DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews
 
A MAN THERE WAS (TERJE VIGEN) (director/writer: Victor Seastrom; screenwriter: Gustaf Molander/from a Henrik Ibsen poem cinematographer: Julis Jaenzen; cast:  August Falck (The Lord), Victor Seastrom (Terje Vigen), Edith Erastoff (The Lady), Bergliot Husberg (Mrs. Vigen); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Charles Magnusson; The Criterion Collection; 1917-silent-Sweden-B/W)

"It's impressively directed and acted, and the location sea scenes are first-rate."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It was the most expensive Swedish film made up to that point, and was the humanistic film that ushered in the Golden Age of Swedish silents. Swedish director Victor Seastrom  ("The Scarlet Letter"/"The Tower of Lies") helms and stars in his breakthrough film based on the epic Norwegian poem by Henrik Ibsen called Terje Vigen. It tells the sad story of a Norwegian sailor, Terje Vigen (Victor Seastrom), whose wife and baby daughter are trapped without food on an isolated Norwegian island during his country's war with England in 1809. The nobleman captain (August Falck) of an English war ship blockades the island and when Terje approaches the island with food for his starving family on a schooner, the ruthless captain destroys his cargo and arrests him. Terje spends five years in an English prison until released when the war ends in 1814. He's now a dispirited, grey headed young man who is aging fast. When he learns the doomed fate of his family and that his house is now occupied by strangers, he moves to another isolated island and lives alone as a pilot. Many years later, his wartime enemy and his family finds themselves dependent on Terje to save them on their yacht during a storm, as Terje must decide whether to avenge himself.

It's impressively directed and acted, and the location sea scenes are first-rate.

REVIEWED ON 7/4/2017       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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