Reception

praesidenten-08

Swedish premiere: 3 Feb. 1919.

Danish premiere: 9 Feb. 1920. 

The film was distributed to Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Austria, the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and Egypt – a total of 42 prints, almost twice the average sales for a Nordisk film that year. Nordisk Film’s distribution records include the following notes from the distributors:
"We do not believe this will be an audience film. Would not have acquired it from any other company" (Fotorama, distributor to the Nordic Nations). "In our opinion suffers from a failure of certain conditions" (Sweden). "From our point of view this is a miserable and improbable story, and quite apart from the censorship, there is nothing whatever to recommend it to exhibitors" (UK).

The film got a very mixed reception in the daily papers. Most reviewers were relatively positive, though hardly enthusiastic. B.T., København and Detailhandlerbladet were quite harsh in their criticism. B.T. criticised the use of new faces: "On the other hand, the rest – especially the leads – succeed only in emphasising that 'The President' is rather a mess. Hopefully, this film will never be seen abroad as a testimony to the state of Danish cinema in 1920." Writing in København, 'Laurids' was merciless, considering it ‘endlessly sad to have to review something that is so bad…." As a Dane, he is ashamed about the manuscript, directing, makeup and photography, ending his review, "a greater failure has not been seen in a long time."

Politiken, 10 Feb. 1920 (transcription): The review consists of a brief summary and the following 'critical' comments: "In the film – as in the novel – there is a class distinction that at times does not seem entirely real. But there are many splendid scenes, some quite handsome, some of a quite uncommon effectiveness, and in the direction occasional ideas that one appreciates. The torch procession was fine, the ending of the film of rising dramatic power, and among the large cast one noticed – apart from Mr Halvard Hoff and Olga Raphael Linden in the leads – Axel Richard Christensen, Mrs Kirkeby, and Mrs Fanny Petersen and Hellemann as a delightful servant couple."

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