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1920 / 106m - Sweden
Comedy, Romance
Erotikon poster

A classic Swedish comedy. It's not a genre that immediately makes me think of Swedish cinema, but after a series of less than successful silent Swedish dramas, I welcomed a lighter film. The result isn't a marked improvement, but it's at least an easier watch and less of a drag to get trough.

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What immediately jumps out is that the performances feel a lot more natural, a bonus since this isn't a true slapstick comedy. It's more of an extended love triangle with early traces of screwball and situational comedy. Not exactly preferred niches, but it's quite neat to stumble upon this in a film this old.

The long theater production in the middle is a small highlight, so are the soothing score and the rather calm vibe, but the film is at least 30 minutes too long and with little in the way of climaxes it becomes quite repetitive and monotone. But it's an interesting watch, certainly for people who love to trace influences down to their earliest appearances.

Sir Arne's Treasure

Herr Arnes Pengar
1919 / 122m - Sweden
Crime, Romance
Sir Arne's Treasure poster

Another Swedish silent classic. I've seen quite a few of them these past months, Sir Arne's Treasure is one of the better ones. For such an old film, I was surprised to find so much narrative cohesion. The runtime is still a bit excessive and there are some scenes that could've used some extra edits, but compared to other films from the 1910s, this is pretty slick.

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Three Scottish officers murder Sir Arne and his family for his treasure. The only survivor of the attack is Elsalill, who moves to Marstrand to live with her family. The three officers try to plan their escape, but winter is coming, and their way out is frozen shut. They end up in Marstrand too, where one of them hooks up with Marstrand.

The plot isn't all that special and the cinematography is basic, but performances are decent, and the setting adds a lot of atmosphere. The film could and should've been 30 minutes shorter, but there are enough moments where the story picks up again, so it never got too dull to watch.

Thomas Graal's Best Film

Thomas Graals Bästa Film
1917 / 59m - Sweden
Thomas Graal's Best Film poster

I can hardly claim to be an expert, but the early silent cinema from Sweden hasn't really impressed me yet. Thomas Graal's Best Film is a mix of romcom and drama, but made in the old slapstick comedy style of yonder. It's not a combination that works very well, so I wasn't too disappointed to find about 30 minutes of this film are considered lost.

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The titular Graal is a popular screenwriter who is very taken with this secretary Bessie. When he tries to steal a kiss, Bessie isn't too happy with his advances, but Graal isn't willing to give up just yet. He writes a screenplay inspired by her, as a way to win her for him. But dear Bessie has some secrets of her own.

It's a simple romance set in the Swedish film industry of the 1910s. There's quite a lot of reading involved, the acting is poor for a drama and the film really isn't very comical. It just kind of drones on, and without interesting characters, remarkable cinematography or a decent plot, there's just not much to get excited about.