KOHLHIESEL'S DAUGHTERS (Ernst Lubitsch, 1920, Germany, 40m, BW)
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Hanns Kräly (play)
Music by Aljoscha Zimmermann
Cinematography Theodor Sparkuhl
March 9, 1920
63 minutes (German 1992 version)
58 minutes (20 frame/s)
64 minutes (18 frame/s)
Country Weimar Republic
In Bavaria, a sweet-natured young woman Gretel wants to get married but her father refuses to allow the match until her elder sister Liesel has married first. As Liesel is notorious for her bad-tempered personality this is no easy challenge.
Kohlhiesels Töchter (English title: Kohlhiesel's Daughters) is a 1920 German silent comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Henny Porten, Emil Jannings and Jakob Tiedtke. It is an adaptation of the play Kohlhiesel's Daughters by Hanns Kräly, Lubitsch's frequent collaborator, who also worked on the film's screenplay. Three further film adaptations have been made of the work including a 1930 sound remake which also starred Porten.
The Daughters of Kohlhiesel is an amusing variation on the theme of the tamed Shrew but the feat of Lubitsch is to have entrusted the roles of the two sisters to one and the same actress. It is almost impossible to detect it, if we do not know the outcome and the actress Henny Potten gives a great performance. In some scenes, they are present on the screen (probably a double exposure with cache). The whole is pleasant with a fairly constant humor. The film had a great popular success.
Although Jannings is excellent, and Henny Porten is good in her two roles (though not good enough to justify the dual-role casting gimmick), the best performance in this film is given by the harridan actress who plays Frau Kohlhiesel, the innkeeper's wife. With a few understated bits of body language, she convincingly (and hilariously) creates the character of an overworked peasant wife.
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