Henrik Malberg

Henrik Malberg
Born Henrik Martin Marinus Malberg
(1873-12-04)4 December 1873
Aarhus, Denmark
Died 28 September 1958(1958-09-28) (aged 84)
Years active 1896-1958

Henrik Malberg (1873–1958) was a Danish actor of theater and Danish cinema who played his most noted role at the age of 80—the stoic authoritative farm owner in the Carl Theodor Dreyer classic film Ordet.


Henrik Malberg (right) as Jeppe in Ludvig Holberg's Jeppe på bjerget at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, 1918. To the left is Valdemar Møller as Jacob Shoemaker.

Henrik Martin Marinus Malberg was born in Aarhus Denmark on 4 December 1873. Originally trained as a mechanic, Malberg made his stage debut at the Århus Teater in 1896. Malberg worked with a touring company for several years but between 1902 and 1905 he was based with the Aarhus Theater. While playing the role of Arv in Masquerade, Malberg was noticed by the Danish actor Olaf Poulsen who brought him to Copenhagen. For the next five years, Malberg was the principal actor at the Dagmar Theater in Copenhagen. In 1910, he became director for a Danish touring company, then once again returned to the Dagmar (1912–1914) and afterwards, the Alexander Theater (1914–1917). In his later years, Malberg was employed at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen.[1]

Malberg made his screen debut in the 1910 silent film, The Picture of Dorian Gray. He appeared in several more films during the silent era for the major Danish directors of the period: George Schnéevoigt, Emanuel Gregers, Holger-Madsen and Lau Lauritzen, Sr. He also performed in three Fy & Bi comedies. Then in 1930, Malberg performed the lead role in the first purely Danish sound film as the priest in the crime mystery Præsten i Vejlby. A man of large stature and booming voice, Malberg was primarily a stage performer, and his film performances are described as imposing and theatrical.[1] It was not until he was 80 years old that Malberg played his most memorable role—as the farm owner Morten Borgen in the classic Carl Th. Dreyer film Ordet (The Word). Malberg credited Dreyer with teaching him the art of film acting.

When for so many years one stood on a large stage, a huge square, and shouted lines over the audience, one must learn to tone it down

and find a quieter form in front of the camera. Dreyer taught me that. He is a magnificent director - he demands a lot, but also gives a lot.

Henrik Malberg at age 80, Ekstra Bladet 1954[2]

Afterward Malberg travelled around Denmark to teach and to perform for school children. At the age of 84, he toured 55 Copenhagen area schools and a dozen in Jutland, giving a two-hour performance at each.[1]

I am actually in such good shape, that I dream of performing on stage for my 85th birthday.
Henrik Malberg, Politiken, 1958[2]

Malberg died two months before his 85th birthday after falling from a ladder. During his long career, Malberg appeared in 21 films. Malberg also cowrote two stage plays: Bolettes Brudefærd (with Orla Bock) and Gamle Postgaard (with Axel Frische). Malberg performed in the 1938 movie version of Bolettes Brudefærd with his brother Peter Malberg and Bodil Ipsen. Malberg was an honorary member of the Danish Actor's Union for which he sat on the board for 36 years.[1]

Personal life

Malberg was the son of Peter Broch Malberg and Catrine Marie Schebye. His brother, Peter Malberg, was also an actor. Malberg married Anna Augusta Hansenmeyer on 11 May 1906. Malberg died on 28 September 1958. The address in Aarhus where Malberg was born houses a dinner theater.


YearOriginal titleEnglish titleRoleNotes
1955OrdetThe WordMorten Borgen directed by Carl Th. Dreyer
1942Med forenede kræfter Propaganda film
1938 Bolettes brudefærd Carpenter Kristiansen based on Malberg's play
1938 Kongen bød Jeppe
1937 Kloge Mand, Den The Clever Man Shoemaker
1936 Sol over Danmark Sun Over DenmarkPastor Nicolaj Jacobsen
1933 Kobberbryllup Handelsgartner Johansen
1932 Paustians Uhr Paustian's Clock Mayor
1931 Præsten i Vejlby The Vicar of Vejlby Præsten Søren Quist First Danish sound film
1930 Hr. Tell og søn William Tell and Son Uncle Jokum Fy & Bi Film
1929 Højt paa en Kvist Fy & Bi Film
1925 Grønkøbings glade gavtyve Pat and Patachon are Millionaires Bank director Fy & Bi Film
1924Der Mann um Mitternacht The Man at Midnight Knut Hammerdal
1921 Det Største i Verden Love that Lives Thomas Ward directed by Holger-Madsen
1920 Gudernes yndling The Penalty of Fame Pommel
1919 Krigsmillionæren The Parvenu Jensen directed by Emanuel Gregers
1916 Udenfor loven Outside the Law Brown
1914 Tre indvendige Jomfruer Three Maidens
1914 Lejla Lejla Horse trainer
1913 Lille Klaus og store Klaus Lille Klaus
1910 Dorian Grays Portræt The Picture of Dorian Gray


  1. 1 2 3 4 Piil, Morten, Henrik Malberg, Danske Filmshuespillere, Gyldendal, (2001), pg. 294-295
  2. 1 2 translated from Piil, Morten, Henrik Malberg, Danske Filmshuespillere, Gyldendal, (2001), pg. 294-295

External links

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