Thursday, July 31, 2008

Terje Vigen - - A Man There Was (1917) Review

Plot Summary - "Revenge is Mine, Quoth He". When war comes to Sweden in 1809, a small seaside village is hit hard - with harbors closed, their crops fail and people are starving. Hunger causes seaman Terje Vigen to set sail in a small open boat to try and bring back food to feed his wife and child. Unfortunately, he is captured by the enemy, his boat sunk - and he is sent to a gloomy prison. Five years in prison and the war comes to an end - SPOILER SPOILER: now grizzled, gray-haired and unrecognizable, Terje reaches home only to find his wife and child died years before. But an opportunity for vengeance against the enemy that kept him from saving his family arrives at his doorstep one stormy day in the form of a foreign yacht in trouble at sea.

Review - Stark and gloomy, but with an emotional kick to it, this film is a well done, poetic silent film, directed by and starring Victor Sjostrom. Excellent outdoor cinematography enhances the story, with gorgeous looking images of man and village silhouetted against waving sea. All the intertitles are done in the style of a poem, as written by Ibsen. The Kino DVD of this features a very good-looking print, tinted in shades of blue and sepia-orange, as well as black and white. The film is accompanied by an appealing piano score done by Donald Sosin that enhances the story. Rating - 9 stars


Donald Sosin said...

Thanks for your kind comment! Fast work, considering the film has only been out 2 days....curious as to how the tints looked on your screen, they were a bit dark on mine.

Best wishes,

Donald Sosin

Miss Janet said...

Hi Donald - thanks for your comment, I enjoyed your music in the film. Yes, I did think the tints in certain scenes looked slightly dark, though didn't find it detracted or anything.