De inbreker


Count de Brandt bets the members of his club that within two hours he can steal the famous Ruysdael painting "Autumn Evening" from the Brazilian banker Baron de Villa, even though the latter has hired Renault, the famous private detective, to guard his art collection. He sends the Baron a note: "Send your 'Autumn Evening' right now to the address given below; that saves me the trouble of coming to collect it from you. Ecu Street 103. 'The Shark'." He then rings up Renault and asks him to come immediately as he hears voices in his cellar discussing a plan to break into the Baron's house. Upon his arrival the unsuspecting Renault is taken to the cellar and locked in.

The Count then goes to Renault's home from which he despatches a second note to the Baron, saying: "Within half-an-hour the painting will be in my possession." The Baron telephones Renault's house, and De Brandt answers: "Do not worry. I am coming soon. Don't let my disguise upset you." Professionally made-up, he goes to De Villa's house. When no-one is looking, he pours a few drops of a soporific into his hosts' coffee. Fifteen minutes later, everyone is asleep. De Brandt takes the painting and leaves behind a note saying: "I didn't want to wake you all up, you were sleeping so soundly. I have allowed the burglar to escape, so that it will be easier for me to arrest his associates. Renault."

In his club, the Count tells his fellow-members how easy it was for him to win the bet. He then goes home, releases the detective, tells him what has happened and advises Renault to return the painting as soon as possible. Next day the following item appears in all the newspapers: "Last night the house of Baron de Villa was burgled. In spite of the extra surveillance, a member of the notorious gang known as The Sharks managed to get inside and steal a valuable painting recently acquired by the sympathetic banker. Detective Renault, who was immediately warned, was able within three hours to run the burglar to earth, to arrest him and to return the painting to its owner. That really is a record that can be ascribed to the account of Renault, whose reputation needs no further acclaim."


original title
De inbreker
foreign release title
Cambrioleur amateur
production year
release date
production company


Technical notations

Black & White


G. Donaldson, Of Joy and Sorrow. A Filmography of Dutch Silent Fiction, Amsterdam (1997), pp. 132-133

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