The Case of Lena Smith

The Case of Lena Smith

"The Case of Lena Smith" is a 1929 film directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Esther Ralston and James Hall.


In turn-of-the-century Vienna, simple peasant girl Lena Smith falls in love with young aristocrat Franz Hofrat. They are secretly married, despite intense pressure from Hoffrat's aristocratic family, and Lena has Franz's child. Slowly but surely, Lena's good nature and unbounded optimism are crushed and shattered by the merciless juggernaut of class consciousness and public opinion, leading to tragedy. When Franz's father takes the baby away Franz is unable to help, and he commits suicide. When the court refuses Lena's pleas she steals the baby. The child grows up to march off to war in 1914 from a Hungarian village.


*In the original script Lena Smith was a prostitute, but this was carefully written out to avoid audience animosity against the character.
*The movie was regarded as a financial failure, but Paramount's decision to withdraw several of its late silent releases from distribution and concentrate on talkies accounts for its relatively small box-office take. []

External links

*imdb title|0019754
* [ Josef von Sternberg. The Case of Lena Smith] ; Published by the [ Austrian Film Museum]

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