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The Treasure (1923 film)

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6.5/10 Moviepilot

Director  G. W. Pabst
6.7/10 IMDb

5.4/10 Letterboxd

Genre  Drama, Romance
Running time  1h 15m
Country  Weimar Republic
The Treasure (1923 film) movie poster

Language  Silent with German intertitles
Writer  Rudolph Hans Bartsch, Willy Hennings, Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Release date  26 February 1923 (1923-02-26)
Genres  Silent film, Drama, Romance Film, Black-and-white
Cast  Albert Steinrück (Svetocar Badalic, Master Foundryman), Lucie Mannheim (Beate), Ilka Grüning (Anna), Werner Krauss (Svetelenz), Hans Brausewetter (Arno)
Similar movies  The Vicar Martin Cedermac, One Fine Day, On Our Own Land, Cefalonia, Red Poppies on the Wall, Abandoned

The Treasure (German: Der Schatz) is a 1923 silent German drama film directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst. It was Pabst's debut film as a director.


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Master Bell-founder Balthasar Hofer, his wife Anna, their daughter Beate and his journeyman Svetelenz live in a house rebuilt after its destruction by the Ottomans in 1683. The Master tells that it is rumoured that a treasure had been buried at the time. Svetelenz, who is convinced that the treasure is hidden in the house, hopes that if he finds it, he will be able to marry Beate.

Young goldsmith journeyman Arno comes to the village to work on the ornamentation of the clock just cast by the Master. Soon, he and Beate fall in love. One night, they see Svetelenz looking for the treasure with a dowsing rod. Beate convinces Arno that he should find the treasure in order to marry her. Arno deducts that a treasure dating from the Ottomans time can only be hidden in the foundations and soon finds the place where it seems to be hidden. Svetelenz tells the Master that he has found the treasure and that they should get rid of the goldsmith who also knows about it.

After trying unsuccessfully to burn Arno alive with molten metal, they send him out of the house with Beate to fetch wine while they dig out the treasure. When Arno and Beate come back home, they find the master, his wife and Svetelenz celebrating their discovery. Svetelenz offers his share of the treasure to marry Beate, but she replies that she is not for sale. Arno threatens them with a knife to have his share of the treasure but Beate tells him that he should let them have the gold and she leaves the house. After a moment of hesitation, Arno follows her and they walk away together.

The Master and his wife take the treasure to their room and Svetelenz starts digging furiously into the main pillar of the house to see whether there is some gold left. His strikes make the house collapse, burying Svetelenz, the Master and his wife with the treasure under the rubble. Arno and Beate walk out of the forest into the light.


  • Albert Steinrück as the Master Bell-founder
  • Lucie Mannheim as his daughter, Beate
  • Ilka Grüning as his wife, Anna
  • Werner Krauss as Svetelenz
  • Hans Brausewetter as Arno
  • Musical score

    Pabst commissioned an original musical score from Max Deutsch for the film. In structure, Deutsch's Der Schatz was crafted in two formats: a film score and a stand-alone symphonic work. The five act symphony survived because its manuscript was donated to the Deutsches Filminstitut in 1982, shortly before Deutsch died. In 2002, DeutschlandRadio Berlin collaborated with the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, conducted by Frank Strobel, to produce a record of "this extremely rare and totally unknown symphonic work". The recording became the foundation of a "synchronized restoration" of the film. As film music the "piece is scored for a theater orchestra of the kind typically found in European cinemas of the day". It brings to mind the work of Kurt Weill and Stefan Wolpe, and foreshadows Max Steiner's modernist film scores, adopting expressionist atonal twelve tone leitmotifs. Mood setting and character are developed; pianos appear throughout.


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