Bleeke Bet (1923)



Comedy about Bet, who tries to persuade her daughter to marry landlord Van Zanten's wimpy son as part of a business deal.

Bet - nicknamed Bleeke Bet (Pale Bet) despite her very red face - runs a greengrocery in the Jordaan, Amsterdam's working-class quarter. Throughout the neighbourhood she is known as a good, but hot-tempered woman. She has a daughter, Jans, who, against her mother's will, is keeping company with a good-natured but rather wild young man, Ko Monjé. Bet's husband Tinus doesn't care a bit; whoever treats him to a stiff drink can be his son-in-law.

Van Zanten, a miser and rack-rent landlord, has a semi-imbecile son, Hannes, whom he wants to marry off to Jans. He tells Bet that if she can persuade Jans to marry Hannes, he will give Bet the café she has always wanted to own. So Bet bribes little Gijssie to tell her daughter that he has seen Ko flirting with a couple of girls. Believing this story, Jans breaks off her relationship with Ko. A fortnight later, an excursion by boat through the harbour of Amsterdam is to take place with all the Jordaan characters on board. The only person missing is Ko, but he arrives in time to jump into the water and be hauled aboard. In the evening Jans and Ko meet each other on deck. When Bet sees them together, she kicks up a row. Ko tells her that he intends going to sea but that when he comes back after a year, he and Jans will get married.

However, his boat is wrecked off the coast of England, with, according to an item read in the newspaper by Van Zanten, all hands on board lost. Van Zanten hurries to see Bet, but finding Jans alone, he gleefully tells her the bad news, which greatly shocks the young woman. After some time, Jans submits to her mother's pressure and agrees to become engaged to Hannes. On the day the banns of marriage are published, Bet finally gets from Van Zanten the café he had promised her.

On the very same day, Ko returns to Amsterdam safe and sound. The first person he meets is Sally, the ice-cream vendor, who tells that he may have to go to prison on a charge of theft. Sally had found a gold cigarette-case in some old clothes and sold it to Van Zanten. Ko gives Sally enough money to buy the case back so that it can be returned to its owner. Then they go to Bet's café where Sally cautiously tells the good news to Jans whose joy is such that she faints. All's well that ends well! Van Zanten and Hannes beat a hasty retreat. Ko and Jans are finally together, never more to part.


original title
Bleeke Bet
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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. 235-237

Centrale Commissie voor de Filmkeuring (Nationaal Archief; 3679)

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