A Criminal's Diary

(Alexander Christian, DK, 1916)

Thomas Busch is without question the world’s most dangerous criminal – doubly dangerous because he has escaped from every jail he was in. Countless stories are told of his ingenuous breakouts. Again the police set a trap to catch the clever fiend. They succeed and Busch is back in prison, awaiting his verdict. His day in court arrives, but the courtroom is not where he intends to make his escape. No, he has planned everything so carefully that he knows he will be back with his gang in four days.

A death sentence adds urgency to Busch’s efforts. As his last wish, Busch asks to tell his story to a writer. The warden sends for a respected writer, Dr Stein, who finds the condemned man to be an informed and exceptional storyteller. Unwittingly, the writer over the next few days acts as a messenger to Busch’s helpers.

Dr Stein pays regular visits to Busch, who is now well into dictating the third chapter. Finally, the day of his escape arrives: that morning, Dr Stein is assaulted at home by two of the master criminal’s henchmen who tie him hand and foot. When the thugs leave the flat again a few minutes later, one is perfectly disguised as Dr Stein. He hurries to the prison where he and his boss have no trouble overpowering the unsuspecting guard.

Production company: Nordisk Films Kompagni
Distributor:  Fotorama
Releae date and place: 7.8. 1916 / Vesterbro Teater

Directed by

Alexander Christian  Director 


Carl Th. Dreyer  Screenwriter 
Sven Elvestad Screenwriter


Lauritz Olsen Thomas Busch
Frederik Jacobsen Dr. Stein, writer
Holger Syndergaard Schreiber, Warden
Oluf Billesborg Dernburg, General Manager of gambling casino
Ingeborg Skov Elsie, Dernburg's daughter
Franz Skondrup  
Moritz Bielawski

Alexander Christian



Other titles 
En Forbryders Liv og Levned (DK - original title)
En Forbryders Memoirer (DK - alternative title) 
Der Roman des Gefangenen (DE)
Mémoires d'un criminel (FR)
En förbrytares memoarer (SE)


1040 metres

Technical data 
35 mm - 1,33:1 - b/w - mute