Hamlet & Die Filmprimadonna

Hamlet & Die Filmprimadonna

Edition Filmmuseum 37

Asta Nielsen, born in Denmark in 1881, was the first diva of European silent film. As early as 1913, in Die Filmprimadonna, Asta Nielsen acts the role of a star fighting for increased influence on the entire production process. To realize her artistic vision she founds her own company Art-Film in 1920. Hamlet, produced that same year, survived only in a b&w US export version. In 2005 a coloured vintage print of the lost German original version of 1921 was discovered. The restored film had its premiere at the Berlinale in 2007, with new musical accompaniment composed by Michael Riessler. The 2-disc DVD set also includes documentation of the production history of Hamlet, the restoration process and rare an Asta Nielsen home movie compilation.

The films

Hamlet - Germany 1921 - Directed by: Sven Gade, Heinz Schall - Written by: Erwin Gepard - Cinematography by: Curt Courant, Axel Graatkjaer - Cast: Asta Nielsen, Paul Conradi, Eduard von Winterstein, Mathilde Brandt, Heinz Stieda, Lilly Jacobson, Hans Junkermann, Anton de Verdier - Produced by: Art-Film GmbH - Premiere: February 4, 1921 (Berlin, Mozartsaal) - Reconstruction 2007: Deutsches Filminstitut - Edited by: Anke Mebold, Thomas Worschech - Digital corrections and color grading: Paolo Fonseca - Music: Michael Riessler - Sound recorded by: Frederico Savina

Der elektronische Hamlet - Germany 2008 - Directed and written by: Achim Forst - Photographed by: Thilo Stock - Edited by: Christian Hill - Produced by: ZDF/3sat - Premiere: March 23, 2008 (3sat)

Die Filmprimadonna - Germany 1913 - Directed and written by: Urban Gad - Cinematography by: Karl Freund, Axel Graatkjaer - Castr: Asta Nielsen, Paul Otto, Fritz Weidemann, Fred Immler - Produced by: Projektions A.-G. Union, Berlin - Premiere: December 5, 1913 - Reconstruction 2007: Nederlands Filmmuseum - Music: Trio New Amsterdam

About Hamlet

As soon as Asta Nielsen had founded the company Art-Film, she set out on the ambitious project of aHamlet adaptation with herself in the leading role. With Svend Gade and Heinz Schall she engaged twodirectors she had already worked with. Erwin Gepard was in charge of the script in which Hamlet was portrayed as a woman. The reviews were ambivalent and criticized the falsification of Shakespeare butpraised the acting of Asta Nielsen. Nevertheless the premiere of Hamlet in 1921 was a success. The film became a box office hit and was subsequently released in America. At the premiere of the restored German version in 2007 a new score composed by Michael Riessler was performed by Lisma Project.

Holger Ziegler / Thomas Worschech / Anke Mebold

DVD features


  • Hamlet 1921, 110'
  • Score by Michael Riessler
  • 20-page bilingual booklet with essays by Holger Ziegler, Thomas Worschech and Anke Mebold


  • Der elektronische Hamlet 2007, 8'
  • Hamlet con Asta Nielsen 2007, 7'
  • Hamlet Fassungsvergleich 2009, 30'
  • Die Filmprimadonna 1913, 17'
  • Score by Trio New Amsterdam
  • Asta Nielsen Privatoptagelser 1912-14, 4'
  • Asta Nielsen Privat 1970, 2'
  • Documents about the film production and the restoration as ROM features

Edited by: Deutsches Filminstitut und Goethe-Institut München
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Anke Mebold, Thomas Worschech

First edition July 2011, Second edition October 2011,Third edition 2017

TV Format Original format Audio format Language Subtitles Region code

16:9 (PAL)
4:3 (PAL)
Dolby Digital 2.0
All Regions


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