Genuine: The Tragedy of a Vampire (1920)


The movie Genuine: The Tragedy of a Vampire (1920) is a German silent horror film directed by Robert Wiene. The film’s eponymous character, Genuine, is not actually a vampire, but rather a “vamp” (succubus) who uses her powers of seduction to torment and control the men who love her. [1]

In Genuine: The Tragedy of a Vampire (1920), a painter named William Percy completes a portrait of Genuine, a famous heathen priestess from a legend. After completing the portrait, Percy becomes moody and withdrawn. He refuses to sell the painting to a wealthy patron, Lord Melo, and falls asleep while reading stories of Genuine’s life. In his sleep, Genuine comes to life from the painting and escapes¹. She is purchased at a slave market by Lord Melo, who learns that she had been sold into slavery when her people were conquered by a rival tribe. Lord Melo locks her in an opulent chamber beneath his house, though she begs to be set free.

Every day at noon, Guyard the barber visits Lord Melo to cut his hair. One day, Guyard sends his young nephew Florian in his place. Meanwhile, Genuine breaks out of her underground prison and finds Florian shaving the sleeping Lord Melo. She bewitches him into slitting Melo’s throat with a straight razor. Florian falls under Genuine’s spell, but when she demands that he prove his love for her by taking his own life, he cannot go through with it and is forced to make his escape. [1]


  • Fern Andra as Genuine
  • Hans Heinrich von Twardowski as Florian
  • Ernst Gronau as Lord Melo
  • Harald Paulsen as Percy Melo
  • Albert Bennefeld as Curzon
  • John Gottowt as Guyard
  • Louis Brody as The Malay


A 43-minute condensation of this silent film can be found as an Extra Feature on the Kino Video DVD of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). The full-length version can only be viewed at the Munich City Film Museum archive in Germany. [2]


“This film falls down in so many ways, from the truly over-the-top acting to the slapdash, amateurish sets, to the laziness of the plot. Not to mention its problemmatic assumptions about gender and race. In the end, even Fern Andra and her revealing costumes were not enough to save Genuine from box office failure. This film may have dropped out of sight, but Robert Wiene did go on to make the highly regarded Crime and Punishment (1923) and another horror masterpiece, The Hands of Orlac (1924).” [3]


[1] Wikipedia

[2] IMDb


Last updated byCody Meirick on November 26, 2023