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Harakiri (1919 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Niels Prien and Lil Dagover as O. Anderson and O-Take-San
Directed byFritz Lang
Written byMax Jungk
from the play by David Belasco and
John Luther Long
Produced byErich Pommer
StarringLil Dagover
Paul Biensfeldt
Georg John
Meinhart Maur
Rudolf Lettinger
Erner Huebsch
Niels Prien
CinematographyMax Fassbender
Distributed byDecla-Bioscop
Release date
  • December 18, 1919 (1919-12-18)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryWeimar Republic
LanguagesSilent film
German intertitles

Harakiri, or Madame Butterfly, is a German 1919 silent film directed in Germany by Fritz Lang. It was one of the first Japanese-themed films depicting Japanese culture. The film was originally released in the United States and other countries as Madame Butterfly because of the source material on which it is based and which also inspired Giacomo Puccini's eponymous 1904 opera. The film starred Lil Dagover as O-Take-san.

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MADAME BUTTERFLY after the world famous opera in 6 acts. Characters: Tokuyawa, the daimyo O-Take-San, his daughter The Bonze Karan, the temple servant Karan, the temple servant Kin-be-Araki, the teahouse keeper Hanake, O-take-San's servant girl Olaf J. Anderson Eva Tokuyawa, the Daimyo travels from Europe back to Japan. O-Take-San, his daughter "Father, I am so happy that You have returned ---- during Your absence I had to suffer so much from the Bonze!" "O-Take-San, your father has brought this for you from the foreign lands." The Bonze. Karan, the temple servant. "Noble Lord, Your servant is guarding the Holy Shrine from the trampling of foreign feet!" "May Buddha bless Your return!" "You have taken many foreign things to Lippon again." "I noticed from the gifts for Your daughter." Olaf J. Anderson. ...So, in a couple of days O-Take-San will become priestess in the 'Holy Forest'... "If my child wants to - I shall not force her!" "You have lost your faith in Buddha in those foreign lands! Fear his wrath!" "That awful Bonze persecutes me, because I have perceived his unclean purposes... but I will pray to Buddha myself... and Buddha will hear O-Take-San!" "Forgive Your poor servant, who is not worthy to be Buddha's priestess... but who wants to sacrifice to the Noble One her greatest and dearest treasures: her puppets." "Buddha will make sure that You are punished." Three weeks later the festival of the 'Falling Leaves' is celebrated. 'May Buddha bless you! The Mikade, his name be praised. Thanks You for Your message about the traitorous Daimyo, who, with foreign doctrines wants to incite the people against the sanctified person of the Mikado. The rebellious one will not escape his punishment...' "An envoy from the Mikado awaits You, master!" "The noble Mikado sends You this gift... You know what it means... within 24 hours You must bid life farewell!" "A gift from our merciful Lord, the Mikado. A sign of his mercy!" "Go into the garden, for our guests are missing You!" "O-Take-San has something to tell You!" "The Daimyo is dead!" "As final sign of his devotion to the Mikado, he gave him his life." "That is the palace of Daimyo Tokuyawa, he is a favorite of the Mikado and his house is one of the most hospitable in Japan." "Your father was punished for your sins by Buddha. Don't change your mind, Buddha is strict, so serve him as priestess." "Behind this wall lies the 'Holy forest', where no European may enter!" "Prepare yourself for it, O-Take-San, in a couple of days your initiation as priestess will take place." "How did You get here, stranger? Don't you know our strict laws?" "If You don't want to fall into the hands of guards You should leave quickly!" "Come tomorrow at the same hour..." "O-Take-San would be a very good Geisha for the keeper of the Teahouse." "....a normal garden...." "I cannot follow You, for soon I will be consecrated as Buddha's priestess." " the evening". "Come quickly, O-Take-San, I want free you, but promise me you will be quit!" "Olaf, you changed a lot. Come with us to the Teahouse!" "A new geisha!" "If you pay well, I will bring you the most beautiful geisha in Nagasaki." "Noble chief, You can only keep this geisha if, according to the laws of the Yoshiwara, you marry her for 999 days. You have, however, the right to divorce her, whenever you want." "I am willing." The next morning. "Karan!" "Where is O-Take-San?" "Bring me O-Take-San, or I.." Some time later. "I can't approve the marriage of Olaf Anderson with that Japanese girl, for it won't be long before we return home!" "Holy Priest, after much effort I've found O-Take-San. She is married to a foreign marine officer and lives in the Teahouse on the hill." "Be cursed, an unfaithful one." The weeks later. "I went to collect my inheritance..." "This illustrates the three virtues of Japanese girls! They may hear nothing, speak nothing and see nothing." "This is the sword with which my father killed himself, by order of the Mikado!" "You shouldn't put so much faith in your happiness, O-Take-San... it could change quickly!" "Olaf will never leave me..!" "My dear Olaf, it is not nice of you, to make your little wife sad." "That little O-Take-San seems to really love you!" ...and when the Honeymoon was over... "Greetings O-Take-San, don't be sad... I am travelling back to Europe, but... I will return!" "Come back swiftly Olaf... You do know... that you... must come back!" The memories of the land where the peaches grow. ...some little geisha somewhere... "Little Olav, repeat after me: Great Buddha, grant me my wish and make O-Take-San happy again!" Lord Matahari. "In four weeks it will be four years ago, that O-Take-San's husband left her. According to our laws, she will be free again then, and must return to the Yoshiwara!" "...and if she has no money to buy herself free!"... "I want to know immediately where O-Take-San lives!" Dear Olaf! You probably still remember that little geisha, who you married years ago. The poor creature has taken the affair very seriously, and has been waiting all these years with her child in tender longing for you... "O-Take-San lives with the keeper of the Teahouse, Kin-Be-Araki!" "The Bonze wants you to ask her for the rent for the room... if O-Take-San cannot pay... she must remain in your Teahouse!" "That stranger paid for three years, O-Take-San has been living here with me for four years now and if does not pay the rent, she must leave this house immediately." "I have nothing, but my husband, Olaf Jens Anderson, will be back soon, and then you will certainly get the money!" "In my department I will not allow the oppression of the poor!" "You won't be bothered by that Landlord again, take this money!" "O-Take-San is beautiful... and I don't want her to lack anything!" "Today I got the order to set sail for Japan. Would you like to come along?" ...and when the peach trees were in bloom again... "O-Take-San, an emissary from Lord Matahari awaits you!" "I love you, O-Take-San, and if you want..." "O-Take-San, would be my wife?" "I do not want your wealth. I am the wife of Olaf Anderson. I'd rather die than be unfaithful to him!" "You are mistaken, O-Take-San... Olaf Anderson is not your husband and your mariage..." "I won't have you insult my husband, he'll return soon to me and his child!" "A European ship has entered the harbor... I can feel that... it's Olaf!" "Come, Hanake, let us decorate the house with flowers for the reception!" After a night of waiting awake in vain... "I'm going to the consulate to ask for him!" "O-Take-San's time is up. She must go back to the Yoshiwara. The child will be entrusted to the State." "Master, help! They want to steal O-Take-San's child!" "Olaf Anderson, help for godsake! They are trying to steal your child!" " that she is free again, she must return to the 'Holy Forest'!" "Go away! You weren't concerned about Buddha's sacred service. You just wanted to have your revenge!" "My gratitude for your protection, Lord. But I cannot become your wife... I am the wife of Olaf Anderson!" "Come, it is at least your duty to help that poor O-Take-San!" "He is coming, O-Take-San! He is coming!" "Why doesn't he come himself... I know... he has forgotten me... it was Your will!" "He can come collect the child himself, tell him that!" "Go inside and get your child!" "It's better to die with honour than to live in shame!" "Where is O-Take-San?" "O-Take-San is dead!" THE END


Nagasaki, Japan at the turn of the 20th century. Daimyō Tokujawa comes back to Japan after being an ambassador in Europe. A Buddhist monk wants Tokujawa's daughter O-Take-San to become a priestess of Buddha. In order to have her at his mercy, the monk sends the mikado a letter accusing the daimyo of conspiring against him. As a result, the mikado sends the daimyo a sword with which he commits suicide. The monk abducts O-Take-San but one of the Temple's servants let her escape and sends her to a tea-house where she becomes a geisha. A Danish naval officer, Olaf Anderson falls in love with her and marries her for 999 days, in accordance with Japanese custom. Shortly afterwards, Olaf Anderson goes back to his country and O-Take-San gives birth to his son. She refuses proposals to be married to Prince Matahari because she considers herself still married to Olaf. After four years, when her marriage with Olaf has expired and her son is going to be taken by the state, Olaf comes back to Nagasaki. He is now married and when his wife learns about O-Take-San's story, she goes to see her to say that she is willing to take care of her son. O-Take-San is desperate to see that Olaf has not even come to see her and answers that she will give her son only to Olaf in person. While Olaf's wife tries to convince him to come to O-Take-San's house, O-Take-San commits harakiri with her father's sword.[1]


  1. ^ Review, synopsis and link to watch the film: "A cinema history". Retrieved 13 August 2014.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 March 2024, at 14:05
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