Monday, October 06, 2014

Kærlighedens Styrke / The Power of Love

Tove (Clara Wieth), director Saxild (Axel Strøm), Gunnar (Carlo Wieth). Click to enlarge
KÆRLIGHEDENS STYRKE (Kærlighedens Magt / Gennem de Mange til En) (Nordisk – DK 1911) (IT: La forza dell’amore; US: The Power of Love) D: August Blom; SC: Alfred Kjerulf; DP: Axel Graatkjær (Sørensen); C: Axel Strøm (director Saxild), Carlo Wieth (Gunnar, his son), Clara Wieth Pontoppidan (Tove, employee in Saxild’s office), Otto Lagoni, Ella La Cour, Zanny Petersen, Svend Bille, Frederik Buch, Julie Henriksen, Carl Lauritzen, Ella Sprange, Aage Lorentzen, Lauritz Olsen; rel: 13.11.1911; orig. l: 757 m; 35 mm, 633 m, 31' (18 fps), col. (tinted, toned, & stencil-colour); titles: ITA, missing main title.
    AIRSC 50. With e-subtitles in English and Italian, grand piano: Philip C. Carli, Stephen Horne at Teatro Verdi (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto), Pordenone, 6 Oct 2014

Federico Striuli (GCM Catalogue and website): "Gunnar, son of the strict businessman Saxild, doesn’t like to study, preferring to spend his time with his friends in nightclubs. In order to put his son on the right track, Saxild hires him in his office, where young Gunnar meets the employee Tove. The two young people are attracted to each other, but this is spoiled one evening when Gunnar gets drunk on his way to meet her and ends up being fired by his father. Trying to redeem himself, the young man, temporarily given shelter by Tove, finds work with a rescue corps. There he receives news that a train on which Tove was travelling has been derailed. Fortunately Tove recovers, and there also is a general reconciliation with his own relatives."
    "Kærlighedens styrke was a notable production for Nordisk, made with a good cast and a first-rate director. Thanks to the film’s high production values, the story is believable and rich in nuances, marked by a realism that goes beyond the lyricism that might otherwise have been used to tell the story. In conclusion, this is an interesting production, considering its visual and narrative qualities.
The print: In 1986, in the book Schiave bianche allo specchio (published by the Giornate), in a chapter about August Blom, historian Ron Mottram wrote: “As for Kærlighedens styrke (The Power of Love) we have only the Library of Congress paper print.… It is hard to make an informed judgement … because the photographic quality of the 16 mm print made from the original paper print is very poor and the shots are not in the proper order.” Today the FIAF database reports the same paper print and its corresponding 16 mm copies (negative and positive) at the Library of Congress, as well as material with unspecified formats (possibly fragments) in the possession of the Academy Film Archive and the Danish Film Institute. It is thus with a justified pride that a totally different version is able to be shown at the Giornate this year. The AIRSC’s print, as a matter of fact, unlike the majority of the films it holds, actually comes from external acquisitions, in this case from two positive colored nitrate reels with Italian intertitles. As the film’s original printed programme testifies, this copy is pretty much complete, with only a few frames missing in the finale. The bright and wide-ranging colours are well-reproduced, and the overall quality of the image is very good. It should be noted that a single Italian intertitle comes almost certainly from another film." – Federico Striuli

AA: A drama. A delightful Nordisk discovery, August Blom at his best. There is an appealing sense of humour in this picture.
    At this festival we have been seeing several real-life couples in leading roles, and this film adds Clara Wieth Pontoppidan and Carlo Wieth to the list. "The power of love" is real. The plot is but a contrivance.
    The most impressive sequences include Gunnar's period as a drunk, leading him to jail, and the epic train disaster in Roskilde, where Gunnar, now in the rescue corps, gets a chance to redeem himself.
    Visual quality: from worn sources, yet this print offers a rare opportunity to deduce the original beauty of a Nordisk production in colour. For once, not the sober Desmet tinting simulation, but the true charm of toning, tinting and stencil colour. The colour impressions are so fascinating that it changes my conception of the Nordisk look. I will carry the memory of this screening and try to project it into other Nordisk productions.

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