Asta Nielsen was one of the great stars of European cinema. She began in 1910 in the Danish film industry, already world leaders in adult-themed dramas. When Germany came to the fore, she became an institution there as well. Her films are little seen outside of Europe, though the Pacific Film Archives ran a retrospective a few years ago. One film which is available is Nielsen fascinating portrayal of the title role in the world's strangest version of Hamlet (1920). She was Lulu (in 1923's Erdgeist) long before Louise Brooks. Her best known film outside of Europe is Die Freudlose Gasse (1925) co-starring diva-to-be Greta Garbo. A compelling performer and artistic innovator, Nielsen's films deserve a worldwide audience.
|Here is a colored picture of Die Asta as Hedda Gabler (1924), plus a small picture of her, still easily recognizable in later life. These picture are courtesy of Joop van Dijk (as are the next two pictures)|
|Picture (or issue in which picture appeared) is dated Jan. 21, 1970|
|These pictures are of Asta at home with her new husband, ca. 1970 when she was probably 87 or 88! She was some lady.|
Asta Nielsen : ihr Leben in Fotodokumenten, Selbstzeugnissen und zeitgenössischen Betrachtungen. Munich: Universitas, 1981
Asta Nielsen und die Sprechbühne . Berlin : [no publisher given, mid 1920s?]. Read book and see pictures, or download the PDF in the Internet Archive.
The Oxford History of World Cinema, Edited by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Article on Nielsen by Janet Bertstrom on p. 26
©2001, by Greta de Groat. All Rights Reserved
Last revised December 26, 2014