwriter: Carl Wilhelm
Cast: Gyula Gál (Nándor Harter), Ottó Tordai (Elemér, Nándor's son), Arthur Somlay (Angyaldy, secretary), József Hajdu (Lemming, banker), Frida Gombaszögi (Malvin, Lemming's wife), László Molnár (Világosi, archivist), Paula Kende (Mrs. Világosi), Márta Szentgyörgyi (Ilonka, Világosi's daughter), Aladár Sarkadi (Gierig), Jenő Virágh (Konjed, appraiser), Gyula Szőreghy (Katzenbuckel, clown), Marcsa Simon (Áspis), Gyula Margittay
Austria (Narren der Liebe)
Photo: poster for the film's first part by Mihály Bíró. Source: NFI