The Finances of the Grand Duke

(Der Finanzen des Grossherzogs)

Digital Restoration

  • Judith Rosenberg
    On Piano

Harry Liedtke, Mady Christians, Robert Scholz, Alfred Abel,

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F. W. Murnau’s venture into the world of comic irony was greeted with delight by contemporary critics (“At last,” wrote one, “a film without deeper significance”); certainly, it represents a move in German cinema away from Expressionism and toward a realistic use of locations and actors. But Murnau scholars today admit that comedy was not his strong suit. The story is a broad farce set in a small Mediterranean paradise, where the grand duke comes into conflict with a shady financier who wants to turn it into a profitable sulfur mine. This reconstruction allows audiences to see what critics writing in the 1960s could not, because of the poor quality of the available copy—the care that Murnau put into the visual elements of even this minor film. According to Lotte H. Eisner, the script was based on a popular and typically anti-Semitic novel. She explained that Murnau“always hated racism . . . [and] every trace of anti-Semitism has disappeared from the film version of the novel.”

  • Frank Heller
  • Thea von Harbou
  • Karl Freund
  • Franz Planer
  • Silent
  • with English intertitles
Print Info
  • Tinted/B&W
  • Digital
  • Silent
  • 77 mins
  • Kino Lorber