Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Quest To See the 1000 Greatest:
The Saga of Gosta Berling (1924)

The Saga of Gosta Berling is #569 in  

Screened 01/11/10 on DVD from GreenCine

Ranked #931 on TSPDT


Much like the last entry in my Quest (see here) this is a film that had to wait several months before getting it's moment in the spotlight as it were.  Be that as it may (better late than never, eh?), here are my random thoughts on said film.

The Saga of Gosta Berling is mostly known as being the film that began it all for the elusive movie star, Greta Garbo, long before she just "vanted to be left alone".  Filmed in 1924 in Sweden by Mauritz Stiller, the film itself is not all that remarkable outside of Garbo frolicking around in the woods and on the beach.  Luckily there is quite a lot of said frolicking.  But that is pretty much it.

Much like his film, Stiller has never been much known for anything outside of discovering and bringing Garbo to the states.  Sure, The Saga of Gosta Berling has a sense of Greed at times.  But alas, none of this promise is gathered for long enough to matter - and on top of that Stiller died in 1928, after being essentially kicked to the curb by MGM (and probably Garbo too) hence never coming to the potential he at first exhibited. has its moments (even outside of Garbo) and even has slight innuendo that lean toward a filmmaking style such as Griffith or Von Stroheim, or his fellow countryman Sjostrom.  It weven Reminds one of

Overall, not my favourite of the 1000 (or even close) even though it did give us Garbo, which should be worth mucho points in itself.  Without Stiller (who had remade the ugly duckling teenage Greta into a ravishing beauty!) there would have been no Flesh and the Devil.  No Anna Christie.  No Grand Hotel!  No Queen Christina!!  No Ninochtka!!!  Without Stiller there would have been no Garbo, and that would have been terrible.  It is an interesting enough film though for me to search out the director's other works (Sir Arne's Treasure and Erotikon) and raise my knowledge (somewhat lacking in such) some on early Swedish cinema.  Oh yea, and there is Garbo (did I mention that?).

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