Release date5 October 1925 WriterCarl Theodor Dreyer, Svend Rindom (play), Svend Rindom (screenplay) ScreenplayCarl Theodor Dreyer, Svend Rindom CastJohannes Meyer (Viktor Frandsen), Astrid Holm (Ida Frandsen), Karin Nellemose (Karen Frandsen), Mathilde Nielsen (Old Victor's Wetnurse), Clara Schønfeld (Alvilda Kryger), Johannes Nielsen (Doctor) Similar moviesRelated Carl Theodor Dreyer movies
Master of the House (Danish: Du skal ære din hustru, literally Thou Shalt Honour Thy Wife) is a 1925 Danish silent drama film directed and written by acclaimed filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer. The film marked the debut of Karin Nellemose, and is regarded by many as a classic of Danish cinema.
Viktor Frandsen, embittered by losing his business, is a tyrant at home, constantly criticizes his patient, hard-working wife Ida and their three children. He does not appreciate the effort it takes to maintain a household. While his wife is resigned and browbeaten, his old nanny, nicknamed "Mads" by all, openly defends her. When Ida's mother, Mrs. Kryger, pays a visit, he is very rude to her. Finally, he issues an ultimatum: either Mrs. Kryger and the openly hostile Mads (who regularly helps the family) are gone by the time he returns, or the marriage is over.
Mads orchestrates a plan that will force him to rethink his notions of being the head of a household. With the help of Mrs. Kryger, she persuades a very reluctant Ida to go away for a while and rest, while she sees to Viktor and the children. Then, she institutes a new regime, ordering Viktor to take over many of Ida's duties; Viktor obeys, cowed by his memories of the strict discipline she imposed on him when he was a child in her care. Meanwhile, Ida, no longer distracted by her many duties, feels the full misery of her situation and has a breakdown.
As time goes by, Viktor comes to fully appreciate his wife and, as he does love her dearly, longs for her return. When Ida, fully recovered, is finally allowed to come back, Viktor and the children are ecstatic. Ida's mother then shows him a newspaper advertisement offering an optometrist's shop for sale and gives him a check to buy it.
The film has been evaluated as a "spare, compassionate, and astute social satire".
Master of the House was released to the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray and DVD.
Johannes Meyer as Viktor Frandsen
Astrid Holm as Ida Frandsen
Karin Nellemose as Karen Frandsen, their oldest child