You are on page 1of 7


Reel 1
Restoration credits
The film HAMLET had its premiere in Berlin on 4 February, 1921.
No original camera negative is known to survive. This restoration of the German premiere
version is based on a tinted distribution print in the Deutsches Filminsititut - DIF
filmarchive. Missing or damaged sequences were supplemented by footage from the
French distribution version, held in the collection of the Centre National de la
Cinmatographie. Both prints were struck from the same negative in the early 1920s.
The German intertitles match the exact wording recorded in the German censorship
record issued on 10 November, 1920.
Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF Frankfurt am Main 2006/7 With financial support from ZDF in
collaboration with ARTE and the Hessische Kulturstiftung
Film laboratory Haghefilm Conservation, Amsterdam Restoration produced in cooperation
with Archives Franaises du Film du Centre National de la Cinmatographie and Conseil
Gnral de la Charente
Intro scroll
For centuries, scholars have been arguing
about the meaning of the Hamlet saga.
Many eminent writers have hotly debated the life of Hamlet.
Voltaire, the French philosopher, called Shakespeare's plays
a tasteless mix of whim and nonsense.
Herder stated that Hamlet was an affected fop.
Even Goethe was damning in his criticism of Hamlet:
Hamlet is an ass!
Recently, the American literary researcher, Professor Vining, produced a new interpretation
of the Hamlet legend. Until now, the character of Hamlet has harboured an astonishing ret:
In reality, Hamlet was a woman!
Main credit
Asta Nielsen Film HAMLET
A drama in six acts plus a prologue, based on ideas taken from the Hamlet legend
discovered by Professor Vining.
Crew credit
Screenplay by Erwin Gepard

Directed by Svend Gade and Heinz Schall

Sets based on designs by Svend Gade
Camera by Curt Courant and Axel Graatkjer
Cast credit
King Hamlet of Denmark: Paul Conradi
Queen Gertrude: Mathilde Brandt
King Fortinbras of Norway has fallen in battle against the Danes.
His foe, Hamlet, King of the Danes, has been gravely wounded.
The Danish people are hoping for news of the birth of an heir to the throne.
The Queen's moment of truth
"A boy?"
"No, Your Majesty, a princess!"
"Our King has been mortally wounded!"
"Woe is me! The Crown is lost!"
"Take my counsel, Your Majesty!
Proclaim the Princess heir to the Throne and the people will believe you have given
birth to a son!"
"All hail our Royal House!
A prince is born!"
"I give thanks to you, my loyal troops, our victory breathes new strength into me!"
"I thought the Throne lost, along with thee. To save the Crown, I proclaimed our
daughter heir to the Throne!"
We cannot take back what we have already proclaimed to the people. May God
ordain that our secret works for the benefit of our land!"
Cast credit scroll
Cast of Characters
King Hamlet of Denmark: Paul Conradi
Queen Gertrude: Mathilde Brandt
Claudius, the King's brother: E. von Winterstein

Prince Hamlet: Asta Nielsen

Horatio: Heinz Stieda
Polonius: Hans Junkermann
Laertes, his son: Anton de Verdier
Ophelia, his daughter: Lilly Jacobsson
Fortinbras, King of Norway: Fritz Achterberg
Prince Hamlet's youth
Hamlet's nature gives me much cause for concern, for it drives him to constant solitude!"
"It is my wish that you attend the university at Wittenberg!"
"Hail thee, my Queen, beloved sister-in-law!"
At Wittenberg University
"My name is Horatio nd I am from Provence."
"How lovely Provence must be!"
Even Laertes has succumbed to the eternal malady which afflicts all students.
"Fellow countryman?" Clipped wings
"This is Fortinbras, Prince of Norway!"
My father was killed by a Danish sword! But let us be free of our fathers' hatred!" In the
meantime, Claudius's greed for the Royal Throne has driven him to decide on a terrible
course of action.
"You belong to me, and I'll destroy anything which stands in our way!"
Now the Crown is mine!" Could you tell me where I might find Prince Hamlet?"
"My father... dead?"
A snake sank its venomous fangs into him!"

Reel 2
King Hamlet has barely been laid to rest yet Claudius and Queen Gertrude's wedding
banquet is already underway. Polonius, the Chief Treasurer, hands the crown to the new
King. Ever the faithful friend, Horatio has accompanied Hamlet to Denmark.
"You have arrived just in time, Your Highness. In the castle they are holding a wake
and a wedding banquet at the same time!"
"Get rid of that last vestige of mourning! This is a joyous day for us."
Father, in your entire kingdom, I alone weep for you!"
Tell me, old man, were you the one who found my father's corpse?"
"I found the snake, too.
Methinks it looked like one of the poisonous snakes from the castle dungeon!"
"My uncle's dagger!"
I will feign madness in order to follow this clue unnoticed!" "You alone, dear Horatio,
shall know that this is merely a mask with which to conceal myself!"
Hamlet's ruse:Using sleight of hand it is easy to make a crown vanish in Denmark.
"My dagger in Hamlet's hand?"
"Had Hamlet not fallen prey to madness, I would have to fear him!"
We need to occupy the Prince's mind with something else. Shall I give my lovely daughter
Ophelia a hint?"
Ophelia, Polonius's daughter. Be gone with you, you are false, like all the others!"
Father! Father! Give me a sign that I should avenge your death!"
Reel 3
Mistrusting Hamlet's madness, the King has a doctor examine his mental state.
"Your Highness, please show us the pretty things which you yourself have made."
"One man is starved of a thing and another man has it in abundance!
His head grows smaller due to a surfeit of wisdom!"
You look well, Uncle. I hope that means the Crown is not too heavy a burden for you."
"A lovely young maiden!"
Caught in a web of lies

"I know how I can get Horatio away from her..."

"As is my wont, I have given you good counsel, Sire. The Prince is ablaze with passion."
"Now, Horatio, you are mine alone!"
Hamlet is obsessed with the thought of avenging his father's death.
"Father, you appeared to me in my dream and bade me avenge you! Now give me the
strength to carry out this deed!"
The Mad Prince!"
"Too weak to kill, and too weak to take my own life!"
"The Prince seems to have lost his mind. He hardly recognized me!"
Reel 4
"What!! My love, Ophelia, curly haired numbskull... my beloved fat little grub..."
"You are deliberately endangering your secret! What is the meaning of this folly?"
"I am not a man and am not allowed to be a woman! Am I your plaything, that you forgot
to grant me a heart?"
"Do not forget, I was trying to save your father's throne!"
"Look! A troupe of actors!"
Bring that horde of paltry comedians into the castle!"
"Could you act out a drama if I told you what to do?"
The performance of the play
"Observe the King's reaction, Horatio!"
"By my royal wrath! Stop the play forthwith!"
"Now I am certain!"
"Thou shalt not die at prayer! My vengeance must deal thee a much mightier blow!"
"Mother, you gave me life! But never before did a gift bring such bitter sorrow!"
"Oh, avid Polonius!"
"That was meant for me!"
Reel 5

You are to bring the Prince safe and sound to Norway and return alone...
Do I make myself clear?"
"I love Ophelia, her grief causes me great pain."
"The King wishes to speak with you, your Highness."
"Whatever may happen, I will always remain your friend!"
"I have an important message for King Fortinbras I want you to take it to him."
Hamlet left Denmark that same day. Grief over her father's death has caused Ophelia to go
insane. The people are incensed about Claudius's misrule.
I am Laertes, son of Polonius. What happened to my father?"
"Down with the King! People, follow me!"
"Who killed my father?"
"Ophelia! Sister!"
The first pause for rest on Norwegian soil
A command to Our vassal, King Fortinbras! It is your duty to comply with Our behest and
protect the welfare of Denmark and Norway by carrying out the following order, the
execution of which is a vital matter of State:
you are to have Prince Hamlet beheaded without hesitation, Claudius, King of Denmark.
"I drink to my dear Hamlet's good health!"
At the Norwegian royal castle"Hail to you, King Fortinbras."
You are to have Prince Hamlet's two companions beheaded without hesitation, Claudius,
King of Denmark.
"Off with their heads, forthwith!"
King Fortinbras has decided to help his friend and free Denmark from its criminal monarch.
"We march to Denmark!"
Reel 6
"Was that you calling me, my love?
I am coming, Hamlet, I am coming!"

On the way to Denmark Hamlet has ridden on ahead of the Norwegian army.
"We will set off at the first sign of dawn.
The new day's sun shall see you on the Throne, Hamlet!"
"Do my eyes deceive me? Hamlet lives?"
"Worry not, Uncle. We shall now hold the wake together!"
"Ophelia is to be laid to rest this very night."
"The Church has no prayers for one who took her own life!"
"My poor, beloved sister!"
"I demand vengeance for my father and sister! I challenge you to a duel at dawn!"
"Woe is me! Claudius!"
"In fighting this duel you will avenge us both! I know a potion which will help you win!"
And if you do not strike him the mortal blow, he shall drink Death from my hand!"
"I am no coward, but my heart is heavy with sorrowful premonition!"
"Drink, bold Hamlet!"
"The wrong goblet! Poison!"
"Only in death is your secret revealed! Your golden heart was that of a woman! Too late,
my love, too late!"
"I wanted to help you ascend the Throne, but your wings broke on the steps before you
could reach it."
Restoration end credits
Restoration Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF
With the kind support of Subtitling by SUBS Hamburg

M. Hale