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18 May 2017

Die Sünde (1918)

German silent film star Ressel Orla (1889-1931) peaked in the late 1910s and early 1920s in early films by Fritz Lang and Ernst Lubitsch. With the drama Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918) the Decla-Film-Gesellschaft, run by producer Erich Pommer, offered Orla her own series. The popular comedienne proved she also could handle dramatic roles.

Ressel Orla in Die Sünde (1918)
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 549/1. Photo: Decla. Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918).

Ressel Orla in Die Sünde
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 549/2. Photo: Decla. Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918).

Ressel Orla in Die Sünde (1918)
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 549/3. Photo: Decla. Emil Birron and Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918).

A ravishing, elementary force


Die Sünde/The Sin (1918) is directed by actor Alwin Neuss and produced by famous producer Erich Pommer for the Decla-Film-Gesellschaft, which he ran at the time.

It was the first of Ressel Orla's own series, in which she was protagonist and which focused on highly dramatic plots. Before Die Sünde she had become popular as a comedienne. Her co-stars in Die Sünde were Emil Birron, Paul Rehkopf and Alwin Neuss.

The Berlin trade journal Lichtbild-Bühne (Bd. 11, Nr. 28, 13.07.1918, S. 72) raved about her: "Ressel Orla appears as the well-bred woman who knows to curb her temper, which yet explodes at moments and dominated everything around her. Here the fire of enthusiasm kindles which inspires.

Moreover, Ressel Orla brings along all external assets to awaken sympathy at her first appearance. Indeed, it seems possible that this sympathy towards such a thoroughbred talent maintains, even if the character to be represented is little sympathetic.

In Sünde Ressel Orla has first to play the young thing, who becomes an artist's model under the force of circumstances, in order to save her dying father. When she later stands alone in the world, she rises to happiness without suffering from her past.

But then the pride of the woman awakens in her, to whom only the right of her own ego applies. In these scenes full of fervour and passion Ressel Orla was of ravishing, elementary force."

Ressel Orla in Die Sünde
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 549/4. Photo: Decla. Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918).

Ressel Orla in Die Sünde (1918)
German postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 549/6. Photo: Decla. Paul Rehkopf and Ressel Orla in Die Sünde/The Sin (Alwin Neuss, 1918).

Ressel Orla
Ressel OrlaGerman postcard in the Film Sterne series by Rotophot, no. 92/3. Photo: Karl Schenker, Berlin.

Sources: Stephanie d'Heil (Steffi-Line - German), Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), Filmhistoriker.de, Wikipedia (English and German) and IMDb.

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