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The Defenceless
Original title De vergeløse
Type Features
Genre Drama
Director Leif Sinding
Short summary Albert, whose mother is hustling, is placed under Mr. Flugum's care. Together with other children who have been put out, he has to work like a slave, but is only given miserable food. The children are constantly beaten up by Flugum and his wife. Albert escapes, but avoids being punished. A young girl, Gunda, arrives at the farm. Albert falls in love with her, in spite of the fact that a Child Care inspector has made her pregnant. But then one of the children’s father, a sailor, turns up. He brings all the children with him to Oslo in order to complain to the authorities.

Author Helen Stibolt wrote an article on The Defenceless in Gyldendal’s “Bilder,”
under the headline “A moving Norwegian film:”

In December 1937 the country was shaken by the so-called “analphabet case:” A 24 year old young man sued the State for damages, because the authorities had failed to ensure that he
as a child received the education he was entitled to. When still a young boy, he was left in
the care of a farmer in the Hurum region as a Child Care kid. The farmer kept the boy and
the other foster children out of school, and instead used them as slaves on his land.
As a result, the boy never learned how to read and write.

Around the same time, a possibly even more appalling tragedy took place at a home for young girls in the West Coast region. It turned out that, with the manageress’ knowledge, the underage girls in the care of the home had been interfered with.

This was the background for Gabriel Scott’s novel The Defenceless,
one of the most moving books ever to have been published in the Norwegian language.
Cast Georg Richter, Karin Meyer, Eva Lunde, Tryggve Larssen, Emmy Worm-Müller, Kjell Willy Johansen, Irene Thomsen, Per Kvist, Asbjørn Toms, Espen Skjønberg
Screenplay Leif Sinding
Based on Gabriel Scott's novel "De vergeløse"
D.O.P Per G. Jonson
Editor Leif Sinding
Composer Jolly Kramer-Johansen
Sound Carsten N. Wilskow
Scenography Baard Hjelde
Producer Leif Sinding
Production company A/S Merkur Produksjon
Country of origin Norway
Release date (national) 1939-09-28
Technical information
Format 35mm
Screen ratio 1:1,37
Colour B/W
Sound System Mono
Length in min's 73 min
Length in meters 2029
Distributor (Norway only) A/S Merkur-Film


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