The History of Motion Pictures

By Maurice Bardèche; Robert Brasillach et al. | Go to book overview

3. The Scandinavian Film

THE FILM IN SWEDEN

DURING the period which might be called the golden or classic age of the silent film, Sweden, which had contributed so much to its formation, no longer produced outstanding pictures. Sjö- ström had become Seastrom in America; Stiller was about to join him there. Svenska still made films and in 1924 actually produced twenty, among which Life in the Country, directed by Hedqvist, and Brunius' Charles XII had some merit, while Edgren's peasant picture, The King of Trollebo, was not without interest. Yet in imitations lacking vitality or in a colorless naturalism, the vein seemed exhausted. The actors, too, were leaving Sweden--Lars Hanson, Einar Hanson and Greta Garbo. Before leaving, Lars Hanson had played in a somewhat bizarre and rather characteristic film of Molander's, a sequel to Seastrom's unfinished Jerusalem. Conrad Veidt also acted in it. Despite certain real qualities, it seemed, however, that the Swedish film had made no progress since Sjöström and Stiller: it was the work of a talented pupil who finishes the picture of a master, and it lacked both originality and life.

Olaf Molander, brother of Gustaf, committed radical errors. He adapted a play of Strindberg, The Republic of Women, and even made a Camille, turning again to the theatrical form from which the films had taken so much trouble to escape. There were mistakes and hesitations everywhere. Runeberg attempted in an unsuccessful Gustavus Vasa to revitalize the historical picture. Theodore Berthels essayed the life of the Vikings. Gustaf Molander also filmed Strindberg. Others undertook to give Sweden comedies. Everywhere what had contributed to the profound originality of the Swedish film was vanishing.

In America, Stiller did not feel at home, and neither his Confessions of a Queen nor Hotel Imperial had the merit of his native productions. Seastrom fared better. After his first American film,

-263-

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The History of Motion Pictures
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Translator's Note *
  • Part One - The Birth of the Film 1895-1908 1
  • Part Two - The Prewar Film 1908-1914 37
  • Part Three - The Cinema during the World War 1914-1918 91
  • 1 - The Italian Film 95
  • 2 - The American Film 98
  • 3 - The French Film 127
  • 4 - The German Film and the Danish Film 134
  • 5 - The Swedish Film 136
  • 6 - The Russian Film 140
  • Part Four - The Emergence of an Art 1919-1923 145
  • 1 - The French Film 147
  • 2 - The Russian Film 168
  • 4 - The German Film 187
  • 5 - The Italian Film 196
  • 6 - The American Film 199
  • Part Five - The Classic Era of the Silent Film 1923-1929 223
  • 1 - The French Film 225
  • 2 - The German Film 251
  • 3 - The Scandinavian Film 263
  • 4 - The Russian Film 266
  • 5 - The American Film 283
  • 6 - The Death of Art 300
  • Part Six - The Talking Films 1929-1935 303
  • 1 - The American Film 305
  • 3 - The German Film 341
  • 4 - The Russian Film 353
  • 5 - A World Industry 361
  • Part Seven - Forty Years of Film 367
  • Editorial Postscript: 1935-1938 381
  • Index of Film Titles 391
  • General Index 405
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