Holger-Madsen made his acting debut on the stage in 1896. He was a touring actor until 1905. Played at Casino 1905-12 an Dagmarteatret 1912-14. He never quite abandoned the stage and would return between film jobs. Acting debut on film in 1908. In 1912 he wrote, directed and starred in "Kun en Tigger" which provided him with a contract with Nordisk Film, where he made his greatest films. Between 1913-19 he directed about 80 films and soon became one of the leading director in Denmark. He often wrote his own scripts and brought creative cinematography and innovative lighting to his dramas. In 1920 he started to direct features in Germany but these films never gained the same prominence as his Danish achievements and he returned to Denmark with the advent of sound. In the 1930s he only directed three more films.
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