Master of the House

This article is about the film. For the song, see Songs from Les Misérables § Master of the House.
Du skal ære din hustru

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Written by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Sven Rindhom
Starring Johannes Meyer
Astrid Holm
Cinematography George Schnéevoigt
Edited by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Distributed by Palladium Film
Release dates
5 October 1925
Running time
107 minutes
Country Denmark
Language Silent

Master of the House (Danish: Du skal ære din hustru, literally Thou Shalt Honour Thy Wife) is a 1925 Danish silent drama film directed and written by acclaimed filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer. The film marked the debut of Karin Nellemose, and is regarded by many as a classic of Danish cinema.


Viktor Frandsen, embittered by losing his business, is a tyrant at home, constantly criticizes his patient, hard-working wife Ida and their three children. He does not appreciate the effort it takes to maintain a household. While his wife is resigned and browbeaten, his old nanny, nicknamed "Mads" by all, openly defends her. When Ida's mother, Mrs. Kryger, pays a visit, he is very rude to her. Finally, he issues an ultimatum: either Mrs. Kryger and the openly hostile Mads (who regularly helps the family) are gone by the time he returns, or the marriage is over.

Mads orchestrates a plan that will force him to rethink his notions of being the head of a household. With the help of Mrs. Kryger, she persuades a very reluctant Ida to go away for a while and rest, while she sees to Viktor and the children. Then, she institutes a new regime, ordering Viktor to take over many of Ida's duties; Viktor obeys, cowed by his memories of the strict discipline she imposed on him when he was a child in her care. Meanwhile, Ida, no longer distracted by her many duties, feels the full misery of her situation and has a breakdown.

As time goes by, Viktor comes to fully appreciate his wife and, as he does love her dearly, longs for her return. When Ida, fully recovered, is finally allowed to come back, Viktor and the children are ecstatic. Ida's mother then shows him a newspaper advertisement offering an optometrist's shop for sale and gives him a check to buy it.


The film has been evaluated as a "spare, compassionate, and astute social satire".[1]

Home media

Master of the House was released to the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray and DVD.



  1. "Du skal ære din hustru, 1925". Strictly Film School. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
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