Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924: The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear

Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924: The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear

Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924: The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear

Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924: The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear

Synopsis

Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924: The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear is the first comprehensive study of the Danish film company, Nordisk Films Kompagni, in the silent era. Based on archival research, primarily in the company's surviving business archives, this volume of KINtop describes and analyzes how Nordisk Film became one of the leading players in the world market and why the company failed to maintain this position. This volume is written from perspective of Nordisk Film as a business and organization, from its establishment in 1906 until 1924 when founder Ole Olsen stepped back. Among the many topics and themes this volume examines are the competitive advantages Nordisk Film gained in reorganizing the production to multiple-reel films around 1910; the company's highly efficient film production which anticipated the departmentalized organization of Hollywood; Nordisk Film's aggressive expansion strategy in Germany, Central-Europe and Russia during the First World War; and the grand plans for taking control of UFA in association with the American Famous Players in the post-war years.

Excerpt

This volume is based on extensive research into primarily one unique source: the Nordisk Film Collection. This collection constitutes the main source of this monograph and, from an international perspective, the collection is indeed unique: correspondence, accounts, contracts, minute books from general- and board meetings and much else is found here; quite an outstanding amount of written materials for a film company in the silent era. the collection provides a detailed impression of how Nordisk organized itself and developed as a business. a closer description of the collection and its associated data can be found in the list of sources and bibliography.

Therefore I have concentrated my principal research on this vast collection, and it is important to stress that the collection contains an enormous amount of material which can be approached from various angles and perspectives – this also creates some limitations. For instance, going through approximately 35,000 outgoing letters from 1906 to 1915 on topics as diverse as concerns about the formation of a monopoly in the American market and instructions to a carpenter, takes time. One might say that in comparison to many other researchers I have been privileged, because in many cases I had to exclude interesting details and perspectives due to the extent of material. in working with such an enormous amount of material, my intention has been to map out the general development of Nordisk as a business, but the collection can provide many other answers and new insights, depending on the questions asked. Nordisk’s relation to the press and marketing is just one issue which could be investigated in greater detail.

Even though the Nordisk Film Collection is the main source, other sources have been consulted as well, including the Danish National Archives, Bundesarchiv, Nordisk Film’s Archives in Valby, Ole Olsen’s personal archives, a series of interviews done in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with persons active in film-making in the silent era, national and international film periodicals from the time, as well as correspondence with fellow researchers. a large amount of this material has either not previously been used in research, or only been used to a minor extent. This book is as detailed and factual as the sources permitted. Archival research is a laborious undertaking, and there are collections I did not have time to look into, such as those kept in Auswärtiges Amt in Berlin and the National Archives in Kew, England. Since completing my original main research nearly a decade ago, the archival situation has improved immensely:

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