The Cinema Museum, London

Kennington Bioscope presents The Jew of Mestri (1923)

Wed 6 Dec 2023 @ 19:30 · Events

The Kennington Bioscope is a regular cinema event featuring live accompaniment to silent films that takes place at the Cinema Museum.

The Jew of Mestri

The Jew of Mestri (Germany 1923, dir. Peter Paul Felner). Ph. Axel Graatkjaer and Rudolph Mate. 35mm print. Plus a selection of shorts filmed in Venice.

A screen adaptation of a 14th century story by John of Florence, on which Shakespeare based his drama The Merchant of Venice, this is a British release version of what was known in German as Der Kaufmann von Venedig. It was filmed in part at original locations in Venice and, unlike Shakespeare’s version, tells the story (set in June 1565) from the point of view of the Jewish moneylender who tries to take revenge on his debtor for his people’s persecution at Christian hands. The available print does not name the impressive cast: Werner Krauss (Mordecai, the Jew of Mestri); Henny Porten (Beatrice, Lady of Belmonte); Lya Eibenschutz (Rachela, Mordecai’s daughter); Harry Liedtke (Gianetto); Max Schreck (Duke of Venice); Albert Steinruck (Tubal); Carl Ebert (Benito); Claire Rommer (Nerissa); with Ferdinand von Alten, Hans Brausewetter, Jacob Tiedtke, Max Grunberg, Gustav May, Heinz Rolf Munz, Emil Helfer, Frieda Richard, Carl Geppert and Willi Allen.

The Jew of Mestri, even in this un-restored print, looks superb with beautiful cinematography.  It is a perfect exemplar of the scale and ambition of German cinema in the Weimar era.  The film was shot largely on location in Venice.  Much of it was filmed outdoors, making extensive use of the city’s historic sites, canals and waterways.  A number of outdoor scenes were also filmed at night, particularly a spectacular carnival scene, adding to the technical challenge. Many of the larger scale indoor scenes made use of sumptuous and imposing real locations rather than being studio bound which further enhanced the grandeur of the production.  While the cast may not have run to thousands, it certainly numbered many hundreds, all beautifully costumed, and large scale set pieces such as banquets and the court scene were superbly choreographed.

VeniceFor the first part on the evening, Tony Fletcher will introduce films shot in Venice. These will include the 1927 part stencil colour feature Casanova, featuring Ivan Mosjoukine, a new scan of a 1907 drama and a beautiful stencil colour short made by Cines of Venice from 1914.

John Sweeney will be playing for the shorts before the main film, and Colin Sell will be accompanying The Jew of Mestri.

Silent film with intertitles which may be suitable for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Tickets & Pricing

£7. Seats are limited, so please arrive early or request an invitation using the email
The Jew of Mestri