Swedish Silent Film
Sherlock Holmes pa Marienlyst/Sherlock Holmes at ElsinoreIn regard to The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, written by William Shakespeare being compared to a lost film, there are elements to the characterization that lend themselves to the methods of the armchair detective, no matter how readily: ostensibly that the line "How all occasions do inform against me" appears in the First Quatro of Hamlet but is omitted from the First Folio printed posthumously by the Shakespearean acting company, the Kingsmen, and playwright Ben Jonson- it remains a fragment The pith of its events were designed by Shakespeare from the Danish legend Amlet that seems to not have had a character named Ophelia, nor a ghost- the Ghost first appeared in what is now a lost manuscript mentioned in Lodge's Wif's Miseries, and the allusion is to a ghost that cries like an oyster wife, "Hamlet Revenge" and, earlier than Shakespeare's Hamlet, is attributed to Thomas Kydd. While we wait for a filmmaker to add the play in its entirety despite its length, any production of Hamlet must confront that there are in fact three versions written by William Shakespeare. Notwithstanding, the history of silent film might at any time bring in not only the play as performed on stage, but the indefatigable Sherlock Holmes. It would only cause Conan Doyle to delight that after online discussions with the University of Edinburgh about time travel that of course neglect to connect the idea that assassination attempts on Queen Victoria lead to a theory that King Edward was the real Jack the Ripper, but that time travel is still a perpetual loop, and after online discussions from the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick that Shakespeare had based the play Hamlet on long lost Scandinavian literature, that currently Harvard University Online poses the question ,"Is the Ghost of Hamlet's Father, The King, a lost soul? Is he within historical context in purgatory? " Technically, it would seem that visitations from the deceased were not allowed in Shakespearean England.
Basil Phillip St. John Rathbone, who portrayed the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, had also appeared in silent films- Trouping with Ellen (T. Hayes Hunter, seven reels) in 1924, The Masked Bride (Christy Cabanne, six reels), starring Mae Murray, in 1925 and The Great Deception (Howard Higgin, six reels) in 1926. Rathbone and his wife had been present at the premiere of Flesh and the Devil. Anna Karenina (1914), filmed by J. Gordon Edwards, had starred Betty Nansen. On learning that Greta Garbo had already had the film Mata Hari in production, Pola Negri deciding between scripts that were in her studio's story department chose A Woman Commands as her first sound film, in which she starred with Basil Rathbone. Of Rathbone she wrote in her autobiography, 'As an actor, I suspected Rathbone might be a little stiff and unromantic for the role, but he made a test that was suprisingly good.' Directed by Paul L.Stein, the film also stars Reginald Owen and Roland Young.
And like Rathbone, another Sherlock Holmes, Clive Brook who appeared in the 1929 film The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Basil Dean) and in the title role of Sherlock Holmes (Howard) in the film of 1930, was appearing in silent films during the early 1920's, including Woman to Woman (Cutts 1923) and Out to Win (Clift, 1923). As part of an interesting study, Clive Brook had appeared in the mysteries Trent's Last Case (1920), directed by Richard Garrick and based on the novel by E.C. Bentley and The Loudwater Mystery (1921), based on the novel by Edgar Jepson, before his appearing with Isobel Elsom in the 1923 film A Debt of Honor directed by Maurice Elvey. One of the most sought after lost, or missing films, listed by the British Film Institute as having been filmed but not surviving today in an existing print is The Mystery of the Red Barn (Maria Marton) dircted by Maurice Elvey in 1913. The following year Elvey was to direct the mysteries The Cup Final Mystery and Her Luck in London. One of the first directors Philip St John Basil Rathbone had appeared in front of the camera for had been Maurice Elvey, who had directed the 1921 film, The Fruitful Vine, adapted for the screen from the novel.
Motography, the motion picture trade journal, reviewed the Sherlock Holme sof 1916, "Much of the photography is very good. A number of bog scenes standout prominently, in which the suspense is cleverly managed. But as a whole, seven reels seems too lengthy. The play drags in the first part and some of the story is vague. The acting is in keeping with the melodramatic situations. Gillette shows himself a clever screen actor in the title role." Motion Picture World noted that William Gillette was over sixty years of age at the time of its review and at the time of the release of the film. It reviewed "the Photoplay adaptation of his famous play in seven parts" in which he used members of Essanay and of his own stage company, "theater goers will never tire of looking at his characterization of Conan Doyle's Greta detective.. And leave in comparatively permanent form, his Sherlock Holmes for the delight of future generations. Mr. Gillette acts like an old-timer before the camera...The seeming lapses into sleepiness of manner and action suddenly resolve into a display of imperiousness and overwhelming mentality and wit." Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Berthelet, 1916) starring William Gillette, for nearly a century a silent film that if found in magazines has been reported as a lost film in regard to being seen on the movie projection screen, according to Photoplay magazine although not remade was the basis for the film Sherlock Holmes (nine reels) of 1922, starring John Barrymore, John Barrymore not only in the title role but also in a dual role as Moriarty. Photoplay magazine claimed that it was Barrymore's acting ability that was worth seeing, not so much the character itself being portrayed, but added that followers of the Arthur Conan Doyles stories were recommended to see the film, "You should see this film if you are a devotee of John the Barrymore...Albert Parker, the director, has not been afraid to follow his imaginative impulses, with interesting results." As the stories of Edgar Wallace were beginning to appear serialized in The Stand Magazine, alongside a Sherlock Holmes rejuvenated by its creator after the death of illustrator Sidney Paget, a Sherlock Holmes created by John Barrymore appeared in The Strand Magazine in the interview The Youth of Sherlock Holmes, conducted by Hayden Church during 1922. A photocaption read, "A well known incident from 'A Scandal in Bohemia', the first of the famous Sherlock Holmes stories. John Barrymore's wonderful makeup as the old clergyman is seen to better advantage in the small photograph." Jounalist Hayden church divulged to The Strand, "It was in a bedroom of the Ritz that I discovered Mr. Barrymore, who arrayed in flowered silk pajamas was at that very moment engaged in making up as the great Sherlock." The article explained that there was a prolouge to the film that provided biographical information on the fictional character and his youth that had been left out in the cannon. In the interview, Barrymore explains that the film was shot on location not in Baker Street or Gower Street, but in Torrington Square, for authenticity. "Our film will bring out the romantic side of Holmes...'At the beginning of the hour,'Holmes in our script, 'I met love and it passed me by. At the end of the hour, I met mysterious evil'" Film Daily magazine during 1922 described the film favorably with the provision, "It is too long and it is not easy to follow the story. In an effort to clarify matters numerous long titles and used that often confuse more than try to explain. The result is a 'talks' picture and if you happen in after the first half reel you are about lost because it's not the kind of story that you can pick up readily." The magazine described the lighting as "sometimes too dark on interiors" and the exteriors as "views of England and Switzerland; splendid". The scenario is listed as having been written by Earle Brown and Marion Fairfax, the cameraman as having been being J. Roy Hunt. In the film, Holmes is seen smoking a pipe in his armchair at 221 B Baker Street with a human skull on the end table where the Conan Doyle often kept his Stradivarius violin, his being seen reading a letter, the later shown in an intercut insert shot. Watson, now married, enters as Holmes reads a newspaper account of his having solved the Darton Mystery, the newspaper also shown in insert shot. There is a globe visible in the far corner of the room, a teapot diagnally in the foreground, and yet, the bust, remaining unidentified, but presumably Roman, can only be espied as a shadow, the light seeming to fall from a window that is blocked by its silhouette. The Persian slipper is on the mantle, ready for when Holmes' is in need of filling his pipe. It is there that Holmes attributes to Moriarty over fourth as of then unsolved mysteries. The film quickly concludes, first by Holmes disguising himself as Moriarty, then as he is removing the greasepaint he apprehended Moriarty, who in turn is in disguise, at that moment his announcing that he is embarking upon his honeymoon.
While deciding whether Stoll and Ellie Norwoord could film the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Arthur Conan Doyle's remonstrance not to use the name Sherlock Holmes as it more properly belonged to William Gillette, Film Daily printed during 1922, "The author said he saw the film version in which John Barrymore appeared and stated that there was one act which was not authorized, nor in accordance worth his plots. 'That was the act in which Sherlock Homes goes to college', said Doyle." It added, without intimating that today an owner of a ouigi board would be more favored to acquire an interview with Doyle than a trade magazines from the twenties, "Doyle said that Gillette wired him for permission to make changes in the original theme in order to 'work in a romance' and that Gillette cabled,'May I marry Holmes?' Doyle replied,'Marry him, murder him or do anything you like with him.'"
Sherlock Holmes as a film shot at the Essanay Studios in 1916 was lost, presumed nonexistent, found as a copy of a French print and restored in 2014. Edward Fielding essays as Doctor Watson in a scenario written by H.S.Sheldon. Actress Majorie Kay stars in references to "the woman". A nitrate dupe negative was found in the Cinemateque Francaise with French intertitles and color annotations which having had been being restored for its premiere in the United States, will be seen for the first time during May of 2015 at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The film, and the film version starring John Barrymore in which Roland Young appears as Dr. John H. Watson have not been seen in what appears to be more than three quarters of a century- the director of the 1922 film, Albert Parker assisted William K. Everson and Kevin Brownlow in restoring the Barrymore version during 2001.
In regard to Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore, actor Jens Fredrick Sigfrid Dorph-Petersen brought an unauthorized four act version of the play Sherlock Holmes written by William Gillette to the Folkteatret for Christmas in 1901, sixteen years before Gillette himself had adapted the stage performance for the cinema. The play was performed in Stockholm, Sweden with actor Emil Bergendorff onstage as Sherlock Holmes during April of 1902. That same year, the play was staged in Kristiana, Norway with actor Ingolf Schanche as Gillette's Sherlock Holmes.
Maurice Elvey in 1921 directed actor Eille Norwood in the first 15 of 45 shorts in which he would star as Sherlock Holmes to begin with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Published in The Strand Magazine by Hayden Church was his perception, "Almost simultaneously we have had a Sherlock Holmes in the person of Mr. Ellie Norwood, who, in "movie versions" of some of the most renown of the Adventures has revealed a genius of disguise worthy to rank with that possessed by Holmes himself."
Motion Picture News gave advanced notice of fifteen completed subjects, each two reels in length to begin release during January, 1922. "All the advantages in casts, appointments and elaborate direction types in the various stage enterprises of the Stoll concern were brought to the picturization of the Doyle tales, a feature said to be specially notable in this connection being the erection for Stoll in London a studio built after the most modern American manner, appointed with the latest doings in American lighting and other advances made in this country to bring screen adaptation to their finest interpretations of life itself. The exteriors fro the Sherlock series are said to have been taken for the most part at the actual scenes employed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in recounting the Holmes adventures, these involving at times magnificent estates."
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes would include The Empty House, which was reviewed by Film Daily Magazine, "This time the criminal takes a pot shot at the famous detective and for a moment you thinOk all is lost. The suspense is great...While no women enter into the story it is well up to the standard of the series and holds the attention throghout." Elvey would also direct Norwood in the film The Man With The Twisted Lip, "Instead of opening in the usual manner of these stories in Holmes's office with a visitor describing the case in question, The Man With the Twisted Lip opens in an opium den with the well known detective is nowhere in evidence. However after a little while, you will begin to see him through his disguise. How the case is unravelled with a most unexpected kick at the end makes very good entertainment." The Beryl Coronet was reviewed with, "How Sherlock Holmes, the great detective, very well played by Ellie Norwood, unravels the mystery makes very good entertainment. The suspense is well held and though you are comparatively sure of the villian, the way in which the case is slowly drawn around him by the detective holds the interest closely.". Of The Priory School it was esteemed by Film Daily that "Ellie Norwood who plays the part of the famous detective has a most pleasing personality and gives an enjoyable performance.". To Film Daily, "The Resident Patient follows closely the Conan Doyle story of the same name." Also included in the series were A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red Headed League, The Yellow Face, The Copper Beeches, The Solitary Cyclist and The Dying Detective. Seperate from the two reel adventures, Maurice Elvey that year directed Norwood in the feature films The Sign of the Four and in the silent Sherlock Holmes film The Hound of the Baskervilles. Of Maurice Elvey's direction of The Hound of the Baskervilles Film Daily wrote that there was an exingency of "telling the story rather than in production values; some good effects." It continued, "Ellie Norwood looks the part of Holmes but has little to do" and noted that he was "not given much prominence as Holmes...Betty Cambell is a poor choice of leading lady." Photoplay Magazine in 1922 reviewed the work of Ellie Norwood as "the real Sherlock Holmes", declaring, "There is no sticky love interest to be upheld-this is the cool detective of the test tubes and the many clues- who walks, step by step, toward a solution." Exhibitor's Trade Review described the work of Ellie Norwood, "Ellie Norwood, famous English actor, portrays the role of ShePrlock Holmes the detective in all of the adventures. His quiet repressed acting adds immensely to the power of these stories of mystery...The release of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes begins at a paticularly opportune time, since the author of these famous stories is now in the United States on a lecture tour, which will attract added interest to his work, by far the most popular of which have always been the Sherlock Holmes Stories." After his having directed Matheson Long in the Stoll Film Company's 1919 production of the film Mr. Wu, Maurice Elvey had been earlier teamed with Eille Norwood in 1920 for two silent films before their having entered into the Sherlock Holmes series, The Hundreth Chance, adapted from the novel, and The Tavern Knight, also adapted from the novel. George Ridgewell would direct Eille Norwood in 30 short films in which he would star as the consulting detective, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1922) and The Last Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1923), among them being The Boscome Valley Mystery (1922), The Six Napoleons (1922), The Golden Pince-Nez (1922), The Reigate Squires (1922), The Musgrave Ritual (1922), Black Peter, The Norwood Builder, The Red Circle, The Stockbrokers Clerk, The Abbey Grange, The Engineer's Thumb (1923), The Dancing Men (1923), The Mystery of Thor Bridge (1923) , The Cardboard Box, Silver Blaze (1923) , Lady Frances Carfax, The Gloria Scott, The Crooked Man, The Mazarin Stone and The Final Problem (1923). George Ridgewell during 1922 also directed the mystery The Crimson Circle with Clifton Boyne. In regard to Maurice Elvey, there still lies the possibility that modern detective of lost film could find any conceivable treasure; in 1926 the director filmed several films in a series entitled Haunted Houses and Castles of Great Britain. Like Holmes, counterpart Nyland Smith, portrayed Fred Paul, was extended into a second series of films, the British studio and director A. E. Coleby, after having completed The Mystery of Dr. Fu Man Chu (1923), which when completed ran to fifteen individual short stories, having added The Further Mysteries of Dr. Fu Man Chu to make the number of adventures twenty two. During 1924, the studio added a series of silent adventures entitled Thrilling Stories from the Strand Magazine. During 1923, Pathe had ran an advertsiement asking, "Is Spiritualism Fake? See Is Conan Doyle Right? Two Parts by Cullom Holmes Ferrell. A sensational picture with a sensational pull." A second ad for the film read, "Can the dead talk with the living? It is reported that Sir Author Conan Doyle has said that in case of necessity the spirit of the great and good man for whom the nation mourns could communicate with his successor. Scientists are interested in studying spiritualism. See Is Conan Doyle Right? Two Parts by Cullom Holmes Ferrell. A real big oppurtunity for exhibitors if there ever was one. A third advertisement read, "Did you ever see a spirit? Do you know what "ectoplasm" and the aura are? See Is Conan Doyle Right? Sensational, startling, a miraculous money maker." "A sensation in two reel featrues", Exhibitor's Trade Review introduced the film, "It is said that the picture is in no way offensive to those who believe in spirit control, mediumship, or manifestations of the return of the departed. In fact, a portion of the picture deals with this phase and proceeds to sound its warning in a seance climax of unmistakable power."
By all sccounts, Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore Sherlock Holmes pa Marienlyst, written by Danish author Carl Muusmann during 1906 and republished by the Baker Street Irregulars on thIe fiftieth anniversay of its first appearance, has not been translated into filmic form and on to the screen, it detailing the pariculars to a visit Holmes made to a seaside hotel. Nor has The Vanished Footman, published in the Danish magazine Maaneds-Magisinet in 1910 by Severin Christensen. Sherlock Holmes in a New Light, an anthology of short stories published in Sweden by Sture Stig and the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which he followed with two years later, also seem missing. What Carl Muusmann had in fact written in 1903 that was to find its way into Danish cinema was a novel that Carl Th Dreyer had adapted while a scriptwriter for Nordisk, Fange no 113, directed by Holger-Madsen in 1917 and he had contributed to a script Dreyer had been involved with in 1917 entitled Herregaards Mysteriet. Carl Muusmann had written the background material that went to three films directed by Hjalmer Davidson during 1915 and 1916, Manegens Born, Grevide Clara and Filmens Datter (The Films Datter, adapted from a novel published in 1914. Denmark had had its own early silent cinema with the Nordisk Film Kompagni, founded in 1906, and Swedish film historian Forsyth Hardy can be quoted as having written, "The Danes claim to have made the first dramatic film, in 1903." Most of its early narrative films having had been being directed by Viggo Larsen, they were for the most part "thrillers, tragedies and love stories" (Astrid Soderberg Widding) or "the social melodarama and dime novel that made a hit from 1910 onwards" (Bengt Forslund). Lisabeth Richter Larsen, writing on the internet about the films The Candle and the Moth, The Great Circus Catastrophe and Temptations of a Great City, looks specifically to actor Valdemar Psilander, and quite frankly, his daring, as bringing a wider international audience to Danish silent films, "The film is one of the first in a long row of 'erotic melodramas'- a genre that almost became the trademark of Danish film abroad- and Psilander was born for this type of film with his masculine charm and elegant poise..worth noting. Maybe not so much for Psilander's acting, but for the sensational, action packed story lines that he was in." Anne Bachmann, author of Locating Inter-Scandinavian Silent Film Culture: Connections, Contentions, Configurations, at first quotes a "caustic" Charles Magnusson, "In 1913, the head of Svenska Bio, Charles Magnusson disparingly used a Danish term to express his regret that Stockholm audiences statistically preferred "thrilling" dramas to nature films. Magnusson even contrasted it with overtones of the Romantic sublime associated with breathtaking nature, 'It is sad that I need to state that natural scenery as a rule is not appreciated at its full value. It is not sufficiently thrilling for our restless kind to stop in admiration before Swiss Alps and banal things like that.'" Whether or not Magnusson had adapted his choice of scripts to the Danish vogue, or had added scenes to Scandinavian literature to compensate for a lack of action-centered scripts, the quote displays "a covert critique of the sensationalism of Danish melodrama." Bachmann fittingly adds a quote from the Norwegian director Peter Lykke-Seest (Unge Hjerter, 1917; De Foraeldrevrelose, 1917), who had scripted six films for Nordisk during 1912-1916, "I think the public will soon have had enough of crime films, sensations and empty decorations. It will demand beauty. Beauty and atmosphere. And in that respect, nature will provide more than humans." Author Anna Strauss, while examining Danish silent film as an international cinema, cinema that was exported, writes that, "Danish film was associated with 'social drama' and 'erotic melodrama', so much so that she examines the alternative endings that were filmed in order to export narrative films (not films that are lost, but seperately filmed final acts to conclude their respective feature films). Isak Thorson also writes of the Russian endings to Nordisk films, "It is not easy to say exactly how widely these alternative endings were used. More than half the scrips of over 1100 Nordisk films made between 1911 and 1928 have survived in the NordPisk Special Collection, amid them we find various indications that some at least had alternative endings....On the basis of surviving films, letters and scripts, we know that at least 56 alternative endings were made from 1911 to 1928. Curiously enough, however, there are no indications that alternative endings were created for the five films in which we still have the actual endings. This demonstrates that Nordisk produced alternative endings for more films than the 56 which we know have double endings because they survive." The author notes in particular the American film Flesh and the Devil, with Greta Garbo and Lars Hanson as being a film that had an alternative international ending. More can be learned about the nature of early Danish narrative film as Isak Thosen titles his paper, "We had to Be Careful, the Self-Imposed Regulations, Alternations and Censorship Strategies of Nordisk Films Kompagni 1911-1928". It is taken from a quote from Ole Olsen, "We had to be careful and make films in such a way that the could be understood everywhere. As an example, I might mention that a film could not be sold in England if a man walked through a bedroom and no one else was in the room." Thorsen begins his premise about the Danish erotic melodrama and sensational film by writing, "What's striking about Olsen's recollection is that in his mind there is little distinction between making a film "understood everywhere" and getting it past the often obscure and culturally contingent censorship regulations- in this case the eyes of the British censors and their monitoring of sexual morality." Bo Florin gives an account of there being similar difficulty for Victor Sjostrom in Sweden, in that the censorship board, "continued to irritate producers by cutting out sequences or, worse still, banning entire films." What is in agreement with the Danish concept or necessarily leaving part of the erotic melodrama to the imagination is the later writing of director Peter Urban Gad. If only to characterize Gad as an artist or intellectual, Thomas J. Sanders writes, "Most emphatic was the prominent Danish author Urban Gad, who in early 1919 identified monumentalism, brutality and sentimentality as America's dominant film traits and advised German producers to focus on consistency and substance." Bela Belaz introduces the new subjects and the new characters of the "form language" with a discussion of Urban Gad, "Urban Gad, the famous Danish film producer, wrote a book on film as far back as 1918...According to him, every film should be placed in some specific natural enviornment which must affect the human being living in it and plays a part in directing their lives and destinies." Belaz, in Theory of Film-character and growth of a new art, looks at "photographed theater", and that including Scandinavian film, sees it as no longer being only the "photographed play", that nature itself could be included in the cast of players by the "dramatic features through the present action of the immediate effect of nature on the moods of human beings which sometimes excersise a decisive influence on their fate." While providing an analysis of the grammar of film, including the internal framing (proscenium arch, foreground figures, receding planes) of the shot within the temporal-spatiality of continuity, as well as the "tableau plus insert", Bordwell refers to Filmen:Dens Midler Og Maal, written by Peter Urban Gad, "Gad recommends recording a scene in long shot then replacing part of it for a closer view...Gad explicitly declares that one should not 'cut a scene into small bits'." Marguerite Engberg quotes Gad's volume in that there is an entire chapter on the tinting and toning of film, "He tells us that in the early years of cinema it was common to use loud colors such as scarlet, bright yellow, grass-green and purple in a jumble regardless of style and action and he continues, 'It is still important to pay attention to the use of light colors.'"Since then, as many as 19 films have been listed as lost and as having been directed by Peter Urban Gad, including Die Flasche Asta Nielsen (1915) in which Nielsen plays both her double, Boulette, and herself; after Gad's publication director, as the use of tint and toning was in decline Benjamin Christensen decided to change the color plan, using only three colors: light brown, dark brown and blue. Film historian Mark B. Sandberg, using the advent of the multi-reel film between 1910-1912 as a point of departure, adds, "Although Danish films often framed the most aggressive of female sexuality with diegetic performance situations or punished such transgressions with token strategies of narrative closure, the powerful female desire in the course of the erotic melodrama seems to have trumped any onscreen tactics of containment, at least judging from contemporary reactions. Danish films were not famous for their narrative frames, in other words, and the main force of their gender poetics was anything but recuperative." Amanda Elaine Doxtater, in Pathos, Performance, Voliton, a dissertation written for Mark Sandberg, after citing authors that view erotic melodrama itself as a reaction to gendered spectatorship and the need for the emerging Scandinavian female audience to find the sensational, explains, "The Kunst Film, as these mulit-reel features were called, played a key role in Nordisk's phenomenal success in the teens, both financial and artistic. Although literally meaning "art film", kunstfilm was originally used to designate all multi-reel films...for in contrast to the one-reel films...the longer format allowed Nordisk to develop characters and experiment with complex narrative structure. This would lay the ground work for Nordisk's great combination of humanistic stories, psychologically interesting drama and sensational spectacles." Kirsten Drotner, in Asta Nielsen, A Modern Woman Before Her Time summarizes, "The downfall of the female protagonist is a standard element in early film melodrama", but adds that the "first modern sensational drama" belonged to Fotora and that by 1914, there were 24 film studios in Denmark. "The phenomenal economic success of Nordisk Films rested largely on its export of multi-reel films, intiated in 1910 by a rival company, Fotorama...Longer films set new technical standards and demanded novel forms of narration. while it was Nordisk Films that first reaped the profits of these innovations, it neither invented the feature-length film nor initiated its form of narration." And yet the newsreel-like "life-fact" filming of Ole Olsen and Charles Magnusson had crossed into fiction and fantasy as the one-reel film, in summary, had begun to legnthen after the cinema of attractions- while awaiting the pastoral narrative films of Robert Olsson in Sweden, simultaneous to the release of Danish erotic melodrama, mysteries like Pat Corner (Masterdetektiven) and Nat Pinkerton, The Anarchists Plot (Det Mislykkede attentat), both in which the director Viggo Larsen appeared on screen with Elith Pio, had appeared in Denmark, not as early as 1909 but earlier, the Danish photographer Axel Graatjaer Sorensen having begun filming for Larsen in 1906 and having had continued solely for Larsen untill 1911, when he then began photographing first for Danish silent film director August Blom and then for danish silent film director Urban Gad under the name Axel Graatjkjae. Viggo Larsen by 1910, was in Germany, where he directed and starred with Wanda Treumann in Arsene Lupin Against Sherlock Holmes (Arsene Lupin contra Sherlock Holmes), which appears to have been a series consisting of The Old Secretaire, The Blue Diamond, The Fake Rembrandts, Arsene Lupin Escapes, and The Finish of Arsene Lupin. In 1911 he directed the more successful Sherlock Holmes contra Professor Moriarty, which having been filmed by Vitascope, was two reels in length. It has been reported from Norway that Viggo Larsen had resigned from Nordisk Film in 1909 due to a financial disagreement with Ole Olsen that had also include concerns about his artistic integrity. During 1908 Great Northern, The Nordisk Film Company, advertised "Next Issue: Sherlock Holmes the Noted Detective's Capture of the King of Criminals. An Absorbing Subject, the interest of which is enhanced by novel stage effects. The fight in the moving train is the Perfection of Realism. Undoubtedly this season's biggest feature." Moving Picture World wrote about the film, "a detective story by Great Northern Film Co. to be issued next week is a masterly production in every respect. The plot in itself is interesting and well worked out. The staging is splendid and introduces some novel effects, not claptrap contraptions, but very realistic in all details. The action throughout is natural and spirited in some parts." In Denmark, Larsen had played Holmesin one reel films to Holger-Madsen's Raffles in both Sherlock Holmes Risks His Life (Sherlock Holmes in Danger of His Life/ Sherlock Holmes i livsfare,1908), a film running seventeen minutes on screen in which Otto Dethefsen appeared as Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes Two, both films photographed by Axel Sorensen, the latter having a running time of ten minutes. Great Northern during 1909 advertised, "Among Many Headliners to go on the market in the very near future is Sherlock Holmes: Series II and III. Series I issued recently is crowding every theater in which it is exhibited." Moving Picture World reviewed the film, "It is quite as much of a thriller as the first. The audience will watch with the most intense interest as they see Raffles escape and afterward see Holmes enticed into a lonely place and into a sewer. But he escapes and captures Raffles in the act of shooting at an image in Holmes' window which Raffles takes to be Holmes himself...The cleverness of the film and the success of Holmes compensates for any shortcomings in other directions." Moving Picture World, surrounding with its text a photograph from the film caption, "The Capture of Raffles by Sherlock Holmes", wrote, "Once free, Raffles' first thought is to revenge himself on Sherlock Holmes and for this he enlists the services of a pretty, but depraved girl to decoy the detective to an old house, where he is met by Raffles under the disguise of an old woman. Sherlock Holmes, taken by suprise is thrown through a masked opening in the wall into an old sewer. When Raffles and his associates discover that Sherlock Holmes has been rescued they plan a second attempt on his life. Raffles takes lodgings opposite the detective's home and watches for a good chance to fire his gun...Sherlock Holmes guessing the intention of the criminal, pulls down the window blinds and arranges a dummy at the window." Raffles shoots, only to "find himself face to face with Sherlock Holmes in the flesh....In Sherlock Holmes II, you will find the same quiet, cool and possessed detective." Einar Zangenberg played the armchair detective in Larsen's Sherlock Holmes Three (The Secret Document/Det Hemmelige), a film with a running time of fourteen mintues, and in Hotel Thieves (Hotelmystierne/Sherlock Holme's Last Exploit) in 1911. Hotel Theives was screened that year in the United States as a Great Northern Film, its advertisement reading, "Another of our celebrated detective productions. A brimful of of exciting and sensational incidents." It shared its advertising space with the "exceedingly well-staged drama" Ghost of the Vaults. Which in Denmark, was seen as Spogelset i Garvkaeldern, directed by August Blom and starring Otto Langoni, Thilde Fonss and Ingeborg Larsen.
One of those productions from Great Northern that year was The Conspirators, " A sensational drama of the Sherlock Holmes type." Rather than a detective, Einar Zanberg was to play a journalist in the 1911 film The Disappearance of the Mona Lisa (Den forms under Mona Lisa), directed bu Eduardo Schnedler-Sorensen and starring Carl Alstrup and Zanny Petersen;Einar Zangerberg then stepped behind the camera as director in 1912 to bring the photography of Poul Eibye to the screen in the films Kvindhjerter and Efter Dodsspriset, both with Edith Psilander, The Last Hurdle (Den Sidste Hurdle), in which he appeared on screen with Edith Psilander, and The Marconi-Operater (The Marconi Telegrafisten). Viggo Larsen would also direct the Sherlock Holmes films The Singer's Diamond (Sangerindens daiamanter (1908), starring Holger Madsen with Aage Brandt as the singer: int the case of Margaret Hayes, Sherlock Holmes returns the necklace after having climbed to the roof and then on to a balcony for a duel with revolvers near the chimney. Along with the synopsis of the film, Moving Picture World explained that it was often invited to visit Mr. Oes for advanced screenings of forthcoming releases and praised his for their photographic quality and variety of subject matter. It reviewed Theft of Diamonds, "This firm has made an attraction feature of films of this type in the past, its Sherlock Holmes series being graphic representations of this fact. In this film some very dramatic situations are reproduced and the acting is so sympathetic, and the actors develop so much capability in developing their parts that the audience becomes absorbed in the picture and regrets when it closes." The running time of the film was seventeen minutes. The Great Northern Film Company incidently would during 1910 run an advertisement for a film titled The Theft of the Diamonds crediting it only as "a stirring detective story" without identifying it as a Sherlock Holmes mystery. To follow were the films The Gray Lady (Den Graa Dame, 1909) with a running time of seventeen minutes and Cab Number 519 (Drokes 519), in which Larsen would play the consulting detective with co-star August Blom. Moving Picture World described Sherlock Holmes in the film, "Holmes, after all, is only a clever man of the world with highly developed reasoning powers. he is not a mere stage detective looking preternaturally wise and relying only upon time-worn expedients. No, he goes about his work in an ordinary matter of fact style, plus, of course, a little permissible exaggeration of acumen...The picture is full of excitement from start to finish...Melodrama such as Cab Number 519 does not call for subtlety of dramatic interpretation; it all has to be plain, decisive and incisive...Holmes works on very slender materials; he also works rationally." The Baker Street Journal mentions that the Nordisk Film The Gray Lady is often held to be the first film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles despite that it "does not feature a hound at all, but rather a phantom lady used for much the same purpose." Great Northern advetised the film in 1909 as "From Sherlock Holmes' Memoirs" while it was reviewed mostly as a synopsis outline, "There is a legend in a noble English family that when the Gray Dame, a respectable family ghost, appears then the eldest son of the house dies...In this dilemma, Sherlock Holmes is sent for and he discovers the secret doors...Disguising himself as the son of the house he awaits the next appearance of the Gray Dame...The story is full of exciting movements and the plot is worked out with decision. There is not a lingering moment in the story, which moves rapidly, tensely and convincingly, as all detective stories should". In Cab Number 519, "The only clue in the case is the number of the cab but this is quite sufficient to the intelligent detective. In less than an hour the cab is found and Sherlock Holmes is on the box dressed as a driver." Great Northern included "Cab Number 519" in its regular magazines advertisements by claiming it to be "A meritorious subject in every respect. One of the finest detective stories. Holding the interest continuously fro start to finish." Before becoming one of the finest, and most prolific, of Danish silent film directors, August Blom also starred as an actor with Viggo Larsen in front of the camera of Axel Sorensen in the film A Father's Grief (Fadern (1909), directed by Larsen. Ole Olsen in 1910 produced Sherlock Holmes in the Claws of the Confidence Men (Sherlock Holmes i Bondefangerkler) for Nordisk Films Kompagni, in which Otto Langoni starred as Holmes with the actress Ellen Kornbech. Langoni appeared as Holmes in the 1911 films Den Sorte A Haand (Mordet id Bakerstreet with the actress Ingeborg Rasmussen and in The Bogus Governess Den forklaedete Barnepige, both listed by the Danish Film Institute as being photographed by an unknown director-a pastiche titled Den Sorte Haand was filmed by William Augustinus. Great Northern advertised the film The Bogus Governess in Motion Picture World magazine with "One of the best Sherlock Holmes detective films ever produced...Secure a booking of this attraction at once...Don't delay in booking this headliner." It shared advertising space with The Love of a Gypsy Girl, "feature drama" and consequently Love Never Dies. Translators had added the titles Night of Terror and Who is She to the films produced by Nordisk Film chronicling the adventures Sherlock Holmes.
During 1911 magazine readers in the United States were introduced to Alwin Nuess- Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the film, directed by August Blom co-starring Emilie Sannom and Einar Zangenberg, who plays Laertes. Produced in the grounds of the original Castle Cronenberg (Elsinore) Denmark, the Great Northern film, "surpasses any previous Shakespearean productionin acting, natural scenery and ensemble. Although a classical subject appeals forcibly to every class of audience." Author Astrid Soderberg Widding recently noted that August Blom had Concieved Hamlet as a three act stage play but that the company had abridged the work to a one-reel play. In the article Hamlet of the Film, published in Motion Picture World during 1911 the author declined evaluating the actor Alvin Nuess by comparing him specifically to the elder Southern, Keanu and Irving with, "The pleasure of comparing many great Hamlets will belong to the critics of the following generations. But the Great Northern Film Company is to be congratulated on having the photograph of so interesting a Hamlet as Herr Neuss...Herr Neuss' Hamlet of the film vividly accents the heart qualities of character, when he first comes out on the castle's platform- it is the actual Castle Cronsberg (Elsinore)..Again, when he advises Ophelia (Fraulien Sannom) to enter a nunnery, his guest urges convey so deep a tenderness that the scene is poignantly affecting. Fraulien Sannom makes a very beautiful Northland Ophelia...she wasn't as pathetic as she might have been." Of interest to Skakespearian actors, underneath an advertisement for the 1910 detective film The Diamond Swindler, Great Northern proclaimed the release of the film Kean or The Prince and the Actor, based on the life of "Edward Kean, the famous tragedian, who was not only a great actor, but an intense self human man." The advertisement praised the film for its actors having originated from the Royal Theater at Copenhagen, the film an adaptation of a play by Dumas. The film had been directed by Holger Rasmussen, and it's actor were in fact Einar Zangenberg and August Bloom paired on screen with Agnes Nyrop Christensen, Thilda Fonss and Otto Langoni. Underneath the advertisement for Hamlet was mystery: A Confidence Trick, "A detective story full of exciting situations" and The Stolen Legacy, "a feature detective film of thrilling character." Motion Picture News reviewed The Stolen Legacy without naming its leading actor, "This is an exceedingly powerful detective story. Sherlock Holmes is in make up a life-like presentiment of Conan Doyle's famous character." A synopsis of the film was provided, there having had been being a Countess who was captured in an automobile chase by Dr. Morse, who instructed his assistant, a hunchback to kill her at midnight should he not return. Morse then goes to Baker Street and makes a "forcible entry" to find Holmes and bring him to his awaiting hostage, the Countess, whom Holmes saves." Great Northern advertised The Stolen Legacy alongside The Cossack and the Duke; in its place were in turn advertisements for The Nun and The Voice of Conscience. Alwin Nuess would portray Sherlock Holmes in the films The One Million Dollar Bond (Millionobilgationen) in 1911 and in The Hound of the Baskervilles (Rudolf Meinert) in 1914. The Baker Street Journal attributes the photography of The Hound of The Baskervilles to Karl Fruend; it also adds a sequel that was sped off under the title The Isolated House (Das einsarne Haus), Alwin Nuess continued playing Holmes in in the 1915 films William Voss and A Scream in the Night., reviewed in Motion Picture World during 1916. "A Sherlock Holmes drama, was written by Paul Rosenhayn and arranged by Alwin Nuess, who has won great popularity through his numerous interpretations of the world famous detective, chief among which as Holmes in Hound of the Baskerville...Contrary to a recent American criticism of the European depiction of the famous detective, thisSherlock Holmes neglected appearing at a soiree in his checkered cap with the inevitable pipe in mouth...That Mr. Nuess has made a careful study of American films is plainly evident in A Scream in the Night. Alwin Nuess had in fact preceded John Barrymore twice; Nuess also appearred in the with Emilie Sannon, portraying the title role in Den Skaebnesvagngre Opfindelse (August Blom, 1910), known to readers of British literature as The Strange Case of Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Great Northern Film advertised the film in Moving Picture World, "This artistic and beautiful film admirably illustrates Stevenson's remarkable word renowned story. It is a production of genuine and thrilling interest and will hold every audience spellbound to the very finish. Splendidly enacted and reproduced in magnificient photographic sequence. Season's Biggest Headliner" Without mentioning the director August Blom in its advertisement, it very often billing films by title and synopsis only, it was next to advertise another film directed by August Blom, Necklace of the Dead (Dodes Halsband), "Enacted by Actors of the Royal Theater Copenhagen, a magnificient production of intense thrilling interest." The cast of the film includes Otto Langoni, Rasmussen Otteson and Ingeborg Middlebo Larsen. Moving Picture World carried an advertisement for the Great Northern Film Necklace of the Dead during 1910 claiming it was the "Biggest and Strongest Headliner of the Year, squeezing it into a half page with the films The Christmas Letter and the comedy Dickey's Courtship. During 1910 Great Northern Films also advertised the film The Diamond Swindler, "A detective story of the highest type. Adapted from the Adventures of Harry Taxon, the cleverest pupil of the celebrated Sherlock Holmes. A snappy production which will prove itself popular."
Valdemar Psilander appearred as the fictional detective Otto Berg during 1913 in At the Eleventh Hour (Hven var Forbryderen) with Otto Langoni and Alma Hinding, the film being directed by August Blom. During 1913, Robert Dinesen directed both Otto Langoni and August Blom, together with Agnes Blom, in the mystery horror film, The Man With the Cloak (Manden med Kappen), which uses blue tint to create mood and stmosphere for a double exposure of a ghost-like character, one predating, but reminiscient of, Victor Sjostrom And his use of the device in The Phantom Carriage- the double exposure continues from shot to shot; while the spatio-temporality of the continuity trails behind the two characters in a follow-shot, the camera cuts from interior to exterior to show the progress of both the protagonist and the double-exposed spectre, who then suddenly disappears during the shot as though there had been a stop-motion. In turn, August Blom during that year of 1913 returned behind the camera to direct both Robert Dinesen and Otto Langoni with actress Emma Thomsen in the film The Stolen Treaty (Det Tredie Magt), adapted from a script written by Peter Lykke Seest.
Sherlock Holmes in the Great Murder Mystery, a film produced by Crescent, was reviewed during 1908 as having a plot similar to The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Holmes returning to his study to play violin before proving his client innocent, but overall it seems like the film Miss Sherlock Holmes commanded just as much if not more publicity.There is in fact a film made in Hungary during 1908 and starring Bauman Karoly that is purportedly a synchronized sound film listed as Sherlock Hochmes, which is astonishingly early when compared to the Swedish Biophon synchronized sound film of that year He Who Catches a Crook (Hans som Klara Boven), a film which under the title He Who Takes Care of a Villian, produced by Franz G Wiberg in Kristianstad Sweden, is thought by film historians to be a film that was never released theatrically. More sensational may seem the Hungarian silent filming of Dracula, Dracula's Death (Drakula halala), which is believed to be a lost film of which there are no existant copies. More of a comedy than pastiche, Den firbende Sherlock Holmes udirected by Lau Lauritzen for Nordisk in 1918 and starring Rasmus Christiansen, from its posters would seem to lack mystery, despite its being compared to the films made in the United States by Benjamin Christensen.
The one reel film The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or Held for Ransom directed in the United States by Stuart Blackton in 1905 and drawn from The Sign of Four, is thought to be a lost film. Harry Benham would later play Sherlock Holmes in in the two reeler Sherlock Holmes Solves the Sign of the Four, written and directed in the United States by Lloyd Lonergan. Thanhouser, during 1913 tucked away its advertisement for The Sign of the Four on the same page as its advertisement for the film The Ghost in Uniform as part of their Three-A-Week full page that seems to have relented after its mere brief announcement while Eclair had ran a full page advertisement with oval portraits of Conan Doyle, Longfellow, Poe and Washington Irving claiming that it had acquired the exclusive rights to film the Holmes stories, several of them having been filmed previously in England. The film listed by the Library of Congress as being from 1912 and titled The Stolen Papers, while being listed as being from the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur C. Doyle and having no director was in all probability directed by George Treville, with he himself starring in the role of Holmes. During 1913, Motion Picture World magazine carried an advertisement that read, "There was never but One Sherlock Holmes and that one Originated in the mastermind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who personally supervised the only authorized Sherlock Holmes series of motion pictures on the market. This wonderful series consists of eight complete stories, each featuring the inimitable Sherlock Holmes." The Dead Man's Child was unmistakably a "sensational three reel detective drama", the full page advertisement ran by Great Northern in Moving Picture World Magazine showing stills of the detective Newton "on the trail" and his "daring leap from the bridge", as well as three players in the drama and "Edith in the family vault". It was later that year advertised as "a detective drama that will start them all talking." A second advertisement for the film claimed "The Most Thrilling Detective Drama Ever Staged, a wonderfully exciting film." During 1913 while in the United States a diamond necklace had been the center of The Great Taxicab Mystery, among Nordisk Films that were being shown by Great Northern were The Man in the White Cloak, a "spectral and supernatural interest blend with Heart Throbs and thoroughly human thrills" and A Victim of Intrigue. Motography magazine in 1914 reviewed another Nordisk mystery, "a three-reel detective drama entitled The Charlotte Street Mystery. It is said to contain some novel and startling effects. The story deals with the interesting adventures of an exceptionally clever woman who seeks to elude the law and succeeds in baffling a detective for some time, but is finally captured after several thrilling escapes. The role of the woman is in the hands of Elsie Frolich, the capable Greta Northern leading woman, who gives a very vivid characterization. "In the United States during 1914 The Mystery of the Fatal Pearl with a plot premise reminiscent of The Moonstone was reviewed, of interest to the film detective being the mysteries of the photoplay, the secrets kept by the scenario. "It has been a generally accepted theory that the screen story must be told in chronological order-that events must be shown in a sequence- as opposed to the freedom of relation obtained in literature...there is a departure from the usual custom. The story is told in two sections, the first consisting of three parts, the second of two. The climax is reached at the end of the third part. We are deeply in doubt as to the situation of affairs-it is one that would give occasion for the consumption of many pipefuls of real strong tobbacco on the part of a most competent Sherlock Holmes."
One could begin looking for The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes in the United States with the 1911 film King, the Detective, "introducing the scientific methods of the modern detective and weaving in a love story to maintain the love interest". Denmark and Great Northern during 1910 offered The Diamond Swindler, "This great feature is another of our famous detective stories. It is adapted from the adventures of Henry Taxon, a clever pupil of the celebrated Sherlock Holmes." Great Northern that year also offered the film The Somnambulist, "a well told and thrilling story that will strongly interest any audience." A synopsis was provided when reviewed, the film centering around a museum director that carried off valuable objects of art, bringing them back to his room. "The acting of the principal character is good and gives a good determination of what a person will do under such circumstances." The film was to be of interest to those audiences that had never seen examples of sleepwalking. Great Northern also that year distributed an adventure film titled The Hidden Treasure, the films The Jump to Death, The Duel, and The Captain's Wife, bringing audiences up to the midyear of summer. The film that is most haunting is the The Trunk Mystery- it seems unlisted as a Danish film and as a lost film, as though it disappeared, but there is also no mention of who the director or actor pictured in its advertisement was. There is only a photo of an actor smoking a pipe and wearing a plaid, or checkered, Scolley cap and underneath its the caption "The Trunk Mystery Detective". The advertisement from Great Northern during 1911 reviews the film as "A more thrilling, sensational and intensely interesting detective feature has never been released." while another line reads, "A sensational and intesensely interesting story of impersonation to secure an inheritance. The fraud is brought to light by a clever detective who will win the admiration of every spectator- Get busy at once in getting booking for this big feature." The film was accompanied by the advertisement for "a well acted dramatic production" entitled The Homeless Boy. Moving Picture World described the film as a detective story where a love story ensues, "The hiding of the man in the trunk is not novel. It is the keeping him alive after he has been hidden there that introduces a new element in a common enough story." Great Northern at the time had named itself "the 'king pin' of quality films". In Denmark, Valdemar Psilander portrayed the detective Otto Berg during 1913 in the film At the Eleventh Hour (Hvem Var Forbryderen, directed by August Blom. Fictional detective Donald Brice, courtesy of Selig Polyscope in the United States, appeared in the two reel The Cipher Message during 1913. Motography magazine, whom provided an at length synopsis, wrote, "It must not be assumed that the detective tale is one of lurid or sensational type for such is far fromn being the case. The detective hero of the drama is a deliberate, methodical sort of chap, who goes steadily about solving the mystery without any bloodshed or pistol practice." In the film Brice outspeeds a locomotive in his automobile in an attempt to recover a stolen necklace. In the United States, Edison during 1913 ran a full page adverstisement for The Mystery of West Sedgwick with the announcement that there now would be "a two reel Edison feature released every Friday." During 1914, Edison featured Octavius the Amateur Detective, in The Adventure of the Actress' Jewels. It was not only a year in which Betty Harte in the United States was appearing in The Mystery of the Poison Pool, or Who Stole the Kimberley Diamond, but also during which appeared the heavily advertised The Million Dollar Mystery, filmed by Thanhauser Film Corporation as a serial of 42 reels in length and starring Florence la Badie and Marguerite Snow as Countess Olga.Cleek of Scotland Yard, filmed by Edison is certainly a lost film, of which there are no existant copies, but the film was part of a series entitled Chronicles of Cleek, therefore not all the films are necessarily lost, one installment having been titled The Mystery of the Octagonal Room. The Eclipse-Urban Film Company in the United States that year had introduced the fictional detective Barnet Parker in The Mystery of Green Park from a series of "dramas of unusual interest and mystery after the famous novel by Arnold Galopin" while Apex Film that year advertised the film The Dare-Devil Detective along with the mysteries The Devil's Eye, The Secret Seven and The Clue of the Scarab. Feature Photoplay that year took out a full page ad for the film The Mysterious Mr. Wu Chung Foo. And yet as popular as the serial, cliffhanger if you will, had become, the multi-reel film was beginning to come into its own in regard to literary adaptation; during the following year Thomas A Edison produced Vanity Fair, directed by Eugene Norland with a running time of 72 minutes, Shirley Mason having starred as Becky Sharp. Still, Kalem would have an interesting entry during 1915, The False Clue, "A certain star of the legitimate stage, famous for his work in detective dramas, registered at the Hotel, San Fransisco. That night the actor reported the theft of his wife's rings and declared his determination to capture the thief by psychological deduction. It never occurred to this man that someday his adventures would be made the basis of a Photoplay! This is just what happened and the story as told to Kalem by hotel officials." One of the most intriguing Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, The Mystery of Orcival (1916, MacDonald), a three reel film from Biograph, was advertised as "Perhaps the most celebrated of all detective mysteries- Emile Gaboriau's masterpiece." Motion Picture World reviewed the photoplay, "When the Biograph scenario editor came to adapting Emile Gaboriau's novel he encountered an over abundance of plot material for a three part picture and had the difficult task of making the story reasonably complete and at the same time clear. Altogether he succeeded very well by using the topsy turvy method of construction popular with writers of mystery tales...Gretchen Hartman plays a countess who poisons her husband and soon tastes the bitterness of disillusionment in her love for the man who inspired the crime."
|During 1914, The Great Northern Special Feature Film Company advertised, "The Must Baffling Mystery Ever Filmed", By Whose Hand? which promised "Interest and Thrills from Beginning to End". The Great Northern Film Company released "Preferred Feature Attractions". Nordisk Film decidedly advertised the film The Stolen Treaty in 1913, and Great Northern that year distributed the silent film The Stolen Secret (three reels); Great Northern in fact ran more than a dozen full page advertisements accompanied by numerous one or two inch "coming attraction" notices for Nordisk films during 1913 in the magazine Motion Picture World. The Stolent Treaty was advertised as "A Photo Drama that Deals with Dramatic Intrigue and Interational Plotting. In three parts, with 90 Powerful and Thrilling Scenes." Great Northern also included a full page for Theresa the Adventuress, "a startling feature photodrama in three parts having in it a strong blending of detective cleverness and criminal cunning; a thrilling and gripping dramatic subject with a tremendous final scene; a sensational feature throughout; how fate overtakes the transgression." That year it also announced the film The White Ghost (Den Hivide Dame, 1913) directed by Holger-Madsen and starring Rita Sacchetto. The cameraman to the film had been Maurius Clausen, who with Holger Madsen was particularly noted for continuing the lighting effects that were singular to early Danish Silent Film. Although Ingvald Oes, the director of Great Northern was quoted as having said that three fourths of the films shown in Scandinavia were filmed in the United States, despite whether his film had been widely seen in the United States as a Great Northern Film Company silent film, Forest Holger Madsen not only directed The White Ghost that year, but also directed the films The Mechanical Saw and During the Plauge (Men's Pesten raster) or Nordisk Film. Actress Rita Sacchetto also that year appeared in the film The Gambler's Wife (Fran Fyrste till Knejpevart) under the direction of Holger-Madsen. It was a year that Danish audiences were present while Vilhelm Gluckstadt brought the film The Black Music Hall (Ven Sorte Variete), starring Gudrun Houlberg to the screen. Author Anne Bachman explains the contriving of a metafilm while describing the film The Woman Who Tempted Me (Holger Madsen, 1916) a mystery, "set during a film and features a murder which the film diva realizes is inspired by the detail of the plot of a film-in-the-film. The film-in-the-film provokes the murder's confession when screened in the courtroom in is thus the title's feels ends (redeeming) film for the innocent suspect. in this way the film's diva's inside knowledge of film production solves the mystery. " The photoplay to the film was scripted by Marius Clausen. Ebba Thomsen stars as the silent film actress. Anne Bachman contrasts the use of location shooting in Sweden to the Danish technique, method, perhaps, of filming, "The Danish film industry's predominant reliance on artificial sets was in particular Nordisk's recipe for success: Nordisk used their studio in Valby for both in and outdoor shots and had an extensive array of backgrounds ('master') for outdoors. " |
As Nordisk Films was waiting for its brief, although high-gear history to slide over the the precipice of the Great War, Thanhouser during 1917 went directly to the novel by Wilkie Collins, filming The Woman in White (Ernest C. Warde) with Florence LaBadie playing the dual role of Laura Fairlie and Ann Catherine in a film particularly noted for its lighting effects. Thanhouser, as a film studio would shortly thereafter fold its production and the film star, LaBadie would unexpectedly die in an automobile accident. Author Ron Mottram recently published the article The Great Northern Film Company: Nordisk Film in the American Motion Picture Market, out lining the transactions between Ole Olsen and Oes, president of Great Northern, that transpired between 1908-1917. Olsen had originally agreed to send more than one hundred silent films to the United States. During 1913, Great Northern advertising in the United States promised, "One Feature Every Week Hereafter, All of Incomparable Superiority." During a week in 1913 when Motion Picture World had also visited the studios of Famous Players, Motion Picture World chronicled Ivan C Ocs and The Great Northern Film Company having moved into a new office in the United States, "The feat was accomplished on Saturday last and was marked by no more serious incident than the breaking of a couple inkwell covers....we may expect to have flashlight photo of the new offices and a description of the interior of the new home of the 'Polar Bear' brand moving pictures." The Great Northern Special Feature Film Co. That week placed an advertisement that week in the magazine for the coming film "The Grain Speculator", one without photographs or the names of its cast. 143 fiction films were filmed by Nordisk Film during 1914 according to the present company, one that as its continuous existence reached into the 21st century had celebrated 100 years of filmmaking in its present location, Valby, Denmark. Olsen took the position of managing director of Nordisk in 1911, a I'm year during which Denmark had become the first country to make multi-reel films, bringing the running-time up to three quarters of an hour. It was for Nordisk Films Kompani that year that August Blom had directed Asta Neilsen in the film The Ballet Dancer (Balletdanserinden)., she would return to Denmark to make the film Toward the Light (Mod Lyset) for Nordisk Film in 1919. Olsen had in fact entertained the view that the demand for film exceeded its production rate, which led him to export. Olsen required that alternative endings be fimed so that fims could be sent to foreign audiences, one of these being a different ending of August Blom's film Atlantis (1913) and another being Holger-Madsen's film Evangeliemanders Liv, the ending of both films having been changed suit Russian audiences. Ron Mottram writes that specifically, there were two films, His Most Difficult Part (Hans Vanskeligeste Rolle, 1912) and Paradise Lost (Bristet Lykke, 1913), for which two endings were filmed and sent to Oes, who had written that censorship had plight edx the business of distributing Great Northern Films in the United States, and Olsen designated that it would be for him to decide which version would be screened, the dramatic effect of one ending weighed against a happier one. Ole Olsen had appeared as an actor in the film Isbjornejagt, directed in 1907 by Viggo Larsen- Professor Ib Bondebjerg, University of Denmark, recently noted that as many as five hundred and sixty films were produced by Nordisk Film between 1907-1910. While briefly summarizing the history of Danish Silent Film, Professor Bondebjerg has attributed Gad's film The Abyss with not only being a steeping stone for Asta Nielsen's career, but as having "formed the basis of the golden age of Danish Silent Film", although it is not infrequent that Bondebjerg interestingly places Dreyer's Danish silent film, beginning with The President, belonging separate from the films of Nordisk and establishing a cinema of passion, "films that follow both some of the standards of classical Filmaking and at the same time in their expressive style and use of miss en scene, space, lighting and facial expressions refine and transcend the norms of classical cinema and style." Undoubtedly, classical narrative has gone from its brief period of newsreel like short films photographed by Peter Elfelt and Ole Olsen's first film, which lasted two minutes on the screen to more sensational films lasting between 10-15 minutes, much like they had in other international cinemas: Ole Olsen in 1911 would adapt the multi-reel film to a running length of 45 minutes only after purportedly having been given the idea from Fotorama and a year earlier having copied the script treatment of one of their first multi-reel films. The film The Little Hornblowing (Den Lille horn laser) produced in Arhaus by Fotorama, directed by Eduard Schnedler-Sorensen during 1909, had had a running length on screen of approximately up to 20 minutes.
David Bordwell sees the second decade of the twentieth century as one where Danish filmmakers produced both classic masterpieces and excitement packed melodrama, but in any event, film had emerged from mere photodocumentary and travel films to photoplays within a very brief interval- while pointing to Ron Mottram's observation that Danish director's used mirrors to create spatial depth,Bordwell adds that author Kristin Thompsen views the use of mirror to convey the spatial depth of the scene as inextricable from narrative technique. Bordwell when writing on The Cinematic Text and poetics likens stylistic and narrative devices when contrasting them to systems, such as spatial continuity or narrative causality. Author Yuri Tsivan is specific when describing the director August Blom's 1911 film Ved Farenglets Port and a mirror that intercepts the gendered gaze of a female who the spectator can view, but not the male character in the interplay of her entrance, or theatrical blocking and a doorway used in the scene.
While advancing that Afgrunden was the most influential early Danish silent film by virtue of its subject matter and it's treatment of sexuality onscreen, author Ron Mottram tersely describes its link the chronology of the period,"After the making of Afgrunden, Kosmorama soon went out of business and it's managing director, Hjalmar Davidsen, was soon hired by Olsen." It has been written that Asta Nielsen was one of the first actresses to have commodified sexuality, endorsements for products soon appearing under her name, the spectator entering into a relation of purchasing the sexually desired on screen subject and that subject positioned in order to delineate the view of the male viewer to the look of the female glance. In his volume Scandinavian Film, Forsythe Hardy writes about the film The Abyss, "It was an immediate success and audiences everywhere responded to the sensitive, expressive style of acting which contrasted sharply with the grimacing antics of her contemporaries. Even as a girl, we are told, her face was already a tragic mask." Astrid Soderberg Widding has remarked upon the film, "It contained some innovative devices, for example the lack of intertitles, but achieved its reputation mainly as an erotic film with a touch of dark fatalism." Danish screenwriter Harriet Bloch years later explained that it had been the film "The Abyss" that had compelled her to write for the movies. Bloch, who wrote for Nordisk Films between 1911-1920 was purportedly Ole Olsen's favorite screenwriter, although, admittedly, they had never met.
The actress Asta Nielsen also during 1911 appeared with Valdemar Psilander in The Black Dream (Dem Sorte Drom), thought to be remarkable for the the use of silhouette, by Asta Neilsen's husband, Peter Urban Gad, the film's director. Even more startling to audiences that year was the Norwegian silent The Demon (Daemonen), directed by Jens Christian Gunderson, a film that quickly followed the subject matter of Nielsen's film The Abyss by including erotic dances between Per Krough and actress Carla Rasmussen. Photographed by Alfred Lind and starring Ellen Tenger, the film was almost responsible for an early rating system that would allow only adults into theaters. In Denmark, Urban Gad also directed actresses Emilie Sannom and Ellen Kornbeck, among the film's Gad directed for Nordisk Films in 1911 having been "When Passion Blinds Honest" ("Dyrekobt Glimmer") in which both actresses appeared with Johannesburg Poulsen, Otto Langoni and Elna From, "An Aviator's Generosity" ("Den Store Flyver", 3 reels) which, photographed by Axel Graatkjaer, starred Christel Holck with Einar Zangenberg, and "Gennom Kamp Fil Sejv" written by Harriet Bloch and starring Edith Bremann Psilander with Augusta Blad.
During 1912, an entire page of Moving Picture World magazine was devoted to the review of Gypsy Blood, "The First of a Series of Feature Films in which Miss Asta Nielsen appears. It in detail provides a synopsis to the film and on the opposite page there was a portrait of the actress with the caption "Miss Asta Nielsen Supreme Dramatic Artists 'Asta Nielsen Features'". The magazine briefly noted that they had reviewed her earlier- later that year there were advertisements for The Traitoress, "a Stupendous Military Drama". Great Northern during her absence from Denmark advertised the film Those Eyes, "a strong dramatic story enacted with an intensity which gives to every scene a semblence of reality. One of the most powerful stories which could be chosen for a moving picture drama." it adding that it was a Novel and Thrilling Drama full of Spirited Action". In Denmark, the film had been seen as Inbruddet Hos Skuespillerinden, directed by Eduard-Scnedler-Sorensen and starring Edith Psilander." The Great Northern Film Company that year also advertised Painter and Peasant, "a clever love story" and How to Make a Reputation, "a clever subject in which an artist 'dies' in order to live'. Great Northern also advertised the films Revenge is Blind, "a Splendid Dramtic Production and A Dream of Death, "a story certain to attract considerable attention." In the United States Asta Nielsen Features in 1912, after releasing Gypsy Blood and the Traitoress, announced in Motion Picture Magazine "Our next release featuring the 'German Bernhardt', The Course of True Love.
It seems odd that Nordisk Films would be shown in the United States as Great Northern Films, but during 1912 Great Northern advertised the film "Love is Blind" as "A powerful drama, vividly portrayed containing many thrilling situations. See the sensational duel in the dark". The film "Kaerlighed gov blind" was scheduled to be filmed in Denmark that year by August Blom, although little information is available regarding the production.
| Before her having appeared in several films directed by August Blom, exceptionally pretty Danish film actress Ebba Thomsen first appeared on the screen under the direction of Robert Dinesen in two films, When Bacchus Reigns (Den glade Lojtnant) and Lystrallan. Ebba Thomsen was brought to the screen by director Robert Dinesen for two films during 1913, Under the Lighthouse Beam (Under Blinkfyrets Straaler/Out on the Deep) and Dovstymmelegatet. |
In the United States, it was unavoidable noticing that Ebba Thomsen was appearing in several films carrying full page magazine avertisements from Great Northern, one having been The Bank Run, another The Airship Fugatives in which she starred with Valdemar Psilander. This is indicative of how A Shot in the Dark, in which she was again paired with Psilander was reviewed, "This a dramatic offering has an appealing touch and in it are seen Miss Thompsen and Mr. Psilander in roles which are entirely suited to their personalities." Robert Dinsen directed Ebba Thomssn in the 1914 film Cupid's Devious Ways (Amor pa Krogveje).
|Betty Nansen, before leaving Denmark to film in the United States, made two films advertised heavily in the United States as being from The Great Northern Film Company during 1913, A Paradise Lost (Bristet Lykke, August Blom) and Princess Elena (The Princesses' Dilema, Holger Madsen, her being introduced in the latter with "featuring the distinguished tragedienne Miss Betty Nansen in the title role." Not only was Paradise Lost advertised in the United States, it was fictionalized- early film magazines during the silent era centered less on the lives of the stars and more on the stories of the films themselves, many having been adaptations, the narrative of the film in magazine form serving the purpose of a short story. Illustrated Films Monthly published four pages of fiction, A Paradise Lost-Nordisk Film- feI'm aturing Betty Nansen, in chapters, a photograph inhabiting three quarters of a page being included with the paragraphs that concluded the story. Later during 1913 it added, "Miss Betty Nansen, the great Danish tragedienne, is now to be seen in a film entitled A Paradise Lost. This is her first appearance before the camera for cinema purposes; and her acting, her facial expressions, are perfect. One may realize a little of her talents when it is recalled that her performances on the legitimate stage called forth the highest praise from Ibsen and Bjornsen. 'Nansen' films prove equally as popular as the 'Nielsen' films." Author Ron Mottram points to "an unusual plot twist involving the husband's death" in the film By Love's Mercy/Was She Justified (Elskova Naade/Af Elskous Naade) in which Betty Nansen starred under the direction of August Blom during 1914. |
In Great Britain, the London weekly Pictures and the Picturegoer ran advertisements during 1915 Nordisk Exlclusives, one of which read, "Don't on any account fail to see charming Betty Nansen in the marvellous four part drama A Revolution Marriage. This wonderful picture is a dramatic and photographic masterpiece. It cannot fail to thrill you through and through with sheer delight." During 1915 Motion Picture News printed "Great Northern Brings Out Betty Nansen Subject", which ran, "The vast number of admirers of Betty Nansen are afforded an unusual treat in seeing this star in a masterwork produced by the Great Northern Film Company entitled A Revolutionary Wedding by the famous Danish author Sophus Michaelis, which under the title A Son of the People had a long successful run. With the superb acting of Betty Nansen as Alaine de l'Etiole...the rich and beautiful settings of the Great Northern Film Company, the production is justly meriting the enthusiasm of all who view." Great Northern advertised the film as The Heart of Lady Alaine, "The new four part Betty Nansen photoplay has been unanimously proclaimed by critics to be a supreme accomplishment. It is genuinely perfect in every respect. The exquisite interiors, magnificent exteriors, unexcelled acting, strong and fascinating story challenge comparision." While Betty Nansen was starring in a version of Tolstoy's novel Resurrection filmed in the United States directed by J. Gordon Edwards, Ebba Thomsen was starring in a version of the same novel, En Opstandelse, directed in Denmark by Holger-Madsen. The first filming of the novel, Opstandelse filmed by Nordisk had been produced by Ole Olsen in 1907 and had starred Viggo Larsen. Robert Dinesen during 1913 brought Ellen Aggerholm to the screen with Lili Beck in the film The Last of the Old Mill (Dramet iden Gamle Molle). Moving Picture World magazine during 1913 reported, "One of the latest additions to the Great Northern acting forces is Ellen Aggerholm, a talented young actress who has won fame for herself along the lines of versatility. She has played many important parts in her profession...Her father is a prominent artist in Norway and the Great Northern Company is having prepared a splendid on sheet poster of the woman in a characteristic pose." Aggerholm appeared under the direction of Eduard Schnedler-Sorensen in the 1912 film A Drama on the Ocean (Dodsangstens makespil) and in the 1913 film Nelly's Forlovelse, in which she played the title character. During 1913 Great Northern found acknowledgement of its trade name as having commercial value with its advertisement of In the Bonds of Passion, "A sterling feature abounding in thrilling dramatic situations entwining a tale heart interest out of the ordinary. An unusual feature with an unusual theme and cast."; and yet in the United States the cast itself could still occasionally remain unidentified. The half page add for the 1913 film Lost Memory or At the Mercy of Fate, "our latest non pareil feature" after claiming that in the film "Thrills and Heart Interest Are cleverly intertwined in this out of the ordinary production" it below listed four seperate scenes, "Storm in the Forest", "Rescue by Gypsies", Lightning Works Havoc" and "Wild ride on train top". Lithographed sheets and "exceptionally large photos" were offered for lobby display.
Great Northern utilized a full page advertisement during 1916 to announce it had the release of the First Complete Episode of a "series" or "Chapter Play", The Man With the Missing Finger with actor Alfred Hertel in the installment The Tragedy in the Villa Falcon A Detective Story of Unusual Enthralling Interest and Baffling Mystery. Nordisk Film was often screened and reviewed in London. Pictures and the Picturegoer ran an add for the first film of the two, The Mystery of the Villa Falcon with the exhortation, "Enquire at your favourite cinema when the will be show The Man With the Missing Finger No. 1. This great picture is the first of the wonderfully thrilling new Nordisk Detective Dramas." adding a second ad for The Man with the Missing Finger No. 2, The Mystery of the Midnight Express. "Full of thrilling, exciting, absorbing, heart-throbbing interest." The British publication followed with ads for The Cigarette Maker, "full of absorbing, heart-throbbing interest". It also that year claimed, "You must see From Forge to Footlights, this great Nordisk Drama will keep you a throb with tense eager excitement from start to finish. Ask the manager when it is coming. Then- see it." One thing characteristic about Nordisk Films, already recognized for their enthusiasm toward exporting films abroad, is their not being entirely reluctant to film sequels and yet there seems to be no Danish listing with the Danish Film Institute for the second film of The Man with the Missing Finger. "The Stolen Invention", written and directed by A.W. Sandberg appears as "Manden med de nl Fingre III", filmed in 1916, and as with the two films to follow, "Mysteriet I Citybanken" or "Manden med de nl Fingre IV", filmed in 1916, and "Manden med de nl Fingre V", filmed in 1917, the film's star Aage Hertel and Henry Seemen as the two lead characters, the difference being that Sandberg had changed cameramen and the films were photographed by Karl Storm Petersen.
1917 was invested with a review for a new Sherlock Holmes film, "Sherlock Holmes again makes his appearance in the latest A. Conan Doyle's detective story The Valley of Fear...Sir A, Conan Doyle, the author, displayed the keenest interest in the scenario, and personally gave his attention to the cast and brought forth the Sherlock Holmes as he pictures and understands him to be." Howver accurate or misleading, Motography magazine, "the motion picture trade journal", announced Conan Doyle Writes Scenario. Reviewing The Valley of Fear, it wrote "The film, a six reel feature, like the story is full of action, mystery and deductions, and holds the audience tense from beginning to end. Sir A. Conan Doyle, the author, personally gave his attention to the cast." Whether the credit to the film's director Alexander Butler can be disputed or not, there are no existing copies of the seven reel film "Valley of Fear" starring H.A Saintsbury as Sherlock Holmes and Booth Conway as Professor Moriarity, and to entertain the inductive reasoning that uses the premise that The Final Problem was the only Adventure in which the character of Moriarty appears, then Sherlockians can only consult Lost printed material, like magazines, to reconstruct the encounter between Holmes and Moriarty that took place during 1917.
If only a footnote, Vitagraph in 1917 had brought the novel Arsen Lupin (Paul Scardon, five reels) to the screen with Earle Williams as the titular character; a year earlier George Loan Tucker had filmed a British rendering of the drama; far from being a footnote is the fact that there no existing print of what seems to be the first feature filming of Doyle's armchair detective, A Study in Scarlet, directed by George Pearson in 1914 being among one of the most sought after films listed as missing by the British Film Institute. Whether it's existence after more than a century is credible, or whether the film has eroded and the like hood of its being found only marginal, The Liverpool Film Office has recently expressed a desire in finding the derive story, reason being that it was shot partly in Southport, and Southport Seas was employed to substitute for the Mormon areas of Utah, it's other scenes having been filmed in Worton hall Studios using a non-actor, James Braginton in his only onscreen performance. Less of being a footnote, if found as reviewed in magazines as The Valley of Fear, the film by that name, the second film with Sherlock Holmes directed by George Pearson is also lost, there being at present no known existing copies known to the British Film Institute. There had been two film adaptations of "A Study in Scarlet" filmed during 1914, the other in which its director, Frances Ford, had appeared on screen in the role of Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the Strand Magazine, which published original detective fiction, the British periodical Pictures and the Picturegoer concerned itself with the cinema, and like pre-war magazines from the United States predated fan magazines by including novelizations of Photoplays, the book in fact after the film rather than the film from the novel: during 1916 it serialized the story "Ultus, the Man from the Dead", a tale of revenge "adapted from the sensational Gaumont exclusive by Alec J. Braid. The film, "Ultus, Man from the Dead", written and directed by George Pearson in 1915, is not lost in its entirety as an incomplete print still exists, but In regard to Lost Films, Found Magazines, add to the fragment four pages of magazine fiction published before the three sequels filmed by Pearson were made. The chapters read Prolouge, The False Friend; The Vengence of Ultus; and The Crime Investigator, each accordingly with still photographs from the Photoplay. All four film's star actor Aurele Sidney. The first was six reels and costar a Marjorie Dunbar. "Ultus and the Grey Lady" and "Ultus and the Secret of the Night" both were filmed by Pearson in 1916 and both include actress Mary Dibley. The last film of the series was "Ultus and the Three Button Mystery". ("Ultus and The Cabinet Minister's Overcoat",1917), in which Pearson paired Aurele Sidney with actresses Manora Thew and Alice De Winter.
W. Scott Darling, a favorite of the present author, was certainly writing mystery scripts in Hollywood during 1920, his scenario to 813 (Scott Sidney-Charles Christie), based on an Arsene Lupin story written by Maurice Leblanc, was reviewed under the title Mystery Novel Loses interest In Screen Adaptation. It purportedly lost "some of its excitement and suspense in the pictorization...There is a morbid element to the tale which becomes unneccesarily vivid in the picture form." Apparently, "Lupin falls in love with Delores Castlebank, widow of the murdered man." At the bottom of the page, the magazine offerred a "box office analysis for the exhibitor" with "The Name of Arsene Lupin and A Promise of Mystery, Your Best Bets" and prompted, "If you want a catchline, this will do: Added, subtracted, divided, the mysterious numbers gave the answer 813. What does it mean?" Perplexing to the readers of the present author is that. although there is no reason to qualify the film as being "lost" the fact that the title of the film is a number, 813 makes it missing from catalogues of film that are not lost as well as those that are.
Sherlock Holmes as an Ordinary Vicar, Danish Silent Filmmakers Viggo Larsen and August BlomWere I a projectionist in Denmark, due to the scarcity of early film available today and how seminal early Danish silent film may be to the study of the origins of the mystery and detective film, I would enthusiasticly arrange a screening of the silent film Dr Nicholson and the Blue Diamond (Dr. Nicholson og den blaa Diamant, starring Edith Psilander, recently donated by the Danish Film Institute for public internet screening. What seems remarkable about the film is its running time, which is an hour. During 1910, Great Northern advertised the "Magnificent Feature Production, The Season's Biggest Hit", The Mystery of the Lama Convent or Dr. Nicola in Tibet. It was reviewed in Moving Picture World, "Dr. Nicola, a man of great determination who knows no obstacles in his desire to intrude into the secrets of nature has made up his mind to discover, and make known to the world what is hidden behind the walls of the Lama Monastery."
During 1909, the Sherlock Holmes film "The Gray Dame" seemed part of double feature, in that the half- page advertisement by Great Northern only afforded half the advertisement in regard to space and that week the other feature also listed had been "How Dr. Nicola Procured the Chinese Cane"
All three films made in Denmark during 1909 featuring August Blom in the title role of Dr. Nikola were directed by Viggo Larsen. Blom was responsible in part for all three screenplays, the series beginning with "Dr. Nikola I" ("Den skule Skat"), followed by "Dr. Nikola II" ("Hvoriedes Dr. Nikola erhvervede den kinesiske Stoek"), starring Maggi Zinn and "Dr. Nikola III" ("Lamaklosterets Hemmeligheder"), starring Aage Brandt. Among the early danish narrative films of Viggo Larsen were The Black Mask (Den Sorte Maske (1906), Revenge (1906), Anarkistens svigermor (1907), with actress Margrethe Jespersen, The Lion Hunt (Lovejaten (1906), The Bankruptcy (Falliten, 1907), Mordet para fyn (1907) and, The Magic Bed (Tryllesaekken (1907); it is thought that Viggo Larsen was quite possibly the first director to cut from one long shot of a scene to its reverse angle, a long shot of the scene from an opposite angle during the film The Robber's Sweetie (Rovens Brod, 1907), starring Clara Nebelong. Clara Neblong has also been listed as appearing in the 1907 film Vikngeblod, directed by Larsen and photographed by Axel Sorenson, in "Rocco Times" ("Rosen"), also directed by Viggo Larsen and photographed by Axel Sorensen during 1907 and in with actress Oda Alstrup in the film "Fyrtojet", directed by Laren and photographed by Sorenson in 1907.
Viggo Larsen directed and starred in the 1910 film Konflikter (Dodsspringet) with Edith Buemann Psilander and Sofus Wonder, the cinematographer to the film Axel Graatkjaer Sorensen.
In 1907, actress Oda Astrup was directed by Viggo Larsen and photographed by Axel Graatkjaer Sorensen for Nordisk Films in Camille (Kameliadamen), Den glade Enke, Trilby (Little Trilby) and in Aeren Tabt-alt tabt and Handen (Haanden), both of which she starred in with Thora Nathansen. Viggo Larsen in 1908 directed actress Lili Jansen in several films photographed by Axel Graatkjaer Sorensen, including Lille Hanne, Peters Held, Urmagerns Bryllup and The School of Life (Gennom Livets Skole), which had also starred Thora Nathansen. Viggo Larsen also that year directed Mathiade Nielsen and Ptrine Sonne in the film Capricious Moment (Capriciosa). During 1908 Larsen also directed and appeared in the film "The Will/Testemant", photographed by Axel Sorensen. The film "The Artist's Model's Sweetheart" ("Den Rumersk Model") is among the films credited to Nordisk Film and produced by Ole Olsen during 1908; the film is presumed lost and its director unidentified.
As usual, when Nordisk Film advertised in the United States it would omit or neglect not only the names of the films' directors, but quite often, although not inordinately, those of the films stars. What it did mention during 1909 was that the film "The Brave Page Boy" was a "Historic Dramatic Production of Merit, Artistically Colored". The film was tinted and its genre was a costume drama; it was shown in Denmark during 1908 as "Falkedrengen" starring Petrine Sonne and Elith Pio- produced by Ole Olsen, directed by Viggo Larsen and photographed by Axel Graatkjaer Sorensen and it is a lost film of which there are no copies presumed to exist.
Nordisk Film during 1909 took out a full page advertisement for the film The Red Domino proclaiming it was "a high class production. Artistically tinted and colored throughout" and that it was its length was 900 ft. Motion Picture World provided a synopsis review of the film without attributing its director or actress. it read, "The countess X receives during a party a young man who brings her a message who she believed to be in exile asking her to come and see him the same evening in order to arrange with him how they can revenge themselves on their mutual enemy, the prince." In Denmark, the film was known as Grevinde X, directed by Viggo Larsen, who appeared in the film as well, it also starring August Blom and Gudrun Kjerulf. Great Northern in the United States has advertised previous tinted film, there having been "Neptune's Daughter" earlier during 1909, which claimed to be "beautifully colored and tinted" and "The Farmer's Grandson", "Beautifully toned and double-tinted", it making note that "we are the originator's of this new method of tinting which has proved a pronounced success throughout the world." Viggo Larsen had directed nearly a dozen films during the year 1909, including "Syndens Sold" and "Child as Benefactor" (Barnet som Velgorer) and yet several are listed by the Danish Film Institute as having an unattributed director as Larsen, if the director, had also starred in front of the camera as actor in the films, much as Swedish Silent film director Victor Sjostrom later would.
Interstingly, Julius Jaenzon had filmed The Dangers of a Fisherman's Life, An Ocean Drama (Fiskarliv ets farer et Drama paa havet as an early Norwegian silent film under the direction of Hugo Hermansen. Salsvinnapolttajet (The Moonshiners, directed in Finland during 1907 by Teuro Puro and Louis Sparre, is presently considered a lost film. The photographer is listed as having been Frans Engstrom. Interestingly enough, author Marguerite Engberg writes that photoplay dramatists were instructed to limit the use of inter-titles and thereby depict narrative as visual whenever possible. To parallel this, a steady number of guides on creative writing that can be found in the category of Photodrama or photodramatist appeared in the United State between 1912 and 1920, whether or not many seem more lurid than the films themselves- to arbitrarily look at them, to find a sense of meaning as to what early photo-drama plot was, there is Photodrama: the philosophy of its principles, the nature of its plot, its dramatic construction, from 1914, written by Henry Albert Phillips. It contains a chapter on Visualization: "Visualized action takes first and foremost place in the photoplay; all other matters are harmonious trappings and devices or illusion that decorate creaking machines with esthetic realities. Inserted matter, unless artisticlly used, becomes theatric instead of dramatic. The volume continues on to examine subjects like how characterization in the short story and photoplay differ and how there is a necessity within plot to create an "obstacle", the author striving to "analyze photo-drama, to embody it as a new and complete for of drama-literary art." Author Anna Strauss is of great assistance when writing about this, "In Nordisk, writers were instructed to compose 'simple stories, which were easily understood not only in Denmark, but everywhere', 'to use as few intertitles as possible' instead telling the story 'by means of the pictures shown.'" Her article includes that Nordisk films were rewritten with their endings shot twice for view in particular foriegn theaters, Strauus referring to the author Casper Tyberg in claiming that the changing of the films ending to an unhappy one was idiosyncratic to Ole Olsen and his view of exportation, or if you will, exploitation.
The Danish Marguerite Engberg author sees a shift in Danish filmmaking during 1910 to a more sensational film with the work of August Blom (The Temptations of the Great City, Ved Faengslets Port, 1911;The Price of Beauty, Den Farliiege Alder, 1911), a shift that brought the subject of the camera from historical costume films to the more exciting modern period. With multi-reel films of longer running length, Fotorama, Kosmorama and Nordisk Film Kompagni added to film the erotic melodrama. Engberg notes that not only did early Danish cinema popularize the detective and mystery, it also addressed sex, "The woman of the erotic melodrama is as a rule an active partner in the lover story. It is often she who makes the decisions, she who is the sexually active one." She credits as August Blom creating the vamp with his The Vampire Dancer (Vampyrrdanserinden (1911) and she does in fact claim that chronologically, Vampyren (The Vampire, 1912), directed by Mauritz Stiller was a direct result of its influence. When showing a portrait of actress Ebba Thompsen in a full page advetisement in the United States, Great Northern had described its film The Temptations of the Great City as "An Absorbing Problem Photoplay in Four Stirring Acts." To begin 1910, the Great Northern Film Company had begun advertising "Quality Films", it providing a still from the film Vengence or The Forester's Sacrifice. A full page advertisement promised "One Quality Only- The Best" with the films Child as Benefactor and Death of the Brigand Chief, to which it shortly after added "a stirring dramatic production", Anarchist on Board. Its poster was described by Moving Picture World as "original and attractive", it not only including a still which there was depicted the discovery of a bomb and "type large enough to be read in the lobby", but also having a synopsis describing the plot of the film. It again lavished praise on Great Northern for its posters that year while looking at the film Madame Sans Gene, which was accompanied with "a gorgeous poster for this subject in which all the colors of the spectrum are utilized to produce a harmonious and rich effect, never before seen in a show poster." Great Northern that year urged exhibitors to "Ask for lithographs and large size descriptive posters" It exhorted, "The Great Northern Film is a film make by which others are judged." It continued in 1910 with Never Despair or From Misery to Happiness, reviewed with a plot synopsis and plot synopsis only, as was Ruined by His Son, "a realistic feature production of high standard". Doctor's Sacrifice, "a cleverly presented story of modern life. Photographic excellence superb", and A Father's Grief, "a powerful story of intense interest, splendidly enacted and superbly reproduced" were to follow. It was reported that "The Great Northern's new 'Time Table' is a neat trade bulletin, illustrated and printed in colors, containing much interesting news pertaining to the company's films of both past and future releases, Copies are sent to exhibitors free upon request."
During 1910 Great Northern introduced audiences in the United States to the films "The Captain's Wife", a realistic and thrilling dramatic production, "The Sons of the Minister", a feature film of heart interest and "Lifeboat", illustrating the interesting maneuvers of a life-saving station's crew. Again, Viggo Larsen had gone unattributed as director; he had filmed "The Sons of the Minister" during 1909 under the title "Praestens Sonner" with the photographer Axel Graatkjaer Sorensen.
As the directors and leading players often went identified in the magazine advertisements ran in the United States, Moving Picture World used a scene from The King's Favorite for one of its covers, the paid advertisement in that particular issue claiming that it was a work of art that will tickle the palmate of all film connoisseurs." The following year, 1912, it featured an unidentified actor an actress in a scene from the film King's Power on one of its cover. Breaking from form, during 1913 it feature a portrait of "V.Psilander, Leading Man, Great Northern Player. Nordisk films were often given audiences in London, the company having an office in Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road. The Mystery of the Corner House was given a full page of synopsis during 1913 given a full page synopsis in Cinema News and Property Gazette, and a there was a full page advertisement to "our latest feature , A Harvest of Tarres. During 1915, Pictures and the Picturegoer not only ran an advertisement for A Woman With A Past, but it published the narrative in short story form, "adapted from the Nordisk Film by Claude Wilson...This sensational Nordisk three-reeler with it unusually interesting story is quite fascinating to watch." It feature a still from the film of Ebba Thomsen. Its next installment was a 'serialization', or pehaps 'fictitionalization', of The Sins of The Great City, "adapted from the Nordisk Film by Headly Bridge." It is well worth quoting not only as an example of how silent film Photoplays were transposed into short stories for magazines, but to illustrate the melodramatic quality of Danish silent films, "There stood Daphne, a look of utteranle misery on her beautiful face. Her hand was raised to her head, and in it, it's cold muzzle pressed firmly to her temple, the revolver. Seaton's whispered 'Daphne' reached her ears. She turned- saw in his face nothing but love and remorse for his hasty judgement- and with a glad cry,she flew into his arms." The next paragraph was a concluding summary of the synopsis, "There is no need to say that Sins of the Great City is a thrilling type of drama- the story narrated above will confirm that....The release date is December 30th." It again featured a still photograph of Ebba Thomsen. Pictures and the Picturegoer continued, it publishing another story from the screen, The Cigarette Maker, adapted into short story form by Billie Bristow. "The performance of Miss Sanburn, especially as 'Nita' is sure to please all picturegoers. Like many Danish actresses, she is really wonderful." It had, the year before, also put into print the storylines of D. W. Griffith, and by transposing The Inherited Burden into magazine pages had adapted Ibsen's play Ghosts, rewritten as a film in turn rewritten as a short story from a film, into an installment in a periodical.
1914-15 was seen as included in the brief period during which Dansk Filmfabrik, in Aarhus Denmark, produced the films of director Gunnar Helsengren, which included I dodens Brudeslor, starring Gerda Ring, Jenny Roelsgaard and Elisabeth Stub, Meneskeskaebner (1915), Elskovs Tornevej (1915), starring Jenny Roelsgaard, Gerda Ring and Elisabeth Stub and the film Sexton Blake, in which the director appeared with Elisabeth Stub. The character Sexton Blake reappeared in Greta Britain during 1928 with the films of the directors George A. Cooper and Leslie Everleigh, among them being Sexton Blake, The mystery of the Silent Death, Sexton Blake, The Clue of the Second Goblet, Sexton Blake, The Great office Mystery and Sexton Blake, Silken Threads. In 1914, Danish silent film director Wilhelm Gluckstadt directed the film Youthful Sin (Ungdom ssynd), starring Sigrid Neiidendam. In his biographical filmography, David Bordwell traces an early period where both A. W. Sandberg and Carl Th. Dreyer were journalists before enlisting with Nordisk Films Kompagni: the former in 1913, Sandberg in fact having photographed and directed Else Frolich in the film The Mysterious Flashlight (Det Gamle Fyrtaarn/Smuglersskibets Dodsfart), the latter part-time also in 1913 untill 1915, when Dreyer had apparently worked as though in a script departmartment and had contributed no fewer than seventeen scripts within two years, that, whether literary adaptations or not, had been either shelved unfilmed untill possibly reinterpreted by the director or filmed under a change of title. They include from 1915: The False Finger (De Falske Fingre), The Count of Oslo (Greven af Oslo), The Man in the Moon (Manden i manen), Adventure Ship (Eventyrskribet), The Dead Passenger (Den Dod Passager), The Secret Gifts (De hemmelighedsfude gaver), The Strandrobbers of Grimsby (Strandroverne it Grimby, The Rats (Rotterne); and from 1916: The Arm of the Law (Lovensarm), The Golden Plague (Den gulde pest), Stolen Happiness (Stjalen lykke), The Money or the Life (Penger eller livet), Dance of Death (Dodedanseren), The Financier, The Man Who Destroyed a Town (Manden der lagde byen ode). The Danish Film Institute and Lisabeth Richter Larsen have recently printed a short statement on Dreyer and what they hope to unearth during the study of his film and publication of his manuscripts, "So far, no radically new discovery has been made that will turn our image of Dreyer and his films upsidedown. We are not, after all, the first to work through the Dreyer collection. Many Dreyer scholars have trawled through it- Maurice Drouzy, Casper Tyberg, Edvin Kau, David Bordwell, Dale and Jean Drum." Added to these were also Morten Egholmand and Amanda Doxtater. There certainly is a consensus that Dreyer ha been given two seperate contracts from Nordisk, one in early 1913 and the other, a prologation that extendended there sphere of his responsibilities, in 1915. The second contract gives his the auspices of being a script consultant, as well as making him the head of literary adaptations at Nordisk, those to not only include the work of authors Harald Tandrup, Einar Rousthoj, but within Dreyer's new freedom during which he became a literary agent, his acquiring scripts before Nordisk had commissioned him to adapt them, also included were new writers, among them being Carl Muusman. And yet as a scriptwriter, Dreyer not only wrote intertitles and continuity, but worked on narrative in regard to its structure with the editors during the cutting- it may be that the cutting rate, or the average shot length may be invaluable to look at when bringing early narrative films into estimation when studying the photoplay. To put Dreyer's use of shot structure within narrative structure into context, during 1913, Great Northern had advertised that one of its three reel films contained "75 stirring and unusually attractive scenes", it then noting that its next film being two reels in length included "over 60 compelling scenes", only to in turn describe that was to follow as being "in three parts with 90 Powerful and thrilling scenes"- Nordisk finally gave way with its advance advertising for Atlantis, "Coming!! The talk of the World, Atlantis A Motion Picture Masterpiece in 9 reels." Danish silent film director Carl Th Dreyer was to write every screenplay he was to direct. Tom Milner, who begins his volume on Dreyer with an account of his having seen the director at a screening of Getrude, quotes him as having said, "I know that I am not a poet. I know that I am not a great playwright. That is why I prefer to collaborate with a true poet and with a true playwright." Forsyth Hardy recognized Carl Dreyer as having been a screenwriter at Nordisk during 1912 while a young journalist before his having directed, in that he was "One figure that links the Danish cinema of yesterday and today." The Danish Film Museum, now part of the Danish Film Institute, credits Dreyer with an acting role as an extra-supporting character in the film Leap to Death/Dodridet, which he wrote the screenplay to in 1912, the director of the film having been Rasmus Ottesen, and the principle actress having been Kate Hollborg. Dryer in 1913 wrote the screenplay to The Baloon Explosion (The Hidden Message/Balloneskplosionen, Kay van de Ala Kuhle), which again not only afforded a small role to Dreyer as actor but also to Rasmus Ottesen, it having starred Emilie Sannom. Also scripted by Dreyer, The Secret of the Old Cabinet (Chatollets hemmilighed, Hjalmar Davidsen) starring Ella Sprange and photographed by Louis Larsen, was very quickly shown in the United States, the full page advertisement from Great Northern reading "A Surpassing Photodrama Filled with Thrills". Dreyer also that year wrote the scripts to Hans og Grethe (Elkskovs-Opfindsomhed/Won By Waiting Sofus Wolder), starring Gerd Edgede Nissen and Ellen Aggerholm and The War Correspondent (Krigskorrespondent, William Gluckstadt) starring Grethe Ditlevsen, Ellen Tegner and Emilie Sannom.
|In 1914, Carl Th.Dreyer"Nordisk Film Kompagni, contributed the script to Down With Your Weapons (Ned Med Vaabne, Holger Madsen), photographed by Marius Clausen and starring Augusta Blad. Motography reviewed the film with War Film a Plea for Peace. It saw the film as "a most unsual feature." It continued, "It depicts the great battle scenes with such remarkable realism and treats modern warefare comprehensively, but although primarily a war picture, it is really an anti-war picture, the underlying purpose of which is to create a hatred for war and advance the cause of peace...The picture is a mute testimony that war is merely a series of horrors and miseries for non-combatants as well as the combatants...The battle scenes are stupendous and spectacular." What is stirring about the Motography review is the accompanying still photograph of a "realistic hospital scene" Author Forsyth Hardy likened the film Lay Down Your Arms to the film Pro Patria by virtue of its timely subject matter theme, "In filmmaking and other matters Denmark took its posisiton as a neutral country and in several productions sought to press the cause of peace." In doing this, Hardy lightens upon that after peace had been arrived at, Denmark economiclly had brought its film production to a near standstill, reviving it with adaptations of the novel of Charles Dickens and Captain Matryat. Pro Patria was reviewed in the United States by Motion Picture New during 1915, "Recent developments have made war pictures more timely than ever, but such pictures must be good to meet with real success. Pro Patria is a film which, so far as one can judge from the newspaper accounts, must depict military operations much as they have been during the past winter in Europe. There is a convincing atmosphere which makes many of the battle scenes and views of the troops on march seem to be portrayals of actual warfare..The scenic effects of the film are of unusual beauty and power." It has been noted by the Danish Film Institute that other pacifist films from Denmark were The Flaming Sword (Verdens Undergag, August Blom 1916), A Trip to Mars (Himmelskibet 1918, Holger-Madsen) and A Friend to the People (Folkets Ven 1918 Holger Madsen). Anne Bachmann sees this as a strategic supplement to the studio's need to produce remakes and sequels, "A more immediate one was to continue the string of films promoting lofty ideals, in particular pacificism." She includes Pax Aeterna (1917) as an "idealist film" directed by Holger-Madsen,one of those also "advocating concord [that] typified this strategy, which combined internationalism with literary connotations."|
The adaptation of Emile Zola's novel filmed as Money (Penge), written by Carl Th. Dreyer for the director Karl Mantzius is in fact a lost film. Actresses Lily Frederiksen and Augusta Blad star in the film.
August Blom's 1916 film The Spider's Prey (Rovedderkoppen), starring Rita Sacchetto, had been written by Carl Dreyer and Sven Elverstad. Scholar Casper Tybjerg has related the plot line of the film as having involved "a spider woman who resorts to kidnapping" That year Dreyer had also co-scripted with Viggo Carling the film Evelyn the Beautiful (Den Skonne Evelyn, directed by Anders Wilhelm Sandberg. Photographed by Einar Olsen, the film returned Rita Sacchetto to the screen.
Carl Dreyer wrote the screenplays to two films directed by Holger-Madsen during 1917, Fangre Nr 113, and Hans vigrige krone (Which is which/His Real Wife). It was a year during which Holger-Madsen directed the films Out of the Underworld (Nattevandreren) with Alma Hinding, and The Munition Conspiracy (Krigens fjede) with Valdemar Psilander, Ebba Thompsen and Marie Dinesen. Both films were photographed by Marius Clausen. While during 1918 Carl Dreyer was given one film script, it being for director August Blom with Valdemar Psilander again starring together with Ebba Thomsen and title Lydia (Der Flammentanz, The Music Hall Star), during 1919, Dreyer was given two scripts for director August Blom. Lace (Grevindens Aere) was photographed by Paul L. Lindau and starred Agnes Rehni, Gundrun Houlberg and Ellen Jacobsen. Also in the script department at Nordisk during 1913 was Otto Rung, who wrote the script to the 1914 film Vasens HemmeliI'm at ghed, directed by August Blom and starring Lili Beck. He wrote for Nordisk untill 1918 and during that time wrote the script to The Poisonous Arrow (Giftpilen), also directed by August Blom and starring Else Frolich. It wasn't untill 1925 that Valdemar Andersen went behind the camera to direct one of his own screenplays; he had began with Nordisk film in 1913 with the short film Privatdetektivens offer (Sofus Wolder) before writing longer screenplays in 1916, which included The Bowl of Sacrifice (Livets Genvordigheder (A. Christian), starring Alma Hinding, before his eventually writing and directing his first film, Minder frau Zunftens Dage. Screenwriter Laurids Skands began with Nordisk in 1913, writing the screenplays to the films A Venomous Bite (Giftslangen, Hjalmar Davidsen), starring Alma Hinding and The Steel King's Last Wish (Staalkongens Ville (Holger-Hadsen), starring Clara Wieth. Scriptwriter William Soelberg was only at Nordisk bewteen 1913 and 1916, writing the screenplays to the films Gold from the Gutter (Guldmonten, August Blom, 1913), starring Ebba Thomsen, Murder Will Out (Morderen, Sofus Wolder)Misunderstood (En Aeresprejsning, Holger-Madsen, 1916). Nordisk Film Komapgni founder Ole Olsen is credited with having co-written the script to Peace on Earth (Pax aeterna, Holger-Madsen) with Otto Rung in 1917, as well as his having co-written the films A Friend of the People (Folkets Ven, Holger-Madsen, 1918) and Himmelskibet (A Trip to Mars, 1918) with screenwriter Sophus Michaelis. The Danish writer Carl Gandrup sold two scripts to Svenska Bio in 1916, Envar sin egen lykas smed, directed by Egil Eide and photographed by Swedish Silent Film cinematographer Hugo Edlund, and Skuggan av ett brett, directed by Konrad Tallroth. Gandrup had been primarily a screenwriter for the director Hjalmar Davidsen, writing the photoplays to Likken Suunden of genuunden (1914), Alone with the Devil (Expressens Mysterium 1914), Dishonored (Den Van erede, 1915) and Det evige Had (1915) before penning the scrip to Mysteriet Paa Duncan Slot, directed by George Schneevoigt in 1916.
The novelist Laurids Bruun became a scriptwriter during 1916 for Nordisk, his co-scripting the screenplay for the adaptation of his novel The Midnight Sun (Midnatssolen) with screenwriter Axel Garde, who had written the script for the film Atlantis. It was adapted for director Robert Dinesen who instructed photographer Sophus Wangoe during the making of the film, which starred actress Else Frolich. Among the scriptwriters that had worked with Robert Dinesen that year was Harriet Bloch, who wrote the screenplay to the film Wages of Folly (Letsindigheders Lon), photographed by Sophus Wangoe and starring Agnate Bon Pragen and Gerda Chrisophersen.The writer Harriet Bloch has a particularly prolific portfolio built in Denmark while Dreyer was a script writer, among her scripts that were filmed between 1911 and 1923 being The Guestless Dinner Party (Den Store Middag) directed by August Blom and The Spectre of the Deep (En Karer lighedsprove).
After directing his first film, "The Hostage", with Benjamin Christiensen and August Falk in front of the camera in leading roles during 1914, Martinius Nielsen directed sixteen films in Denmark, beginning with "Gentlemansekretaenen" for Nordisk Film in 1916. The film was written by Valdemar Anderson and starred Else Frolich. Valdemar Anderson also wrote the screenplay to the film "Stakkels Meta", directed in 1916 by Martinius Nielsen and starring Agnes Anderson.
Not as prolific was screenwriter Palle Rosenkrantz who silimlarly wrote scripts filmed between 1911-1925, of particular interest being When Passion Binds Honesty (Dyrekobt Glimmer), a film in which Emilie Sannom appeared under the direction of Urban Gad during 1911. The first Danish manual for scriptwriting, How One Writes a Film (Hvorledes skriver man en film), was published in 1916 by Jens Locher- many instructional manuals on how to write the photo-play or photodrama, scenario writing, were printed in the United States between 1916-1922, the onset of their appearance coinciding with the beginning of the mutli-reel film, and although the may have directly addressed the guidelines involved in censorship or transnational audiences as much as the Nordisk Film script department, they involve content, particularly when a matter of plotline development. Locher gave the advice that screenplays should be built upon three main characters and no more and that while the interest of the audience should gain sympathy for one of those characters, denoument should be a plot twist arising from a straitforward development of plot.
Motion Picture News reported on Danish silent film actress Asta Nielsen and a visit she had made to the United States during 1917. "It is understood that it is not at all unlikely that the European star will be presented in an American-made screen production within the near future. She has not as of yet, it is said, decided whether she will establish a studio of her own or go with some established American film organization. It is known that she had had offers from various film companies but thus far she has not made any decision for the future." Motography magazine similarly reported on Nielsen visiting the United States, "Some of her films have been shown in this country, through Pathe, and created a sensation...In these plays, Miss Nielsen portrayed characters of widely different emotions and import...she holds us with the vivid reality of each one. She is one of the few actresses on the screen who seem to show us her innermost thoughts, almost, one might say, the workings of her mind. Miss Nielsen has with her a scenario made from Holger Drachman's 'Once Upon a Time', to which play she secured the film right some time ago, and George Brandes, the famous Danish author and philosopher, is now writing a new story for production in film."
Carl Th. Dreyer during 1920 directed the silent film The Witch Woman/The Parson's Wife.
By 1922 Danish silent film director Peter Urban Gad had finished directing what would be his last silent film produced in Germany The Ascension of Hannele Mattern (Hanneles Himmelfahrt), actress Margate Schlegelful filling the title role. By 1923 both Benjamin Christensen and Carl Th. Dreyer would travel to Germany; Christensen would star in Dreyer's 1924 film Mikail (Chained), a film which Paul Rotha had described as "slow moving, unfolded with careful deliberation of detail", the film noted for its depth of characterization and insight into human nature. Acting for Dreyer for Christensen was only in addition to directing His Mysterious Adventure (Seine Fiar de Ubekannte, 1924 and The Woman Who Did (Die Frau Mit den Schelechten ruf, 1925), based on the novel by Grant Allan, while there. Carl Dreyer would also direct Love One Another (Die Gezeichneten, 1921) and Once Upon a Time (Der Var Engang, 1924) with actress Clara Pontoppidan.
Dreyer's Once Upon a Time has been noted by Casper Tyjberg, a film scholar who has noted in his essay Forms of the Intangible that there were stylistic differences in Dreyer's films, stylistic variations from film to film, for it's being in keeping with the Swedish tradition under Charles Magnusson of shooting on location and to paraphrase Tyjberg, it's use of "landscape to create emotion around the characters."; the Journal of Film Preservation has reported the ending sequence of the film as still being entirely missing and that the screenplay, with Dreyer's notes, has been consulted to provide dialouge intertitles to accompany still photographs during a twenty first century restoration of the film. To be more specific, Carl Dreyer has adapted the screenplay from the stage and separated the two types of intertitles, dialogue and expository, while writing, the Danish Film Institute using the screenplay of Dreyer's film "Der var Engang" to combine them, and by providing descriptive intertitles that explain the plot and the proxemics patterns blocked by the action of the actors, it including explanatory description in the same intertitles as the dialogue that accompanied the silent Photoplay.
During 1926, Urban Gad returned to Denmark to make one film before ending his career, The Wheel of Fortune (Lykkehjulet, co-scripted with A. V. Olsen and starring Lili Lani. Morten Egholm depicts Carl Th. Dreyer by quoting him, "As early as 1920, Dreyer was discussing film film aesthetics with his famous Danish colleage Benjamin Christensen, He did that in an article called 'Nye Ideer om Filmen'. Christensen was in many ways an early spokesman for the auteur theory, as he said that the film director's most important task is to make poems out of pictures. Dryer replied to and contradicted this in his article:'the task of the cinema is and will be the same as the teater's: to interpret the thoughts of others.'" Motion Picture Magazine during 1923 wrote, Sigrid Holmquist has come to Lasky's to appear in The Gentleman of Leisure. She is the Swedish Mary Pickford." Holmquist had appeared under the direction of Lau Lauritzen in 1920 in the film Love and Bearhunting (Karleck och Bjornjakt before coming to the United States to appear in the film directed by Joseph Henaby and in an adapatation og the Kipling novel The Light that Failed (George Melford) with Jacqueline Logan. She had also starred in the earlier 1922 film The Prophet's Paradise, directed by Alan crosland. Danish actress Olga d'org starred in three films for Nordisk Film Kompagni, all of which were directed by A.W. Sandberg, including the 1923 film The Hill Park Mystery (Nedbrudite nerver).
Danish film director Carl Th. Dreyer in 1925 filmed Thou Shalt Honor Thy Wife (Master of the House, Den Skal Aere Din Hustru), which the director co-wrote with Sven Rindholm. Photographed by George Schneevoigt, the films stars Astrid Holm, Karin Nellemose and Mathilde Nielsen. Forsyth Hardy wrote, "Already Dreyer had developed that intensity which had become a feature of his methods as a director- an intensity which is communicated to his actors and permeates the entire film...In its naturalistic approach, The Master of the House (or Fall of the Tyrant) was considerably in advance of the period." In his book Transcendental Style in Film, the director Paul Schrader (Autofocus) characetrizes Dreyer's early film by their use of mise-en-scene, likening them, in their use of interiors and 'revelatory guesture', in particular to the Intimate Theater of Strindberg. Scholar Casper Tyjberg, rather, looks at the concept of a Transcendental style of film conveying an abstract meaning through its transparency and notes that he is of the opinion that Dreyer's film can be interpreted firstly as Art Films, his looking to the thematic content of Ordet and then inevitably to the highly, if not overly stylized film Gertrude. Scholar Morton Egholm summarizes a similar view by writing "The film style is invisible- yet it exists!" Egholm directs us to the writing of Ebbe Neergaard, who claimed that in Mater of the House Dreyer "regarded and formed his material in a pure cinematic way." Egholm draws upon exchanges between director Benjamin Christenson and Carl Dreyer discussed in New Ideas on Film, where Christenson advocated "that the film director's most important task is to make poems out of pictures. Dreyer replied to and contradicted this in his article: "the task of cinema is and will be the same as theater's: to interpret the thoughts of others." Scholar Morton Egholm elaborates, "When it comes to the discussion between being a real film artist (later called auteur) and an interpreter of others' thoughts Dreyer does not accept that the two categories are mutually exclusive. The style is something invisible, hidden behind the structure and idea of the literary source- but the style definitely has to be there and it has to be personal, otherwise there would be no film. At the same time, however, the literary source also dictates the style that will be developed during the process of adapting." Dreyer, in a foreward to a collection of four of his screenplays, writes, "I am convinced that presently a tragic poet of the cinema will appear, whose problem will be to find, within the structure of the cinema's framework, the form and style appropriate to tragedy." During the film Master of the House, Dreyer stylisticly uses the iris shot while cutting between close and medium interior shots, including and iris shot filmed over the shoulder of a character exiting through a doorway and an iris shot of her entering again later in the scene, and , more notably, the director during the middle of a scene uses iris shots while cutting between a close up and a medium closeshot; during the latter a second character, that of the protagonist's wife in the film, can been seen entering the frame of the shot from the right of the irised screen and then reentering during the length of the shot. Husband and wife are both shown in intercut iris closeups during a dialouge sequence within the middle of a prolonged interior scene, the exceptional beauty of the actress held by the camera as her eyes silently wait for her husband to speak. Dreyer shot most of the film in only two seperate interiors, having constructed a set where he could film the action from all sides of where it was taking place. In his biography of Greta Garbo, Raymond Durgnat quotes "the austerest of all film directors", Carl Dreyer, although the quote seems superfluous or decorative to the essay, as having said, "Nothing in the world can be compared to the human face. It is a land no one can never tire of exploring." The context was that Garbo, being a film star, was an object of art. Returning to Dreyer for his explanation of film technique as character-centered structure, character-centered editing, he writes in Thoughts on My Metier, "The soul is shown through style, which is the artist's way of giving expression to his perception of the material. This style is important in attaching inspiration to artistic form. Through the style, the artist molds the way details that make it whole. Through style he gets others to see the material through his eyes."
Early Danish sound film director Alice O'Fredricks appeared as an actress in two Danish silent films in 1925, Sunshine Valley (Solskinsdalen) with Karen Winther, directed for Nordisk Film by Emanuel Gregers, and Lights from Circus Life (Sidelights of the Sawdust Ring/Det Store Hjerte) with Ebba Thomsen, Margarethe Schegel and Mathilde Nielsen, directed by August Blom. She had appeared a year earlier with Clara Pontoppidan in a film produced by Edda Film, Hadda Padda, directed by Gudmundar Kamban and also starring Ingeborg Sigurjonsson. Gudmundur Kamban in 1926 for Nordisk Film directed Gunnar Tolnaes, Hanna Ralph and Agnete Kamban int the film Det Sovende Hus.
In October of 1917 Motoplay magazine announced that Asta Nielsen was in the United States, "Miss Nielsen has with her the scenario made from Holger Drachman's "Once Upon A Time" to which play she secured the film right some time ago, and George Brandes, the famous Danish author and philosopher, is writing a new story for her production in films. Miss Nielsen has studying American film art and said that what struck her most forcibly was the excellent photography, the great amount of titles and the extreme amount of time consumed in photography by a feature film." It assessed her on screen presence, near hauntingly with the hint that she would later play Hamlet, "She is one of the few actresses on the screen who seems able to show us her innermost thoughts, almost, one might say, the workings of her mind." Motion Picture World similarly reported Asta Nielsen, Danish Film Actress in America, "It is affirmed that she has not come here under contract and is not connected with any filmmaker on this side of the water" It mentioned, "The war has, of course, given a death blow to artistic activity in Europe.Miss Nielsen probably finds it a good time to take a vacation."
The assignment of script writer on the first of two films that were to pair Gunnar Tolnaes and Lily Jacobsson, The Maharaja's Favorite Wife (Mahatadajahen's Yndlings Hustru) directed in 1917 by Robert Dinesen, was given to Sven Gade. The actor and actress both returned in 1919 for the sequel, The Maharaja's Favorite Wife 2 (Mahatadjahen's Yndlings Hustru 2), diet cited by August Blom.
How Sven Gade directed Asta Nielsen as Hamlet would seem as odd a mystery as Greta Garbo having attended a party given by Basil Rathbone where she in fact was in costume as the Prince of Denmark- Sven Gade had screenplay writer Erwin Gepard add a prolouge to the film before the credits were run. It announced that American scholar Professor Vining put forth the theory that Hamlet was a woman. Queen Gertrude, portrayed by Mathilda Brandt, inquires if she has born a son, and the reply is that she has given birth to a princess and that during the interim, King Hamlet has been mortally wounded.She is advised,"Proclaim the Princess heir to the Throne and the people will believe that you have given birth to a son." The sexual deceit is then taken up by Ophelia in her service to the Princess as one who is aware of the deception. In Germany, Scandinavian film director Svens Gade positioned actress Asta Nielsen in front of the lens in Hamlet (1920). Directing in the United States in 1925, his films included Fifth Avenue Models adapted from the novel The Best in Life by Muriel Coxen, Siege and Peacock Feathers (seven reels) with Jacqueline Logan; in 1926 they were to include Watch Your Wife (seven reels), Into Her Kingdom (seven reels) with Corinne Griffith and Einar Hanson and The Blonde Saint (seven reels), adapted from the novel Isle of Life by Stephen Whitman and starring Lewis Stone and Ann Rork. Gade would later become a scenario writer rather than director, one instance being Symphony for Universal, directed by F. Harmon Weight.
Upon being invited to follow a story that began in Victorian-Edwardian London, 1925 Silent Film audiences were also that year thrilled by the writings of Arthur Conan Doyle as they were led by Challenger on an expedition into The Lost World through the magic lantern silent film.
Silent Film: Lost Film, Found MagazinesBeing a reader of mysteries, to begin the summer of 2013 I plunged into the middle of The Cinema Murder, written by E. Phillips Oppenheim in 1917, the copy I purchased in an old bookstore near the Theater District (Emerson College) of Boston for one dollar being a second printing from Little, Brown and Company from that year, which I thought was impeccable. I put the computer aside untill reaching chapter twelve; when I returned to the internet I found that the film is lost- it is not entirely forsaken as a lost film, it is listed either as lost or unknown. The novel was read by Frances Marion, whose scenario was adapted as a silent two years later for Cosmopolitan by George D. Baker and Harold Rossen, starring Nigel Barrie as the narrator protagonist and Marion Davies as a love interest. The novel itself is surprisingly profound in its examination of society and morals with its dramatic undercurrents that continually lapse back into its mystery plot involving an art teacher writing a play, as though it were aiming towards the material of early silent film drama. Oppenheim had earlier written The Black Box featuring the consulting detective Sandford Quest, which was published as a photoplay edition with scenes illustrated from the Universal Film. A copy of the film The Cinema Murder could still exist. I was pleased enough with the ending novel to return to the bookstore after finishing to find a second printing of The Passionate Quest, also written by E. Phillips Oppenheim, published during 1924. While on chapter four I found out that the novel was adapted in 1926 by J. Stuart Blackton, the film starring May McAvory also listed as being unknown, and not necessarily lost, although there are no available copies at present; after finishing the novel I returned to the second hand bookstore to buy a third novel written by Oppenheim, my beginning July of 2013 with a second printing from 1929 of The Treasure House of Martin Hews. It is not unfounded to say that each novel begins with a journey to London on the part of the main character, or characters, and that while one novel may be more exciting, another might be more deeply moving, but the subjects of each novel seem to be different while the same element of romance and suprise is central to the storyline. While "Sherlock Holmes sluethhound" is mentioned by the main character's nemesis in the concluding chapters, the novel is atypical from the others in that it nearly surpasses the cannon of Doyle in being adventure concerning the theives of priceless art and Scotland Yard. After, to find another shift of subject matter I continued the summer with a first edition of the novel The Wrath To Come, again by E. Phillips Oppenheim and published by Little, Brown and Company in 1924, and after finishing, although the author's style, choice of language and grammar and use of the implausible to interconnect plot threads and character relations with events transpiring at the beginning of the novel with the reintroduction of an absent character, may be similar in his novels, I followed the author's potluck decisions on subject matter which propel the character's journeys with his return to the mystery-romance by reading a second edition printed in 1926 ofThe Golden Beast, which revolves around a disappearance that mimics a mystery from the previous generation which occurred on the same estate. There were 478 silent films made in Sweden; of them only 192 still exist, although there are copies of fragments from a number of them. Added to that, countless Danish silent films produced by Ole Olsen for Nordisk Films Kompagni are missing, among those being (Caros Dod) and The Robber Chief's Flight and Death (Roverhovidiryens Flugt og Dod), directed by Viggo Larsen, as well as films included as missing titled The Daughter Sold (Dattern Solgt), The Cripple (Krolblingen) , Lars Hovedstadrejse (Lar's Trip to the Capital) and The Poacher (Krybskytten).
Many early silent films made by the Nordisk Film Kompangni, although produced by Ole Olsen, still have an unattributed director, not only in the filmographies of lost film scholars but in the lists of the Danish Film Institute itself, thus at first there would seem there is a preponderance before continuing to 1907, that there entirety of 1906 would have been lost in collections of Danish silent film. Other missing titles produced by Ole Olsen include Triste Skabner (Sad Destinies), Tandpines Kvaler (The Painful Toothache), Gavtyve (Rogues) and To Foraedldrelose (Two Orphans), "Rivalinder" (A Woman's Duel/The Rivals), "Gelejslaven" ("The Galley Slave"), "Vitrioldrama" (Vitriolicdrama), "Violinist's Romance" (Violinistens Roman), "Gaardmandsson og Husmandsdottor" (("Father's Son and Crofter's Daughter), Knuste Haeband, and Kortspillere directed in 1906, as well as Testamentet, Den glade Enke (The Merry Widow) and Gabestokken (The Pillory) directed in 1907. Not the only webpage concerned with the preservation of Silent Film, the lost films webpage from Berlin show clips and stills from fifty silent film that it claims are "unknown or unidentified". Luckily, one of Olsen's first films for Nordisk from 1906, Fishing Life in the North (Fiskerliv i Norden)starrring Viggo Larsen and Margrete Jespersen was given Swedish intertitles and restored in time for the centennial anniversay of the studio. Of the 101 films made by Ole Olsen in 1906, 37 are thought to be fiction, or narrative, films, and of these less than ten percent exist today(Berglund).
Although there were many films made before 1910, and therefore incidentally those predating the first silent Swedish films made in Kristianstad, that are missing, not all of the lost films of Denmark are short early silent films produced by the pioneer Ole Olsen. Author Ron Mottram has written that only one sixth of the four reel film The Baths Hotel (Badhotellet) survives as a fragment, it having starred Einar Zangenberg and Edith Bueman Psilander. There are no surviving copies of "Tyven" ("A Society Sinner") directed in 1910 by August Blom. There are no surviving copies of Pontifar's Hustru (Pontifar's Wife), directed in 1911 by August Blom or The Guvernorens datter directed in 1912 by August Blom and starring Else Frolich and Ebba Thomsen nor or there existant copies of the films The Blue Blood (Det blaa Blod,1912) and The Black Music Hall (Den sort Variete,1913), both directed by Vilhelm Gluckstedt. The latter was scripted by Stellan Rye. The film Island of the Dead (De Dodes O) directed by Vilhelm Gluckstadt, was recently included by Caspar Tybjerg as a lost film in his article Distinguished Compositions. Directed in 1913, the film was photographed by Julius Folkman and starred Ellen tegner.There were 31 silents that were given by him to the Royal Library during the year 1913 to begin the Dansih Film Archive. Peter Elfelt donated 20 films a year later, making him with Ole Olsen and Anker Kirkeby one of the original founders of Det danske Filmmuseum. It is more than certain in Denmark that were a seance to be held, Ole Olsen would still relish being a screening room curator and that his spirit would tap affirmatively if a medium ever were to ask- whether or not the ghost of Victor Sjostrom spends the evenings in various theaters of Strindberg. Bengt Forslund penned a brief paragraph about the silent film The Divine Woman (En Gudomlig Kvinna, 1928), directed by Victor Sjostrom under the name Victor Seastrom, One film thought to be non-existent before preservation attempts is a film which introduced actor Nils Asther in his first appearance onscreen, a Lars Hanson film directed by Mauritz Stiller in 1916, The Wings (Vingarne)- it was remade, or re-adapted rather, as a silent by Carl Theodore Dreyer.
There have been several films thought to be lost that have been reported as lost and having been directed by Danish film director that are difficult to be identified as having been directed by Dinesen, if recognized as such at all, in the catalogue of the Danish Film Institute: these include the film's The Spy (Spionen, 1908), released too early for Dinesen to have been its director, Katasofen, En Kvindens Aere and Dramaet I den gamble Molle. The film "The Devil's Daughter" ("Djaeveler's Datter") in which Robert Dinesen starred with Else Frolich, was filmed during 1913 and is listed as a lost film, to which there is no inaccuracy as to Robert Dinesen having been the director.
en A year earlier, in the United States, Valda Valkyrien had appeared in the film The Valkyrie (Eugene Nowland), which irregardless of how possibly faithful it was to Norse Saga and The Elder Edda and its being elected to the Hall of The Dead, the film is now thought to be lost. Originally a ballerina, Valda Valkyrien had appeared in more than six Danish silent films, mostly of three reels of length, before her coming to the United States, including Dodsspring til hest fra Circuskuplean), Direcktorens Datter (Blom, 1912), Hans Forste Honorar (Blom 1912) and The Vanquished (Den Staerkeste, Eduard Schnedler-Sorensen 1912) During 1916 Valda Valkyrien, by then billed as merely Valkyrien (Baroness De Witt, starred in the films The Cruise of Fate and Hidden Valley, both directed by Ernest Wade-both films are screen film appearances of hers also listed as being a lost films- nor are there existant copies of the film made by Valkyrien in Denmark during 1912 entitled Hottets ny Skopudser (The New Shoeshine Boy, Eduard Schnedler-Sorensen) in which she briefly appeared with Otto Langoni. While audiences in the United States were watching Valkyrien on the screen, Great Northern used full page advertisements to popularize the film The Mother Who Paid starring Regina Wethergren "Featured in an Emotional Role" When reviewed, the film was "lavishly mounted and well cast", Wethergren "an actress of considerable emotional intensity...The appeal lies in a picture presentation of a thoroughly romantic tale in which there is no pretense of realism and no mere regard for probabilities than must govern even the writer of colorful fiction." And yet when we look for the film in Denmark we find En Moders Kaelighed starring Ragna Wettergreen four years earlier under the direction of August Blom, photographed by Johan Ankerstjerne with a screenplay by Peter Lykke Seest, a film which had afforded a small role to Valda Valkyrien. The United States lists The Story of a Mother (Historien om en moder, Blom, 1912) with Ragna Westergreen and Valda ValkyrPien, as a lost film along with the 1912 film En historie om kaerlighed (Two Sisters, August Blom 1912) with Jenny Roelsgaard and Valda Valkyrien as also being a lost film. Which is to say that the possibility of the The Man With the Missing Finger first run in the United States from Great Northern in actuality being a script written by Carl Dreyer entitled Den Falske Fingre now at first seems open. Moving Picture World during 1917 reviewed "the celebrated Danish beauty" Valda Valkyrien in The Imagemakers. The picture has a very unusual plot as it deals with pre-existence and tells us of a love that lasted through the centuries." The film allows Valkyrien a dual role, that of an egyptian girl in love with a prince before his death and her reincarnated spirit in the form of a modern woman. "Valkyrien's charming personality never appeared to better advantage than in this picture." Edwin Thanhouser described the film as "a drama of reincarnation involving parallel romances, one in modern times and the other dating back 3,000 years." During 1917 Valda Valkyrien appeared in the film Magda (Emile Chautard) with Clara Kimball Young, of which today there are no surviving copies. Valda Valkyrien has also been listed as being Baroness Dewitz or famous Baroness Von Dewitz with the alternative birthplace of Iceland rather than Denmark provided by author Hans J. Wollstein in The Strange Case of Valda Valkyrien; the library of Congress lists her as appearing in the extant film Diana the Hunter (Charles W. Hunter, 1916) during a year in which she also starred in Silas Marner for Thanhouser under the direction of Ernest C. Warde.
Loves of An Actress (Rowland Lee,1928) in which Nils Asther starred with Pola Negri and Mary McAllister, as a matter of fact, is a lost film. If all that exists of The Chinese Parrot is a still photograph, the caption from Photoplay Magazine, cautioned that, alhtough mysteries were not meant to be divulged, the adaption had not kept faithful to the Earl Der Biggers plotline.
Lost Silent Film, Found Magazines, the four reel missing prolouge to Mysterious Island shot by Benjamin Christensen
There are accounts that Benjamin Christensen's first visit to the United States had been an unsuccessful solicitation at Vitagraph while he was here to also promote two of his early mystery films, "Night of Vengence/Blind Justice" and "The Mysterious Mr. X"; if so, he did not stay, nor did he sell any projects before later arriving at M.G.M. There are also accounts that he returned a third time under a renewed contract with First National, but that he had left Denmark only to return later leaving his projects here, including a script involving the Roman Empire unrealized.
During 1929, his return was chronicled by The Film Daily headlined by "Talkers Cut Attendence Abroad, director Says." One of many articles on the installation of sound equipment in Scandinavia, it read, "Talkers are having an adverse effect on picture theater attendance abroad, according to Benjamin Christiansen, director, who returned yesterday from Sweden. Synchronization of foreign languages to replace English has proved unsatisfactory." Not incidentally, Film Daily later that year announced that "Sunkissed", starring Vilma Banky and director by Victor Sjostrom, would be the first of several "Multi-Lingual Talkers" planned to be produced by M.G.M., it claiming it being by virtue of Greta Garbo speaking three languages fluently, Basil Rathbone speaking three, and Nils Asther being fluent in five languages.
Screenwriter Frances Marion had written the early revision to the photoplay The Mysterious Lady, which was rewritten by screenwriter Bess Meredyth. During the time in between it had been elaborately reworked by Danish film director Benjamin Christenson. Upon first arriving at M.G.M. In the United States, the Danish silent film director Benjamin Christenson had sold the scenario to The Light Eternal; Motion Picture News in 1926 reported a title change and that Christenson had been film a project under the names The Light Eternal and Devilkin and that Louis B. Mayer had finally decided upon its release title. The first film Christenson had directed in the United States, The Devil's Circus (1926, seven reels) with Norma Shearer and Charles Emmet Mack, had had a script which he had written himself. In The Devil's Circus Praised, Motion Picture Classic reviewed the film, "Some of the metropolitan critics were impressed with Benjamin Christenson's first American film The Devil's Circus. To me it was just early Griffith plus a dash of Seastrom pseudo-symbolism. Christenson is responsible for both the story and the direction." Arne Lund writes, "Christensen later claimed that twenty M.G.M. screenwriters were set loose on the screenplay of The Devil's Circus...Christensen stated that he barely recognized the original story after the continuity 'improvements' by staff writers...Christensen's initial story draft for example, set the film in Copenhagen, but M.G.M.'s writers quickly transposed the story." Christenson point, of course, was that the writers that were let loose on his script "altered the whole tone and message." During early 1927, Motion Picture News welcomed Christensen back to Hollywood reporting, Christianson Returns, "Benjamin Christianson, M-G-M's Danish director has returned to the studios from a brief vacation in Denmark and will shortly be assigned a new production. He reports interesting activities under way in Sweden and Germany and anticipated a strong bid for fame by the Russians this year."
The Haunted House (seven reels) with Thelma Todd, Montague Love and Barbara Bedford, was reviewed by Motion Picture magazine, "A most involved plot holds together a mystery picture, which starts out with some pointless, though eerie gags, but succeeds in ending with a burst of screams from the audience...This is of the new school of mystery play, in which there is a laugh for every shiver, so you don't feel you must look under the bed when you go home." Motion Picture Magazine reported, "On the set of The Haunted House at First National. A spooky scene was shot. William V. Mong as the vindictive old caretaker crept up behind Thelma Todd and touched her on the shoulder. The shriek she gave was so realistic that everyone on the set was impressed with Thelma's acting ability, and after the scene was shot the director took the occasion to congratulate her on her film work. 'Oh,' said Thelma candidly! 'That wasn't acting, that was my sunburn I got swimming at Malibu yesterday.'" During 1928 Exhibitor's Daily Review printed, "Christensen Signed- the general manager of production for First National, after seeing The Haunted House, signed Benjamin Christensen, the Swedish director, for two more pictures to be done at First National." "The Haunted House had had a Photplay which Christensen had written himself.
The Hawk's Nest (eight reels) with Milton Sills, Montague Love and Mitchell Lewis was to follow during 1928. Motion Picture New Booking Guide of 1929 provided a brief synopsis of the film. "Melodrama of feud between proprietress of Chinatown cafes. His henchman a cussed of murder committed by enemy, one of the cafe owners undergoes surgical operation to rid himself of scars. Through his changed appearance he wins confidence of his enemy, captures and forces to confess."
Mockery (seven reels) when reviewed by Photoplay shifted the look from director to star, "Lon Chaney's running rapidly through the list of human ailments and tribulations...Mockery is hardly an authentic picture of the budding (Russian) revolution but it is a good melodrama built up to a keen edge of tensity by Lon Chaney's highly effective character playing." The Film Spectator reviewed the film as part of its audience, "We are baffled by what goes on in the haunted house, but we find no less entertaining on that account." From a story written by Christensen, the continuity of the film is credited to Bradley King. A caption from Photoplay during 1927 read, "Benjaminn Christiansen had this elaborate contraption built so that he might get a good shot of Lon Chaney starting downstairs. The title of the newest Chaney picture- a Russian story- has been changed from Terror to Mockery. Its all right with us." The studio during 1927 had in fact in advance advertised the coming Metro Goldwyn Mayer Films starring Lon Chaney, "You'll get Lon Chaney in "Terror" Next, Then "The Hypnotist" Motion Picture News during 1927 reported what would now seem a mystery, "Production work was begun last week by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer on "Terror", the new film will star Lon Chaney. Benjamin Christensen, Scandinavian director is directing from an original story by Stig Esbern. Barbara Bedford has the feminine lead in the new picture....Other roles are being played by Richard Cortez and Johnny Jack (Mack) Brown." Film Daily roc idled a similar account, "M.G.M. Has begun production on Terror. Lon Chaney's new film which presents him in the role of a Russian peasant during the revolution...Barbara Bedford has been signed by M.G.M. To play opposite Lon Chaney I his next production, Terror."
When reviewing the film The Haunted House, the editor of The Film Spectator included the opinion that "Miss Bedford's appearance on the screen have been all too rare. The splendid performance she gave in Mockery, opposite Lon Chaney, should have earned her recognition as one of our most talented dramatic actresses. It is a strange business that does not make more use of a girl endowed so abundantly with both beauty and brains." On the camera technique of Chhistensen, The Film Spectator noticed, "By placing his camera almost on the floor, Christensen gives an eerie quality to his character...the heroic proportions of the characters supplied by the lowered camera gain added effectiveness by the clever use of lights and shadows....Nor did Sol Polito shoot any of his scenes from distorted angles. Occaisionally he placed his camera behind a chair and shot scenes through its back, but such shots were consistent with the usual low position of the camera." Interestingly, it added what would be a wry, and macabre overtone had it been pointed out seriously as having been the director's intention. "There are a couple of slips. Conklin's hat blows off and apparently rolls in the direction from which the wind is blowing. Although we get the impression that it is raining outside people coming into the house have no rain on them. The source of light in the haunted house is not indicated." Unless these oversights were meant to be Christensen's expression of the mystery of "the hereafter". There are many accounts that Mockery was long thought to be a lost film untill film preservation efforts during the 1970's, Rutgers University having inadvertly left the film as still missing on its moving image internet webpage, which provided a synopsis of a film surmised to be non-surving : author John Ernst published the biography Benjamin Christensen in 1967, Today, there are no known existant copies of the 1929 film The House of Horror (7 reels) for which Thelma Todd returned to the screen to film under the direction of Benjamin Christensen. Nor are there existant copies of the silent films The Haunted House and The Hawk's Nest; untill they are found and or restored, the films made in the United States by Benjamin Christensen continue to lurk within the shadows of the silver screen theaters, and although many of the theaters, with all their grandeur that introduced the films are also gone, particularly in Boston, the detectives of film can find them in the world of Lost Film, Found Magazines with each newly discovered poster, still or full page advertisement. The House of Horror, written by Richard Bee and photographed under the direction of Benjamin Christensen, was reviewed in 1929 by Motion Picture News. "If it isn't classified as a horror by audiences it will admittedly be rated a bore...Everything is there in The House of Horror, except the custard pie. MYbe that will be inserted in the sound version. In any case, it will neither add nor detract from the present story; because there is none. First National will install sound and dialouge in this picture...The picture consists largely of wind blowing, doors opening and closing and books falling off the shelves. Even the sequences where Louise Fazendas runs around madly and merrily garbed in 1876 model lingerie fail to cheer audiences. The main action of the story centers entirely in an antique shop."
It need not be overlooked that the Journal of Scandinavian Cinema recently published the article Scandinavian Auteur as Chameleon: How Benjamin Christenson reinvented himself in Hollywood 1925-29, written by Arne Lunde, who looks at correspondence written by the film director. Lunde sees an influence Christensen, "a visionary stylist and innovator" (Lunde), made on the technique used to film The Mysterious Island (1929), although, much like Stiller's having been replaced by Fred Niblo, he had been replaced on the film by Lucien Hubbard. "Silhoetted lighting in a submarine-interior shot also shows traces of a key Christensen stylistic signature." The review for The Mysterious Island during 1929 in Motion Picture News appeared alongside its review of House of Horror with the note, "The picture was originally started about three years ago with Benjamin Christensen directing. After completion of a four reel prolouge, deciding the story was impractical for the screen. Last year, Lucien Hubbard took the picture off the shelf to see what he could do with it. Hubbard wrote an entirely new story and started production. The finished picture does not contain more than a few hundred feet of the four reel prolouge photographed for the first version." When Photoplay reviewed the film Seven Footprints to Satan (1929), it held, "You won't get very excited about this so-called mystery story because you feel down underneath that it will turn out to be a dream. The denoument is not quite as bad as that, but almost...Thelma Todd manages to look both beautiful and freightened while Chreighton Hale makes his knees stutter." The film was photographed by Sol Polite. Exhibitor's Daily Review wrote, "Considerable mystery surrounds the identity of the actor who will play the role of 'Satan' in First national's forthcoming mystery picture, Seven Footprints to Satan, which Benjamin Christensen is to direct. The character in the novel by A. Merritt is described as a gigantic man with a Mongolian appearance. He is the central figure in the story. Christensen, who directed The Haunted House, the first mystery for First National, refuses to divulge the actor's identity." Later, Exibitor's Daily Review added, "A wire from First National's Burbank studios states that Loretta Young has been added to the cast of the mystery thriller Seven Footprints to Satan"
There are reports that the film Helge Indians (Helgeninderne, 1921) made by Benjamin Christensen before his coming to the United States and starring his wife, Karen Winther and Karina Bell is now a lost film. Forsyth Hardy chronicles, "The Danish director Benjamin Christensen, who was engaged to make Haxan (1922), an imaginative study of witchcraft which excitedly exploited the properities of the camera. These expensive films, however, failed to make impressions on the reluctant foreign audiences." He notes that it was a newly completed studio at Rasunda that had emerged with Svensk Filmindustri, a momentum having arisen as the result of the merger in 1919 between Svenska Bio and Film Scandia. In the United States, the film was reviewed as Witchcraft through the Ages by Film Daily who saw the film as claiming that there was "witchcraft, sorcery and black magic" throughout the centuries and that it was responsible for the perfidy of countless souls, "Novel film beautifully photographed is absorbing study but subject rather too grim for most picture houses....The incidents are strung together without any particular story...some striking effects of witches flying on broomsticks, infernal regions, ect, build a supernatural atmosphere that is gripping. Novel, beautiful- but not ordinary house fare." Christensen wrote, directed and starred in the film, entrusting the photography to Johan Ankerstjerne, who had previously distinguished himself through the use of side-lighting and had been behind the camera for the filming of Vengence Night, written and directed by Christensen in 1916.
Author John Ernst published the biography Benjamin Christensen in 1967.
Danish film director Carl Th. Dreyer was in Norway during 1926 shooting the film The Bride of Glomdal (Glomsdalsbruden), photographed by Einar Olsen and starring Tove Tellback. Adapted from a novel by Jacob Breda Bull, Dreyer reportedly shot the film quickly, or quicker than he thought the project merited, before leaving Scandinavia to film in France. The Norwegian Film Institute during 2007 announced the restoration of the film The Bridal Procession (Brudeferden i Hardanger), also filmed in Norway in 1926; the film stars the very beuatiful actress Ase Bye and was directed by Rasmus Breistein.
Professor Ib Bondebjerg sees in Dreyer's style a marked "expressive inner realism". Bondebjerg writes, "Dreyer's own thoughts on filmmaking stress the importance of close-ups and the role of the naked, emotionally loaded face." As Dreyer had film in France, it is of note that Bondebjerg, in the paper A Cinema of Passion, Carl Th. Dreyer- the International Auteur in Classical Danish Cinema, traces the style of Dreyer's camerawork in La Passion de JLeanne D'Arc as more directly contemporary that directly attributable to the montage theory of Eisenstien and a Russian formalist influence. Scholar Casper Tybjerg points out Dreyer's attention to historical accuracy when designing the sets to the film and his having been inspired by medieval miniatures from which he derived a concept of stylization. Tybjerg explains a theory that advances that "filmmakers drew on paintings for their intrinsic visual interest" and that Dreyer looked to the paintings of Pieter Brugel the Elder when conceiving the film. In his paper Distinguished Compositions- The Use of Paintings as Visual Models in Danish Silent Films, Casper Tybjerg sees Carl Dreyer looking to Flemish art not so much to stir audience recognition through the use of well known tropes, but more to fabricate visual effects, this differing his stylistic choices from less auteur films that had been made earlier.
Paul Rotha was an early film critic to notice the stylistic auteur in Dryer's technique, evidently before the film disappeared, or was thought to be a lost film. In his volume, The Film Till Now, Rotha includes a sectioned titled The Theoretical- Methods of Expression of Dramtic Content and writes, "Camera mobility is completely justified in any direction and at any speed so long as the reason for its movement is expression and heightening of the dramatic theme....in La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc, where the quick, pulsating, backward and forward motion denoted the hesitant trepidation in Jeanne's mind...."
Although Karina Bell is now well-known for starring with Gosta Ekman in Kloven (The Clown, 1926) directed by Danish silent film director A. W. Sandberg, she had appeared before the camera under his direction is several ealier films, including The Lure of the Footlights (Den Sidste Danse, with Else Neilsen, Clarra SchronI'm feldt and Grethe Rygaard. Anders W. Sandberg showcased both Karina Bell and Karen Sandberg Caperson in the 1924 film House of Shadows (Moranen). Writing about the film, author Anne Bachmann notes, "Later Danish cinema also occasionally- and influenced by the Swedish style- emphasized Norwegian locations." Interestingly enough, Asta Neilsen waited untill having returned to Germany to appear in the film Hedda Gabler under the direction of Franz Eckstein, but not before her having made the film Felix with Rasmus Briestein. The film was based on a novel written by Gustav Aagaard and photographed by Gunnar Nilsen-Vig, who would later go on to photograph for the directors John Brunius and Tancred Ibsen. The screenplays to The Kiss (Kyssen, Feyder, seven reels) and Wild Orchids were both written by Hans Kraly. In Germany, Kraly had written the scripts to the films of Danish director Urban Gad, including the 1913 film The Film Star (Die Filmprimaddonna, starring Asta Nielsen.
Important to modern authors, Movie Makers magazine looks at the moving camera, flashback narrative and double exposed titles, the use of an image with inter-title, in the film Night Watch (Lajos Biros) looks at the overuse of the moving camera in The Street of Illusion (Kenton), "the camera pauses before a door, opens it, goes through a hall, enters a curtained arch, then another curtained arch, passes to a man and then gives a close up of him." It almost reevaluates the criticism of Stiller's and Dreyer's use of the moving camera from the perspective of 1929.
Danish Silent Film director Robert Dinesen would film his last two films in Germany, both lensed by the photographer George Bruckbauer, Der Weg durch die Nacht (1929) having starred Kathe von Nagy and Margarethe Schon, and Ariane im Hoppegarten (1928), having starred Maria Jacobini. Nordisk film at that time made only one film, The Joker (Jokeren, directed by George Jacoby. It had made more than 350, although short, films during the year 1914.
That Lars von Trier has had one of his works referred to as a Dogumentary is a silent nod to not only Vilgot Sjoman, but to silent film poet Dziga Vertov. Hovering over the journal seems the hinting that there could be later a mention of the work of Carl Th. Dreyer while trying to align themselves with typical literary journals such as Cinema Quarterly, The Hound and the Horn and Film Art. Vampyr, Danish director Carl Th. Dreyer's use of the vampire, in the form of Jullian West, as thematic context, was filmed almost silently, with sound added, in Germany in 1932. The film was based the plotline of ,among other vampire tales, In a Glass Darkly, written by Sheridan Le Fanu. Dreyer's choice of cameraman was Rudolph Matte. Carl Dreyer tips his hat to his having been a screenwriter when quoted by Sigfried Kracauer in Theory of Film, the redemption of physical reality whenever paraphrased as having noted the effect of narrative on the film's images, and their effect, in turn on the emotion of the spectator, the plot articulated on the screen bringing fantasy to the viewer. Film critic theorist Kracauer establishes a necessary validity of film as an experience and concludes the relational is subordinate to the technique of film when kept provisionally a realistic representation of fantasy, seeing realism as bringing fantasy into a camera-reality, "Vampyr, with its cast of partly non-professional actors is shot in natural surroundings and relies only to a limited extent on tricks to put across its vague hints of the supernatural." Film critic and author David Bordwell, on his webpage Observations on Film Art, recently provided a link to the web written by the Danish Film Insitute on the film of Carl Th. Dreyer it covering the directors brilliant silent film career as well as his longevity into the sound era. Peter Schepelern, writing with Lisabeth Richter Larsen of the Danish Institute sees Benjamin Christensen as Denmark's leading director between 1010-1020. The Danish Film Institute has written, "He had full control over the creation of his films, not only as a director, but also in many cases by being producer, author and protagonist." While Danish film director Benjamin Christensen had by 1913 had begun directing with his first film, Sealed Orders (Det hemmelinghstulde X), a melodrama that, irregardless of its belonging to or being typical of the genre of the early Danish spy film, had included the use of montage in his editing, Carl Th. Dreyer had in fact begun rather as a writer, contributing the screenplay to the film The Brewer's Daughter (Byggerens datter, 1912), directed by Rasmus Ottesen and starring Emmanuel Gregers. He was to write every screenplay that he was to direct. Of the film Leaves in Satan's Book (1919), Forsyth Hardy wrote, "In the selection of his theme we see both the influence of Griffith and the preoccupation with the forces of good and evil which has been characteristic of all Dreyer's films." After her having appeared with Edvin Adolphson in the film Brollopet i Branna (1927), directed by Erik Petschler, Mona Martenson in Norway starred with Einar Tveito in People of the Tundra (Viddenesfolk) (1928) written and directed by Ragnar Westfelt for Lunde-film, in Germany starred with Aud Egede Nissen in the film Die Frau in Talar, in Norway starred in the film Laila (1929) directed by George Schneevoigt for Lunde-film from a script adapted from a novel by Jens Anders Friis, and in Denmark starred in the film Eskimo (1930), also directed by George Schneevoight. Danish film director George Schneevoigt continued the beginning of early Danish sound film the following year with the film Pastor of Vejlby (PraestOoen i Vejlby). The Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers during early 1930 printed, "The old company, 'Nordisk Film', has completely discontinued operations because of heavy competition with American and German made pictures. A new company, 'Nordisk Tone-film' has now been organized. it has been producing one reel sound pictures, not running more than from five to eight minutes."
Professor Ib Bondebjerg of the University of Copenhagen with author Mette Hjort has written a concise abbreviation of the effect of the transition to sound film on Danish Film production, "The advent of sound, combined with the negative effects of the First World War, had the effect of radically undermining Denmark's leading role within the international film industry and during the period of classic cinema culture (1930-1960), Danish film was reduced to a minor cinema produced in a small nation in an increasingly global world dominated especially by the U.S. The few Danish films that did manage to penetrate the international market during these years generated interest primarily as an expression of individual artistic talent, a case in point being the films of Dreyer. The period coincides largely with the articulation of the popular Danish genre formulae that were able at times to draw full houses and to constitute film as Danes preferred form of entertainment."