The Great Sacrifice

The Great Sacrifice

Opfergang (Original Title)

Aels, a rich and temperamental woman from the North, moves to Hamburg. She lives in a mansion besides the newly married couple, Alrecht and Octavia. The friendship between Aels and Albrecht does not disturb the harmony of this marriage. But soon, Aels has a reoccurrence of a tropical disease, and because she is confined to bed, Albrecht rides by each day on his horse to her window and inquires as to her health. When, eventually, he gets sick with an epidemic, his wife takes over this dear service and greets Aels in her riding clothes, pretending to be Albrecht and comforting the sick woman, so as to not worry her about Albrecht also being sick. Aels, however, is not completely fooled and ends up dying of a broken heart. It turns out, she cannot live without Albrecht's love -something Albrecht only finds about from her last letter to him before her death.

1h 38min
December 30, 1944
Admin comments

The film is astonishingly beautiful and is one of the best in the poetic romanticism genre. It's one of those rare films that has an atmosphere that is completely unique and totally mesmeric. An obsessive, intensely personal quality that is magical. The art direction for the AGFA color cinema photography was gorgeous. A lot of beautiful locations, beautiful gowns and a masquerade ball scene that is visually stunning. The Estonian-born Irene von Meyendorff is a woman from another planet and perfect in the role of Octavia, plus an amazingly beautiful woman. Director Veit Harlan once again surpasses himself!

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