Persecution / The Book of Esther
1919 to 1922
Originally released as Das Buch Esther (Germany, dir. Ernst Reicher, 1919)
This film is a biblical epic written, directed by and starring Ernst Reicher in the title role of the King, alongside his wife Stella Harf. This film is an uncomplete version of the original German film, recut and edited for the American market in 1922. MIRC holds only 5 reels of the 7reel film, some portions of which were so degraded and water damaged that they were removed, although visible reminders of the degraded portions of the film do remain. The absence of Reel 5 and 6 within the story of the film leaves gaps that presents some confusion with the plot details. At present, the MIRC print of Persecution is the only known surviving copy of any version of Das Buch Esther.
This version of the film starts with scenes of Haman and the Queen plotting against the Jews when Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman. They convince the King to decree that all the Jews in the land should worship the same God as the King. Haman, meanwhile, plots with the Queen to make himself King. The proclamation goes out and the Jews decide to present a young Virgin to the King to find favor on their behalf. Esther is chosen to be presented to the King and Mordecai, her guardian, is told, with the hope that Esther can use her influence with the King to save them.
When it is time to present all the young maidens to the King, the Queen tries to prevent Esther from being seen because of her beauty. The King disapproves of the choices and so Esther is presented and the King falls for her. She is chosen to be the new Queen and a huge banquet is thrown. Haman and Queen Vashti then plot to kill the king as he sleeps.
Queen Vashti throws a banquet and invites the King and Haman and entertains them with wine and dancing girls but the King finds out about the plot to kill him and orders the capture of Haman who flees. The queen begs forgiveness and the King calls for Mordecai to issue a proclamation to release the Jews from their persecution. Haman is judged by the people and executed and Queen Vashti along with him.
Kings and rulers.
Stuart Webbs Film Company Reicher und Reicher (Production unit). Ernst Reicher (Director). Ernst Reicher (Writer). Uwe Jens Krafft (Writer).
Elmer C. Richards