Brigitte Helm as Scheming Baroness Sandorf in L’Argent (1928 film)

L’Argent (“money”) is a French silent film directed in 1928 by Marcel L’Herbier. The film was adapted from the novel L’Argent by Émile Zola, and it portrays the world of banking and the stock market in 1920s Paris. Marcel L’Herbier insisted that the film should be updated from the 1860s to the present-day.

The plot revolves around rival Paris bankers Saccard and Gunderman. Saccard sees an opportunity to rescue his failing bank, Banque Universelle, by financing the solo transatlantic flight of Jacques Hamelin, a pioneering aviator, and then capitalising on his popularity to set up a colonial business project in Guyane. He also hopes to seduce Hamelin’s wife Line in his absence. When a rumour circulates that Hamelin has crashed, Saccard exploits the false reports to manipulate shares at the Bourse.

Gunderman disapproves of Saccard and his methods, and has secretly bought shares in his bank as a future weapon against him. The Baroness Sandorf, a former lover of Saccard, acts as a spy to assist Gunderman’s interests, and more particularly her own. Brigitte Helm stars as the scheming baroness.

Today L’Argent is regarded by many to be ground-breaking work and one of the cinema’s greatest achievements.

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent

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Brigitte Helm in L’Argent

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