Terje Vigen
1917 / 65m - Sweden
A Man There Was poster


February 22, 2021


Another Swedish classic from the earliest days of (feature-length) cinema. So far, these films haven't been a big success and A Man There Was seems to be continuing that disappointing tradition. For someone who likes a little subtlety to his dramas, most of these silent film turn out to be a real test of endurance.

Victor Sjöström's wide-eyed performance is the opposite of subtle. His character is all about grand gestures and big emotions, many of which you'll read about first in the numerous intertitles. Again there's too much reading to be done, especially for a film that isn't exactly difficult to follow.

The scenes at sea provide a nice little diversion and the length of the film is quite short, but the bland plot, over-the-top performances and poor pacing make it quite a chore to sit through. If I've learned one thing from watching these films though, it's that sound is actually quite crucial to good drama.