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The Student of Prague (German: Der Student von Prag) is a 1926 Expressionist silent film by actor and filmmaker Henrik Galeen.[1]

The Student of Prague
A 1926 promotional film poster
Directed byHenrik Galeen
Produced byHarry R. Sokal
Written byHanns Heinz Ewers (novel)
Henrik Galeen
StarringConrad Veidt
Werner Krauss
Elizza La Porta
Agnes Esterhazy
Music byWilly Schmidt-Gentner
CinematographyGünther Krampf
Distributed bySokal-Film
Release date
  • 25 October 1926 (1926-10-25)
Running time
134 minutes
CountryWeimar Republic
German intertitles

The film is a remake of The Student of Prague (1913). It is considered as Galeen's most important film since The Golem (1915) and is regarded as his magnum opus.[citation needed] The film draws on the Faust legend.[2]

It was shot at the Staaken Studios in Berlin. The film crew involved some famous names: designer Hermann Warm; cinematographer Günther Krampf; and the actors Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Dagny Servaes,[3] Leni Riefenstahl[3] and Elizza La Porta. Der Student von Prag made La Porta a well-known actress.


The film is set in the year 1820 and centers around a student at a university in Prague, Balduin. At a student-led outing to a country inn, Balduin encounters the figure Scapinelli who offers him money "for very low interest." Balduin believes him to be a loan shark and ignores him to go engage in a fencing match with another student. After the match, the viewer sees Scapinelli on a cliffside, watching a young woman (later revealed to be Margit, the daughter of a count) on horseback who is participating in a boar-hunt. He manipulates the situation such that the animals run amok and head towards the inn. Margit's horse runs away with her and Balduin catches her when she falls off. As a reward, she gives Balduin a crucifix which has fallen from her neck and later he receives an invitation to the house of her father, Count Schwarzenberg. There he becomes aware of his own poverty in comparison to Margit's fiance, who is a baron. Later that night, Scapinelli again comes for Balduin and makes an offer. Balduin signs a contract stipulating that Scapinelli can have anything in the room he wants in return for 600,000 florin. Balduin signs and Scapinelli takes out a small bag and proceeds to pour the entirety of the 600,000 onto the table. Scapinelli then takes his part: Balduin's reflection.

The scene then shifts to show the new lifestyle that Balduin is leading with his newfound fortune. His happiness does not last long, because his reflection, free of the mirror, runs amok, causing havoc around town, which is blamed on Balduin. Balduin, in his final confrontation, shoots his reflection. This results in his own death. The movie closes as it opens: with a shot of Balduin's grave, upon which is inscribed "Here lies Balduin. He fought the devil and lost".



  1. ^ Courtade, Francis (1984). Cinéma Expressionniste (in French) (1st ed.). Paris: Henry Veyrier. ISBN 2-85199-334-8.
  2. ^ Hedges, Ines (2009). Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles. SIU Press. pp. 30–33. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Riefenstahl, Leni (1987). Leni Riefenstahl: A Memoir. Albrecht Knaus Verlag. p. 61. ISBN 0-312-11926-7. Retrieved 8 May 2014. His [Riefenstahl] best-known films were The Golem with Paul Wegener and The Student from Prague with Dagny Servaes, Werner Krauss and Conrad Veidt, all of them artists of stature.

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