There is nothing subtle about Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer (1911). August Blom’s film Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer is meant to shock viewers into action with its ribald sensationalism. Co-financed by the Association for the White Slave Trade Fight (who also feature as the heroes in the story), Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer has all the political and social nuance of a newspaper comic strip.
The plot of Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer itself recalls the thrilling, serialized novels of the Victorian era. A young girl on her way to visit an aunt is abducted and sold into slavery. It’s a cautionary tale full of sexual violence, car chases, hastily dispatched telegrams, rooftop pursuits, and leering old men. For all of this narrative action Blom still shoots Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer as a series of static and theatrical set pieces.
Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer utilizes an editing technique not dissimilar to the fluid cuts for continuity in D.W. Griffith’s films. Blom’s eye for composition is at the very least equal to Griffith’s in every way it’s just that his images lack the sentimental visual cues and signifiers that make Griffith’s shorts so affecting. That said, neither Blom nor Griffith possessed the unbridled imagination of either Georges Méliès or Yevgeni Bauer and could not, at this point in film history, conceive of Louis Feuillade’s brand of kineticism that Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer requires.
The most reliable source for information regarding Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer can only be found in the supplemental material of Edition Filmmuseum Germany’s boxed set release Kafka geht ins Kino (an amazing collection that is definitely worth owning). Like so many films from the early days of the cinema Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer remains fairly obscure and rarely seen. Unlike Blom’s similarly exploitative Den hvide slavehandel (1910) there is no controversy surrounding Den hvide slavehandels sidste offer to help sell the film to contemporary audiences.