Archive for January 12th, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Sweden 1917 73m) DVD1

Aka. Berg-Ejvin doch hans Hustru

I once dreamed of two people…

d  Victor Sjöstrom  w  Victor Sjöstrom, Sam Ask  ph  Julius Jaenzon  ed  Victor Sjöstrom  m  Torbjorn Ivan Lundquist  art  Axel Esbensen

Victor Sjöstrom (Berg-Ejvind), Edith Erastoff (Halla), John Ekman (Arnes), Nils Ahren (Björn), Artur Rolén (farmhand), Jenny Tschernichin-Larsson (Gudfinna), William Larsson (Bjarni), Sigurd Wallen,

Looking at Victor Sjöstrom’s celebrated silent drama ninety years on is a bit of a daunting task.  As one might expect for a film of its age, aspects of it have dated as they could not fail to do.  It would have been just as easy to have just included his later works, but as with Terje Vigen, Outlaw is just too important to neglect, and one of the first films to really advance the art of cinematography.  One truly can date outdoor photography from B.J. and A.J., Before Jaenzon and After Jaenzon. 

            Outlaw is set in 19th century Iceland and details the story of Berg-Ejvind, harshly pursued for a small crime right to his very end.  We first see him take a position at the farm of Halla, who initially takes him on a one month trial and with whom he falls in love.  They are betrothed, but the law is after him for thieving, which he was forced into by the plight of his family.  He and Halla run away into the hills, Halla knowing it will mean they’re tarred with the same brush, and yet they live happily for several years, and have a child, but then Berg’s friend Arnes comes to see them, sets his eyes on Halla and threatens to ruin their idyllic life.  Sure enough, soon after the forces of the law come after them and the pair narrowly escape up into the farthest reaches of the outlaw-infested mountains and spend many years in isolation.  Finally, trapped in their dingy abode with a blizzard still in full force after seven days outside, they both set out into the snow to die. (more…)

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