Which is Which?

(Holger-Madsen, DK, 1917)

Accident and sickness insurance agent Schwindelmeyer is a pretty sharp guy and his wife Adelaide is no slouch in the smarts department either. Quickly finding that insurance sales is too much and too hard work, Schwindelmeyer invents a new method of doing business, to wit: pretty, chic Mrs Adelaide, who always trails a pack of admirers, picks one to be her victim, pretending to return his affections. When the victim thinks he has won the lady’s heart, he is treated to a highly unpleasant surprise: Schwindelmeyer comes barging in, acting the aggrieved husband, and refuses to let the victim go before he buys a costly accident and sickness insurance policy. Schwindelmeyer makes a good commission, but he and Mrs Adelaide are spendthrifts by nature and always hard up for cash.

When the time comes to move on their latest victim, a young dentist named Lustig, they are down to their last single crown – a woefully insufficient sum, especially now that Mrs Adelaide just ordered a new dress. Schwindelmeyer has just finished penning an extortion letter to Lustig when a messenger arrives with the dress, but he refuses to hand it without getting paid. Mrs Adelaide is incensed. Elsewhere, dentist Lustig is treating a difficult patient when he receives Schwindelmeyer’s blackmail note, which he considers a threat on his life. Then he recalls that he saw a debutant actress earlier that day who bore a striking resemblance to Mrs Adelaide. He decides to hire her, hoping to convince Schwindelmeyer that he is actually seeing the actress not the blackmailer’s wife. While the dentist was away, his patient, Hamlet Møller, has been treated to several odd experiences. Most grievously, an insurance agent, mistaking him for Lustig, took him to task for wooing Mrs Adelaide. Angry, Møller demands damages for his suffering and Lustig, delighted that someone was standing in for him, sends Møller to Mrs Adelaide to get his payment from her.

In the meantime, fate has thrown Schwindelmeyer and the young actress together. Mistaking the actress for his wife, he tells her about his latest successful swindle and a new scam he has cooked up. The actress tells the dentist what she has learned, which gives him time to prepare an effective countermove. Schwindelmeyer calls up his victim and invites him to his home for a small reconciliation party that evening. Mrs Adelaide is called away due to a minor misunderstanding and the young actress seizes the opportunity to impersonate her. The evening in all ways is an abject fiasco for the insurance agent. Every one of his clever ploys backfires, making him suspect that other inventive brains besides his own could be at work. Then Mrs Adelaide walks in and her husband almost loses his mind. It’s impossible for him to tell which of the two women is his real wife. Shortly after, Lustig and the young actress quietly withdraw. They had such a good time pretending to be engaged, why not get engaged for real? And Schwindelmeyer, the sharp guy? Well, he has starting questioning his smarts and is looking for a new, less nerve-wracking way to make a buck.

Production company Nordisk Films Kompagni
Distributor  Fotorama
Release date and place 23.5. 1917 / Victoria-Teatret

Directed by

Holger-Madsen  Director 


Carl Th. Dreyer  Screenwriter 

Cinematography by

Marius Clausen Camera Operator


Nicolai Brechling Schwindelmeyer, Insurance agent
Johanne Fritz-Petersen Adelaide Schwindelmeyer and Therese
Henry Seemann Lustig, Dentist
Bertel Krause Hamlet Møller, Actor




Other titles 
Hans rigtige Kone (DK - original title)
Die richtige Frau (DE)
Sa vrai femme (FR)
Hans rätte hustru (SE)


1114 metres

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