Greta Garbo

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Gustaf Molander

  During 1927 Gustaf Molander directed the film "Sealed Lips" ("Forseglade lappar") with Wanda Rothgardt, Mona Martensen, Stina Berg and Karin Swanstrom.  It was the first film to be photographed by Ake Dalquist. Film Daily in the United States reviewed the film during 1928, writing, "Mona Martenson looks as if she will be heard from after developing more screen experience....Others, evidently Swedish players also all competent for their roles...Some of the technique employed is stilted, but fine directorial touches and an interesting story quite capably acted makes it a novel diversion. Fair program if cut and retitled."
     During 1927 Gustaf Molander also directed the film "Discord/His English Wife" ("Hans engleska fur") with Margit Manstad, Wanda Rothdardt, Lil Dagover and Margit Rosengren in what would be her first appearance on screen.  In the United States Motion Picture News Booking Guide reviewed the film "His English Wife/Discord" as a "Society Drama" relating its theme as "Avaricious relations force girl to marry wealthy farmer. Used to city life she soon tires of his home and returns to city. They come to an understanding only after the wife finds her gaiety false and her love for her husband the main thing." Film Daily in the United States, where Pathe had acquired the film for distribution and advertised it as though it were their production, opined that the film was a "Society drama with European background and treatment that is effective in many instances. No very familiar names but several worthy performances." Among those performances the magazines deemed worthy of reviewing were "Gosta Ekman, the handsome blond man about town, Uhro Somersalmi good at times but occasionally given to to overdone guestures. Stina Berg very comfortable and likable housekeeper." The magazine looked favorably at Molander's direction.
     Forsyth Hardy sees the films as comedies that unduly come under the heavy influence of Paul Merzback of Svensk Filmindustri, who was looking for a more international audience, and who would bring a frivolity to early sound films made in Sweden that now would seem far too typical. When reviewed in the United States, it was written that "His English Wife" was a film in which "the acting is of the school that believes in tapping fingers and clenched hands" and when "Sealed Lips" was reviewed it was written that "the direction goes back to the stand-gaze-and-hark acting of the old days." Hardy reverses his sentiment on Molander by later writing, " His 'Malapiratrer' (1923) adapted from a comedy from Sigfried Sibertz, was a fresh and spontaneous piece of work with some pleasant acting by Einar Hanson and Inga Tibland." Actress Stina Berg had appeared in "Constable Paulis Easter Bomb/The Smugglers" (Polis Paulus skasmall, 1925), directed by Gustaf Molander and also starring Guken Cederberg and Lilli Lanni.
     In 1928, Gustaf Molander continued directing with the film "Sin" ("Synd"), starring Lars Hanson, Ragnar Arvedson and Elissa Landi. Forsyth Hardy again sound disgruntled or disappointed with Molander directing under Paul Merzbach in that the film was an adaptation of Strindberg's work "Brott ouch Brott". "The Merzbach influence," Hardy writes, "helped to scale down the Strindberg drama into a thriller."
That year he also filmed "Woman of Paris" ("Pariskor") with Ragnar Arvedson,Ruth Weyher nd Karin Swanstron. It was photographed by Julius Jaenzon.
Author Forsyth Hardy includes "Triumph of the Heart" (Hjartes Triumf, 1929) among those films made under the influence of Paul Merzbach which "made little impression on the film going world outside Sweden and they contributed nothing to the tradition built up during the Sjostrom-Stiller period." (Hardy)

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