1960 Lis Lindeborg
Prologue: This is a true story. The events related in this motion picture actually happened in Copenhagen several years ago, were widely reported in the Scandinavian press and scandalized the entire population.
Marcel Daniel Edouard Rasmussen lives in Copenhagen, dresses elegantly, is well educated, beautifully mannered and pursues the arts avidly. He studies ballet and the concert piano and has an expensive mistress. His only problem is that he has no money. Barely getting by on a meager salary earned as a bookkeeper and continually in debt, he has, nevertheless, high hopes of an inheritance from a rich relative.
Unfortunately, as the film opens, the relative has just died and left nothing but debts which Rasmussen must somehow pay. All his furniture is being taken away for auction and his lawyer informs him that even his house must be sold. He is on the verge of complete ruin. Despite his artistic gifts, his fine education and charming manners, only his insignificant bookkeeping job can earn money for him and not enough at
that. All agree that he is living in the wrong epoch for, while he has all the airs, graces and talents of the aristocracy of a century ago, it is worth nothing in terms of money today. Very depressed, he abandons his piano and ballet lessons as well as his mistress.
Returning to his office, the firm's outside accountant tells Rasmussen he is an excellent bookkeeper, and very honest in a position of great trust because he realty runs the whole opration, the boss knowing very little about the business. Further, with his skill at keeping books, he could undoubtedly steal from the firm and nobody would know. With that, the accountant leaves saying he won't return to examine the books again for months since he knows Rasmussen is on the job.
Discouraged about life in general, facing financial ruin, he decides to take a last desperate gamble and carve out a whole new life for himself. He begins by literally taking the accountant's humorous observation seriously. He starts stealing from his company. Next, he goes to change his name at a registration office where, for only a few dollars, he can buy a new name legally. He wants one in keeping with his present mood, which is sad.
Informed that the name - "Sa& (with an "e" added to the end to go with his French surnames) is available, he takes it, pays the fee and it is now legally his last name. However, he realizes that, curiously enough, if he uses his new last name with his first three initials, the name reads M. D. E. Sade. This could easily be mistaken for Marquis de Sade and now the direction of his new life becomes obvious.
He goes to the proper government office to apply for a passport using the newly bought name registration as identification. When asked whether the M. stood for Marquis, he said that it did and, although others in line there just wait three weeks for their passports, he receives his instantly - as befits the nobleman he has become! He then appears in a bank armed with his passport for identification and an attache case full of cash stolen from his company. Now in full regalia as the Marquis, he emerges from the bank president's office with a cash credit at the bank of 200,000 kroner. And, finally, with newly hired butler-chauffeur in tow, returns to his office where, while dispensing vintage French champagne to all, recounts how his uncle died leaving him both his title and his millions.
Remaining as bookkeeper so he can continue stealing, he is immediately established as the rich and eccentric Marquis de Sade and is accepted as such by the admiring high society of Copenhagen. Indeed, he is lionized by a segment of that society which has more money than it knows what to do with and is consequently ever in search of new and perverse titillation for its jaded senses. For him, this is really living! But he is both shocked and amazed at the reactions that he, as the Marquis de Sade, elicits from the otherwise highly respectable members of the upper class Scandinavian society. His very title and presence triggers these people into the wildest, most erotic, sadistic and masochistic fantasies imaginable.
These culminate, to his utter disbelief, at a birthday party given by him at his repurchased home. A lavish costume party disintegrates into a fantastic orgy while he is playing Chopin for his guests and he can but look on in shocked wonderment until, at the end, they all run out into the street half nude!