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Madame de Thèbes 1915

The story is wacky – a gypsy is cursed by her father, so that she has to deny her illegitimate son in order for him to have a successful life. She gives him to a well-to-do lady who has lost her own child. Later, he has grown up to be a politician who wants to become the foreign minister. He doesn’t know that his real mother is the famous Madame de Thebes, the fortuneteller who all politicians make sure to visit! This information falls into the hands of a rival, who tries to use it to ruin his career. Meanwhile, the rival’s attractive daughter is attacked by a ruffian and needs to be rescued… There are a lot of striking images in this film. You can see the beauty of them even if the state of the print is far from perfect. The Norwegian actress Ragna Wettergreen gives a haunting performance as Madame de Thebes, with wisdom and regret – and quite a few melodramatic gestures. Understatement was not the norm in those days.


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