Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo - CONFERENZE, Women and the Silent Screen Conference

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The Emergence of the Star System in Germany, 1911: Asta Nielsen, Monopolfilm, Audience Attraction, and Investment
Martin Loiperdinger

Last modified: 2010-05-12


Asta Nielsen was the first renowned female star of world cinema before the First World War. Her name is inextricably connected with the advent of the long feature film and the introduction of the star system into the German film market: On 27 May 1911, in Frankfurt, Asta Nielsen signed an exclusive four year contract to play the lead character in ten feature films every year which were to be produced by Deutsche Bioscop, and to be distributed by PAGU's Union Theatre cinema chain.

Asta Nielsen's partners announced that they intended to invest 1,400,000 marks in only six months in order to start the Nielsen Monopolfilm production. The paper will discuss a variety of crucial factors which contributed to the decision making process of that enormous and ground-breaking investment: the German film industry's urgent need of a new product in order to take profit from film production after a three year crisis; the innovation of the long feature combined with the exclusive Monopolfilm distribution; and, last but not least, the potential of Asta Nielsen's screen personality to attract audiences and thus produce tremendous box-office records.


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