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Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens

00:00 Introduction by Caroline Yeager, Assistant Curator, Moving Image Department, George Eastman Museum
02:53 Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens

Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens [The Ornament of the Loving Heart, The Ornament of the Lovestruck Heart] (Germany 1919)
Director: Lotte Reiniger
Writer: Lotte Reiniger
Animators: Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch, Berthold Barthoch
Producer: Hans Cürlis
Production company: Institut für Kulturforschung e.V. (Berlin)

Release date: 12 December 1919
Sound: silent
Color: tinted
Length (in feet): 266 ft.
Length (in reels): 1
Running time: 4 min.
Frame rate: 20 fps

Preserved from a 35mm print by the George Eastman Museum
Digitized by Eastman Museum Film Preservation Services

The first film directed by influential German-born silhouette animator Lotte Reiniger is delightfully reminiscent of a Valentine’s Day card come to life. Two lovers interact with an ornate background that shifts and changes in tandem with their own balletic movements as they express their feelings for each other. Reiniger’s fascination with silhouettes began during childhood, when she fell in love with silhouette puppetry. She later developed an interest in cinema, particularly in the works of Georges Méliès and Paul Wegener. She worked on several of Wegener’s films before striking out on her own with Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens. Reiniger went on to direct several more animated shorts, features, and advertisements, including The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) and Doktor Dolittle und seine Tiere (1928). Director Fritz Lang also called upon her talents for the famous falcon dream sequence in Die Nibelungen (1924). A genius with paper and scissors, Reiniger created exquisitely detailed backgrounds and figures that move with a grace which even today’s animators might envy. Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens was so popular with the German audience that it “ran for 40 weeks on the Ufa cinema circuit.”