Mottige Janus


Janus Rechtsom, nicknamed De Mottige (The Pock-Marked), is a sturdy, honest seaman. He does his duty, drinks perhaps a drop too much, but has a heart of gold that belongs to Lena Doorn, the girl next-door. Lena, an orphan, spends much time with father Gijs and son Janus Rechtsom. She is now a governess looking after two children. Although engaged to Janus, she listens gladly to the flattery of Frans van Klarenberghe who, although of good family, is a rake for whom no woman is sacred. Frans tells Lena that she is far too good to marry a pock-marked sailor and that she was born to be a lady. Home on leave, Janus is upset when he sees Lena and Frans in the park. Gijs Rechtsom warns Lena that Frans is only playing with her and will never make her his wife. When she hears this from Frans himself, she leaves him in disgust and realizes that she can be happy as the wife of a good man like Janus. Their wedding is celebrated. Lena earns some extra money with a grocery shop. All the people in the alley, including the old-clothes man Nathan, rejoice in the happiness of Janus, Lena and their baby.

The time comes for Janus to go to sea again, leaving Lena and the child in the care of his father. In the meantime Van Klarenberghe has discovered Lena's whereabouts and he seduces the lonely young woman into coming to live with him. Lena's life becomes a whirl of excitement, only disturbed when she thinks of Janus. A telegramme arrives saying that Janus is coming home. Lena's birthday is being celebrated and at the party she is the gayest of all until Janus arrives and disturbs the festivities. Deeply disappointed, Janus goes to sea again. Drink becomes his only solace.

Van Klarenbergh decides that it is time for him to make a good marriage and that Lena must disappear from his life. His friend Duvion tries to buy her off, but when Lena finally sees how Frans has played with her, she leaves his house, taking nothing of his with her. She will try to earn a living for herself and her little daughter. Years go by. Lena is poor and sick. In the evenings her daughter goes from café to café selling flowers. Janus, almost ruined by his addiction to alcohol, is told by a fortune-teller that he will soon see his wife and child again. When a little girl in the public-house begs him to go to see her sick mother, there follows a painful meeting between Janus and Lena. Lena is doomed to die, but when she does she is happy, knowing that she is leaving her child in good hands.


original title
Mottige Janus
foreign release title
Le méprisé
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Technical notations

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Black & White


G. Donaldson, Of Joy and Sorrow. A Filmography of Dutch Silent Fiction, Amsterdam (1997), pp. 223-224

Centrale Commissie voor de Filmkeuring (Nationaal Archief; 5869)

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