Das alte Gesetz

The Ancient Law
In the mid 1800s in Galicia, Baruch, the son of an orthodox rabbi, yearns to become an actor. Against his father’s will, he leaves the eastern European shtetl where he grew up and joins a travelling theatre troupe. Austrian archduchess Elisabeth Theresia becomes enamoured of the young man. Secretly in love with him, she arranges for him to join the company at Vienna’s Burg Theatre, where he rises to become a celebrated star of the stage … With its complex portrayal of orthodoxy and emancipation, E. A. Dupont’s period film marks a highpoint of Jewish filmmaking in Germany. This new restoration marks the first time that a version corresponding to the lost 1920s German theatrical release will be shown, both in its original length, and with the colourisation digitally restored. New ensemble music composed by Philippe Schoeller will be played by the Orchester Jakobsplatz München with Daniel Grossmann at the podium. – World premiere of the digitally restored version in 2K DCP. Made possible by a cooperation of the Berlin International Film Festival and the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, working with ZDF and ARTE.
by Ewald André Dupont
with Ernst Deutsch, Henny Porten, Ruth Weyher, Hermann Vallentin, Abraham Morewski, Grete Berger, Robert Garrison, Fritz Richard
Germany 1923 German intertitles 135’


  • Ernst Deutsch
  • Henny Porten
  • Ruth Weyher
  • Hermann Vallentin
  • Abraham Morewski
  • Grete Berger
  • Robert Garrison
  • Fritz Richard


Director Ewald André Dupont
Screenplay Paul Reno
Cinematography Theodor Sparkuhl
Set Construction Alfred Junge, Curt Kahle
Costumes Ali Hubert

Produced by

Comedia-Film GmbH

Additional information

Restoration by
Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, Berlin; Germany

Digital image restoration: ARRI Media GmbH, Berlin; Germany

Ewald André Dupont

Born in 1891, died in 1956. Began working as a journalist in 1911 and a screenwriter in Berlin in 1916. Dupont made his directorial debut in 1918. In 1924, he ran a variety show in Mannheim. He made his first Hollywood film in 1926, then worked at England’s Elstree studios, where he made the variety films Moulin Rouge and Piccadilly (both 1928), as well as the first German sound film Atlantic. Returning to Hollywood in 1933, but with no work as a director from 1939 to 1950, he became a publicist and talent agent.


1918 Mitternacht · Europa postlagernd 1919 Die Apachen 1920 Der weiße Pfau · Das Grand Hotel Babylon · Alkohol 1921 Die Geier-Wally 1922 Kämpfende Welten 1923 Das alte Gesetz 1925 Varieté 1928 Moulin Rouge 1929 Piccadilly 1930 Zwei Welten 1931 Salto mortale · Cape Forlorn 1932 Peter Voß, der Millionendieb 1933 Ladies Must Love 1937 Night of Mystery 1939 Hellʼs Kitchen 1951 The Scarf 1953 The Neanderthal Man · Problem Girls 1954 Return to Treasure Island

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018