The Traitress (1911) Poster


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Patriotism Trumps Love
FerdinandVonGalitzien29 October 2010
Frau Yvonne ( Frau Asta Nielsen ) , daughter of a rich and French noble family , falls in love with a young Prussian Lieutenant ( Herr Robert Valberg ); this proves to be a tormented and complicated relationship due to the sense of duty of the Prussian Lieutenant and the whimsical imprudence of the young bourgeois.

Danish film director Herr Urban Gad and Danish silent star Frau Asta Nielsen were husband and wife and worked together in many films during the 10s of the last century; unfortunately when WWI ended so did their marriage but their respective careers continued to thrive.

During their harmonized careers both worked together in many notable early German films; "Die Verräterin" ( The Traitress ) has many characteristics of the Gad-Nielsen collaborations , particularly in the presence of a strong female lead.

In his German films, Herr Gad built the dramatic intensity of the story until it reached a crescendo and a powerful closing act was characteristic of his style. Although this may not seem noteworthy to modernen eyes one should remember that at this point in time (1911) films were often no more than simple "vignettes", static and lacking in pace and with very unimaginative cinematography. And Herr Graf also wishes to say that female characters in the early 10s films were often minor or unimportant but Frau Nielsen, from the very start of her career, played independent and strong willed women.

"Die Verräterin" is a good example of a typical Frau Nielsen role; She is a frivolous bourgeois fräulein with an overbearing personality who can't understand why the young Prussian lieutenant puts duty before passion. Ultimately, she will even flirt with the partisans ( the historical background is the 1870-71 German-French war ) and ends up betraying her lover with terrible and tragic results. Frau Nielsen's performance captures the contradictions, whims and the love and hate duality of her character and is perfectly matched by Herr Urban's dramatic construction of the story in which patriotism trumps love and has the final word.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must betray his own aristocratic convictions.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien
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The Traitress review
JoeytheBrit19 May 2020
While it's perhaps understandable that director Urban Gad would choose to devote so much screen time to his new wife Asta Nielsen, it doesn't contribute much to the pace of this lukewarm drama. The murkiness of her character's motivations are also a problem, but at least the film is handsomely mounted - and Nielsen is certainly easy on the eye.
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