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The Case of Lena Smith

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Director  Josef von Sternberg
Story by  Samuel Ornitz
Duration  
6.4/10 IMDb

Genre  Short, Drama
Producer  Jesse L. Lasky
Country  United States
Language  Silent English intertitles
Release date  January 29, 1929 (1929-01-29) (United States)
Writer  Jules Furthman, Julian Johnson (titles), Samuel Ornitz (story)
Cast  Esther Ralston, James Hall, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Emily Fitzroy
Similar movies  Related Josef von Sternberg movies

The Case of Lena Smith was a 1929 American short drama film directed by Josef von Sternberg, starring Esther Ralston and James Hall, and released by Paramount Pictures.

Contents

Plot

In turn-of-the-century Vienna, simple peasant girl Lena Smith falls in love with young aristocrat Franz Hofrat. They are secretly married, despite intense pressure from Hofrat's aristocratic family, and Lena has Franz's child. Slowly but surely, Lena's good nature and unbounded optimism are crushed and shattered by the merciless juggernaut of class consciousness and public opinion, leading to tragedy. Her husband was jailed for the murder of his brother. Lena met Horan Duwent who promised her a life of wonder, pure happiness. But sadly nothing prevailed, he was not a man of his word and 2 years later Lena took her own life. Crushed by the man she finally felt loved and adored by after so many years of troth and sadness.

In the original script, Lena Smith was a prostitute, but this was written out to avoid audience animosity against the character, and to conform to an early version of the Production Code.

Reception

The movie was regarded as a financial failure, but Paramount's decision to withdraw several of its late silent releases from distribution and concentrate on talkies accounts for its relatively small box-office take.

Preservation status

This is now considered a lost film. A four-minute fragment was shown at the 2003 Giornate del cinema muto festival in Pordenone, Italy. The sole extant fragment of The Case of Lena Smith has been published on DVD by the Austrian Film Museum.

Assembling 150 original stills and set designs, numerous script and production documents and essays by eminent film historians, the book Josef von Sternberg. The Case of Lena Smith published by the Austrian Film Museuma and SYNEMA tries to reconstruct Sternberg’s drama.

References

The Case of Lena Smith Wikipedia
The Case of Lena Smith IMDb


Similar Topics
Emily Fitzroy
Esther Ralston
Gustav von Seyffertitz
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