Tartuffe (1926 film)

Tartuffe (Herr Tartüff) is a German silent film produced by Erich Pommer for UFA and released in 1926. It was directed by F. W. Murnau, photographed by Karl Freund and written by Carl Mayer from Molière's original play. It was shot at the Tempelhof Studios in Berlin. Set design and costumes were by Robert Herlth and Walter Röhrig.

Herr Tartüff
Film poster
Directed byF. W. Murnau
Produced byErich Pommer
Written byCarl Mayer
CinematographyKarl W. Freund
Distributed byUFA
Release date
  • 25 January 1926 (Germany)
  • July 24, 1927 (U.S.)
Running time
4 reels
CountryWeimar Republic

The film starred Emil Jannings as Tartuffe, Lil Dagover as Elmire and Werner Krauss as Orgon.

Based on the play Tartuffe, the film retains the basic plot, but Murnau and Mayer pared down Molière's play, eliminating most of the secondary characters and concentrating on the triangle of Orgon, Elmire and Tartuffe. They also introduced a framing device, whereby the story of Tartuffe becomes a film-within-a-film, shown by a young actor as a device to warn his grandfather about his unctuous but evil housekeeper.


Restoration and home video

Like all Murnau's surviving films, Tartuffe is licensed by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation,[1] whose tinted restoration is distributed on home video with a piano score by Javier Pérez de Azpeitia. It has been released on DVD in the US (Kino Lorber) and in identical editions in the UK (Eureka/Masters of Cinema), France (mk2), Germany (Universum Film) and Spain (Divisa).[2] The FWMS restoration has also been released on Blu-ray in the UK by Eureka/MoC.[3]

In 2015, a new, longer and more accurate restoration with a full orchestral score was broadcast on Arte television, but as of March 2019 is unavailable on home video.[4]


  1. "DCP – Film distribution 09/2018 (PDF)" (PDF). Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation.
  2. "Tartuffe DVD comparison". DVDCompare.
  3. "Tartuffe Blu-ray comparison". DVDCompare.
  4. "Early Murnau: Five Films, 1921–1925". Criterion Forum.
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