Friday, October 12, 2018

Ett farligt frieri / A Dangerous Wooing (2010 Desmet print from Svenska Filminstitutet)

Ett farligt frieri: Folkkomedi i fyra akter efter Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsons berättelse med samma namn / Vaarallinen kosinta
SE 1919
regia/dir: Rune Carlsten.
scen: Rune Carlsten, Sam Ask; dal racconto di/based on the short story by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, “Et farligt frieri” (1856).
photog: Raoul Reynols, Carl Gustaf Florin.
scg/des: Gustaf Hallén.
cast: Lars Hanson (Tore Næsset), Gull Cronvall (Aslaug), Theodor Blich (Knut Husaby, il padre di Auslag/Aslaug’s father), Hjalmar Peters (Thormund), Kurt Welin (Ola, il figlio di Thormud/Thormund’s son), Hugo Tranberg, Gösta Cederlund (i fratelli di Auslag/Aslaug’s brothers), Hilda Castegren (la madre di Tore/Tore’s mother), Uno Henning, Torsten Bergström (corteggiatori/suitors).
prod: Filmindustri AB Skandia.
uscita/rel: 26.12.1919.
copia/copy: 35 mm, 1277 m (orig. 1339 m), 62′ (18 fps); did./titles: SWE.
fonte/source: Svenska Filminstitutet, Stockholm.
    Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM).
    Grand piano: Mauro Colombis.
    Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Pordenone (The Swedish Challenge 2), 12 Oct 2018

Magnus Rosborn & Casper Tybjerg (GCM): "In 19th-century Norway, the wealthy farmer’s daughter Aslaug has grown up to become a beautiful young woman, desired by most young men in her village. Night after night, her father and brothers have a hard time trying to keep all the young suitors away from her. Aslaug has eyes only for Tore, a poor crofter’s son and therefore an unworthy spouse in her father’s eyes. Following Aslaug’s refusal to accept a marriage proposal from a wealthy farmer’s son, she is sent up to the summer pasture on the mountain above the farm, but this does not stop Tore from visiting her. When Aslaug’s father and brothers catch him on the way home from a secret meeting with her, they beat him up and over-confidently defy him to try again: if he can get past them next Saturday night and reach the high pasture, the girl will be his. Since the only path is well-guarded, Tore decides to try to reach his goal by scaling the sheer cliff-face instead."

"A Dangerous Wooing is the second of two Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson adaptations made by the production company Skandia in the summer of 1919 in order to compete with their rivals Svenska Bio – the other one being John W. Brunius’s Synnöve Solbakken (A Norway Lass, shown in last year’s Giornate program). At first glance, the two films may seem very similar – they both take place during the same time period, they both star the tremendously popular Lars Hanson, and their exteriors were in both cases shot on location in the scenic Norwegian countryside. A Norway Lass, however, is a serious drama, while A Dangerous Wooing is better described as a light comedy with action sequences."

"Nevertheless, it shares the three characteristics most often associated with “Golden Age” films: it is a prestige production, it is based on an acclaimed literary work, and it makes effective use of Nordic nature as something more than a backdrop. Indeed, A Dangerous Wooing presents one of the era’s most evident examples of nature being integrated into the story: here, a mountain wall literally stands between the hero and the girl he loves. Its final image (very brief because of print damage) references one of the versions of the painting Brudeferd i Hardanger (The Wedding Party in Hardanger) by Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude, one of the most famous Norwegian artworks."

"The Swedish critics gave the film good reviews, writing that Rune Carlsten in his directorial debut had succeed in fashioning a cheerful and spirited movie with wonderful scenery, even if there were some complaints that the fight scenes had been given too much room. From a modern-day perspective, the gender roles in A Dangerous Wooing can seem stereotypical even compared to other films from the same era. It is difficult to find a more obvious depiction of passive female sexuality than Aslaug just sitting on her mountaintop, waiting while the men fight over her down in the valley. Still, the situation is given a certain archetypal depth by having her sing the haunting “Det var en lørdag Aften,” a poignant Danish folk song well known in Norway as well, about a girl waiting in vain for her faithless lover one Saturday night. What A Dangerous Wooing may lack in complex plotting and depth of characterization, it certainly makes up for in technical craftsmanship; the efficient editing stands out, especially in the fight scenes and the suspenseful cliff-hanging finale."

"Carlsten, who also appeared as an actor in many movies, would continue to skillfully direct films up in the 1940s. Of his other surviving silent films the most notable ones are the wacky, very entertaining farce Robinson i skärgården (1920) and the artistically impressive August Strindberg adaptation Let No Man Put Asunder (Högre ändamål, 1921) – two films which both need proper restorations to be able to meet new audiences."

"About the restoration: In 1965 a duplicate negative was made from a nitrate print. Supplemented with new full-length intertitles made from the original text cards, a Desmet print was struck from the negative in 2010, using the tints in the original but decomposing nitrate print as reference. This new version received its restoration premiere in Oslo the same year, during the centennial commemorations of Bjørnson’s death."
Magnus Rosborn & Casper Tybjerg (GCM)

AA: As Magnus Rosborn and Casper Tybjerg state, Ett farligt frieri is similar to Synnöve Solbakken, also based on a Björnstjerne Björnson story, also starring Lars Hanson as le jeune premier, also shot on locations among the magnificently scenic Norwegian mountains.

In this film the mountains are a truly central element, and Ett farligt frier is indeed a Bergfilm. In the mountain pasture Aslaug is spending her summer as a shepherdess, and all suitors aspire to reach her there, blocked by a firm front of Aslaug's sturdy male family members.

There is no chance for Tore (Lars Hanson) to get onto the path that leads to Aslaug. That he realizes having been brutally beaten by the family patrol.

Tore and Aslaug now communicate through horns, singing and other sound signals.

Finally Tore decides to scale the steep and dangerous mountain bare-handed. It is a thrilling action high point, similar to the rapid-shooting sequence in The Song of the Scarlet Flower, which had premiered in April in 1919. The trial proves the jeune premier's manhood. And even though Tore comes from a poor family, now Aslaug's father is convinced, as well. "This boy is worth having".

Original art titles bring a charming flavour. Folk songs are quoted in the intertitles.

This is like a folk tale, attractively made, but without the dark and complex currents of The Song of the Scarlet Flower.

A fair print, visual quality adequate, not brilliant, with a tinting too heavy to my taste.

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